Hospitality Business Magazine

The French Café to become heart of diverse mini dining precinct

Multi-award-winning restaurateurs Sid and Chand Sahrawat are executing a bold new vision for Sid at the French Café, placing it at the heart of a new dining hub in the New Year.

The restaurant will revert to its former name, The French Café, and will move its premium dining offering from the building’s main dining rooms to the 35-seat private dining room currently known as The French Kitchen.

The main dining area will then house a new restaurant known as Anise, a modern pan Asian eatery with a menu curated Sid’s way, with an artful style inspired by restaurants such as Momofuku in New York and Supernormal in Melbourne.

The name Anise pays homage to Sid’s first cheffing job in Wellington, the name of the restaurant located where the popular Floriditas now resides.

The new restaurant will add versatility to what will become a mini dining precinct, housing a reception and bar area, the two dining areas, the private dining room, and a private dining wine cellar, all wrapped around a gorgeous courtyard reminiscent of an old French quarter, complete with a fireplace, herb garden and al fresco dining.

The multiple menu options currently available at Sid at the French Café will all remain as part of the new venture.

These include tasting menus, the monthly Gaggenau Tuesday Test Kitchen (on the first Tuesday of each month), and the most recent addition, Chef Eats, where the chefs choose a cuisine one evening each month to recreate their take on street eats. The smaller dining room enables diners an intimate view of the chefs plating the dishes on the open plan kitchen pass.  

Sid at the French Café was recently named number 309 in the world and topped the New Zealand podium in the La Liste Top 1000 restaurants. It was also awarded 3 hats in this year’s Cuisine Good Food Awards and is consistently in the Viva Top 50 Auckland restaurants list.   

A big fan of modern Asian cuisine, Sid started his career working in a pan Asian restaurant at The Hyatt Regency in Muscat, Oman called Marjan. And at Anise in Wellington, Sid learnt the importance of working with fresh ingredients and balancing flavours in Thai cuisine.

Sid says he’s feeling inspired by the planned changes at the restaurant and has been working with head chef Tommy Hope on a menu for Anise.  

“I’ve always been a massive fan of contemporary Asian flavours, I just love the complexity and depth in Asian cuisine.  While I have always incorporated Asian influences in the fine dining context, I am now looking forward to diving back into the robust flavours of this region and sharing them with our diners.

“We are keeping The French Café at the heart of our offering, but we know diners are looking for more diverse dining options and we’re here to deliver that with Anise,” he says.

“We have a unique space here and we are well placed to house what will essentially be two restaurants in the same precinct.”

For now, it’s business as usual until Saturday 27 January at Sid at The French Café. The restaurant will then do a quick aesthetic changeover and reopen on Thursday 1 February.

The French Café will be open Thursday to Saturday for dinner and Saturdays for lunch.

Anise will be open Tuesday to Saturday for dinner and lunch on Saturdays.

All valid vouchers will be honoured at either The French Café or Anise. Bookings for The French Café remain open, and Anise expects to take bookings from early January for 1st of February onwards.

More will be revealed about the new venture in mid-January. Diners can find the most up-to-date information by following @sidsahrawat, @anise_auckland and @sidatthefrenchcafe on social media. Tel: 09-377 1911

Sid at The French Café is an independently owned, family run, relaxed fine dining restaurant in Symonds Street, Auckland. The restaurant serves contemporary New Zealand cuisine in an elegant yet relaxed fine dining setting, offering both à la carte and tasting menu options. 

Owner and executive chef Sid Sahrawat oversees the innovation in the kitchen and wife Chand manages all operations; they are supported by a talented team of hospitality professionals. The Sahrawats also own and operate modern Indian bar and eatery KOL in Ponsonby and oversee Cassia at SkyCity (offering contemporary Indian cuisine) in SkyCity’s Federal Street in Auckland’s CBD.  

Sid at The French Café is open Tuesday to Saturday for dinner and for lunch on Saturdays. The restaurant has two private dining offerings, The Cellar (capacity 12) and The French Kitchen (capacity 32).