Ah, Bistro Thierry – a classic in French fare for Melburnians. Whether it’s the traditional façade that makes us daydream of walking about Parisian avenues, or the escargots making us drool, you cannot go past this Toorak icon.
Here at MyFrenchLife™, we were lucky enough to be able to nab five minutes of THE Thierry Cornevin’s time to learn all about the inner workings of his iconic bistro.
Tell us the story behind Bistro Thierry. What inspired you to start a French bistro in Melbourne?
I am French and have always dreamed of doing a classic French restaurant – oh, I also found myself at the age of 45 having to buy myself a job!
What is the most challenging part of adapting French cuisine to the Melbourne lifestyle?
My clientele is very well educated when it comes to French cuisine so I guess you could say that makes it very challenging to ensure we are keeping up with their knowledge.
What is a typical day like at Bistro Thierry?
Chaos – French controlled chaos, of course!
Tell us more about your kitchen team. Is it mainly a French team or international? Why is this?
Our head chef is Frederic Naud who is French and then we have a multitude of nationalities. We are truly multicultural. Having Frederic as our head chef, along with myself, ensures we maintain the French taste in all our dishes.
More and more French people are moving to Melbourne. Why do you think this is happening? Do you have many French customers?
That’s easy – they no longer want to live in France! [It’s] such a beautiful country [but] is going through some really tough times. We do have a lot of French customers as well.
What do you love most about Melbourne? And what do you miss most about France?
Melbourne is truly the gastronomic capital of the southern hemisphere. I miss most of all my family, then unpasteurised cheeses and frogs’ legs.
Do you serve any specialties at your bistro? Is there something that people really seem to come back for? Why is this so?
We serve, on the last day of every month, bouillabaisse. I think we are the only French restaurant that serves traditional French bouillabaisse. The other dish would be the classic steak frites.
What are your three most popular items?
Fillet steak, the duck, our fresh fish every day and the chocolate soufflé.
Which is your favourite dish?
My personal favourite is the oysters opened to order.
In Melbourne, do you have a favourite boulangerie, fromagerie, café, patisserie, boutique…?
The best croissants in Melbourne are at Euro Café in Armadale and my favourite shop is Chef’s Hat – it’s like a Bunnings for culinary fiends!
Dites bonjour à Thierry : 511 Malvern Rd, Toorak, open 7 days, 12-4pm and 6-10pm.
Tell us, have you had any experiences at Bistro Thierry? Join the conversation by leaving a comment in the box below!
All images © Julia Greenhalf.