Sydney’s newest French bistro: L’Heritage Chowder Bay review

Sydney’s newest French bistro, L’Heritage is a must-visit for classic French cuisine and to-die-for Sydney harbour views, finds Cara Wagstaff 

Pierre, Alena and Julien

Quick tips:

Dining style: French bistro
Perfect for: Long summer lunches overlooking Chowder Bay
Catering for: Couples, families, private dining and celebrations
Dish to dine for: Chicken liver pâté
Price range: Entrees $19 – $23, mains $36 – $46 and deserts $16 – $45
Dress code: Smart casual
Wow Factor: The views

While might not be able to travel to Paris right now, we can be transported there by stepping into L’Heritage Chowder Bay.

The recently opened restaurant is run by husband and wife team, Alena and Pierre Rayrolles in partnership with Julien Audibert-Lebon. Julien is a long-time friend of Pierre’s and also the restaurant’s head chef.

The view

Overlooking Clifton Gardens and Sydney Harbour, L’Heritage is decked out in traditional French style. High ceilings, dark timber floors and white walls. Vintage accessories adorn bookshelves and walls giving the room a homely feel. The main eyecatcher here however is the spanning ocean views.

The story 

Julien says he cooks food that reminds him of his childhood, describing each menu item as eliciting a memory of growing up in Paris and paying homage to city’s iconic bistros.

The private dining room we’re in can fit up to 22 diners, however, tonight we’re an intimate group of eight. Alena comes in and tells us she was studying in Paris where she met Pierre, and after ten years of living in France running two bistros, they’ve recently returned to Australia. 

Their first dining offering was Frenchys, however, the L’Heritage project has been in the works for years. The couple continuously met with the Heritage Trust to secure the location and operating license.

They didn’t give up and were finally able to come to a compromise where they’ve built a custom kitchen, hanging from stainless steel beams.

On the menu 

Killian, our waiter decants a bottle of Gosset Grande Reserve champagne for our table, an unusual practice designed to elicit a smoother taste. I can confirm, it was delicious.

We start with a selection of entrees including the chicken liver pâté flambeed with cognac and served with baguette toasts, rillettes de saumon and of course, escargots, snails traditionally cooked with garlic, butter and parsley. 

The pared menu focuses on classic French cuisine and seasonally available ingredients. But those with dietary requirements are not forgotten. L’Heritage has dairy, gluten-free vegetarian options including the gazpacho served with honey and rosemary croutons.

For mains, my dining companion Tina-Louise selects the Entrecôte frites, a 250-gram scotch filet served medium rare with french fries, and I go for the Gnocchis ricotta aux petits legumes, a potato and ricotta pan fried gnocchi served in a truffle oil cream sauce with a generous topping of shaved parmesan. 

To match our food Killian serves a 2018 Reserve Mont-Redon Côtes du Rhône blanc and a Ministry of Clouds 2019 McLaren Vale Shiraz.

Another highlight from our fellow diners is the poisson du jour ling rose, the market fist of the day, a slow-cooked pink ling served with grilled vegetables.

We finish with an assortment of imported French cheeses served with thinly sliced baguette and seasonal fruit, a French custom of serving cheese after the main and prior to the dessert.

We still somehow manage to find a bit more room for dessert, of course. We share the mousse au chocolat and Poire belle-hélène, a orange blossom infused poached pear served with bitter Belgian chocolate and Chantilly vanilla cream. 

L’Heritage is open Tuesday to Sunday 10 am to 10 pm for lunch and dinner. L’Heritage Jetty Bar has also recently opened, a 40-person bar accessible by boat and the perfect place for sundowners, open Thursday to Sunday, 2 pm to 9 pm.

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