Few Auckland institutions boast the history, refinement and esteem held by The French Café.
It came as a surprise for no doubt many Auckland-based foodies, to learn that restaurateurs Creghan Molloy-Wright and Simon Wright were bidding adieu to the beloved restaurant, after twenty years at its helm.
The duo announced on Wednesday morning that an "out-of-Auckland lifestyle change" had beckoned their decision, with another popular restaurateur couple, Sid and Chand Sahrawat (Sidart and Cassia) due to step in and acquire the space from September.
With great change inevitably comes a rebrand. From September, the esteemed Auckland eatery will be renamed 'Sid at The French Café'. No strangers to the Auckland fine-dining scene, Sid and Chand Sahrawat share a special affinity for the upmarket restaurant, located on Auckland's bustling Symonds Street.
“Chand and I had our very first formal dining date at The French Café more than 15 years ago,” says Sid. “The meal we had on that occasion was spectacular – so much so, it inspired me to create the style of food I produce today.
“We’ve long had a deep love of The French Café, so to now be taking over its reins is a really exciting step for our business.”
Chand adds that the duo are aware they’re about to become the caretakers of a legacy that Simon and Creghan have created through their passion, attention to detail and hard work.
“In taking over The French Café, we have inherited a beautiful restaurant with a rich history and we’re going to work really hard to continue the amazing legacy.”
Moving forward, Sid will be at the helm of all three of his restaurants – Sidart, Cassia and Sid at The French Café – with support from Chand and their award-winning team of chefs, kitchen and front of house staff.
Sid will initially focus on the transition of Sid at The French Café, before eventually splitting his time between the trio of restaurants. Lesley Chandra, currently research and development chef for Sidart, will assume the role of head chef at Sid at The French Café.
“Sid and Chand share so many of the same philosophies as us, with regards to the care and respect for customers, staff and suppliers," says current owner, Simon Wright.
"They are brilliant restaurant professionals who have done the hard yards. I know the transition will be seamless, and we look forward to coming to dinner in years to come.”
To learn more about The French Café, see their website here.