“The national characteristics…the restless metaphysical curiosity, the tenderness of good living and the passionate individualism – this is the invisible constant in a place with which the ordinary tourist can get in touch just by sitting quite quietly over a glass of wine in a Paris bistro.” This quotation is attributed to novelist, poet, dramatist and travel writer Lawrence Durrell, and it provides a glimpse into the social and cultural significance of the humble Parisian bistro.  Nicknamed the “Toorak Canteen”, the 65-seat Bistro Thierry opened its doors in 2000 with the sole purpose of giving its customers the chance to experience the ambience, warmth and hospitality of a Parisian bistro here in Melbourne. For anyone whose travel log includes time spent in the captivating and romantic City of Lights, Bistro Thierry’s striped black-and-white awning provides an indication of the establishment’s genuineness. Add to that the guillotine-style breadboard which greets diners at the bar, the décor and the noisy, lively atmosphere and there is no mistaking that one has arrived at a celebration of all things Gallic.

Bistro Thierry was never intended to be a “culinary museum”. In other words, tradition – alone – does not rule the roost. Owner Thierry Cornevin and Head Chef Frederic Naud have regularly returned to France over the years in order to retrieve the latest ideas and techniques guiding and shaping modern French cuisine. This innovative energy is reflected in the adventurousness of the daily blackboard specials. Be it via old favourites or cutting-edge experiments, the bistro’s reputation is built on consistently high standards in delivering the entire menu. So, specifically, what about the menu – where does it start, and where does it finish? Starters, or hors d’oeuvres, might include oysters opened to order at the bar with sauce mignonette, Cornevin’s personal favourite; pan-seared slice of foie gras served with raspberry vinegar glaze; steak tartare, finely hand-chopped eye fillet, lightly spiced and served with melba toast and condiments; baked snails served with garlic-and-parsley butter, otherwise known as escargots à la Bourguignonne; or perhaps the rich of the rich in the form of pan-fried lamb brains wrapped in prosciutto with a sauté of mushrooms and a tarragon mayonnaise. Keep in mind, you have only just begun. Thierry’s plats principaux, what the English-speaking world knows as “mains”, will delight you with beef braised in red wine, onions, lardons and mushrooms with puff pastry and mashed potato (boeuf à la Bourguignonne en croûte); the most popular Le Steak-Frites, a Ralph’s Meats grass-fed eye fillet steak with fries and choice of sauce; and never fear, the confit duck legs are also here, served with a celeriac purée, Brussels sprout leaves, peas and a truffle sauce. For dessert – yes, dessert, find room – chocolate soufflé with hot chocolate sauce and vanilla bean ice-cream or the lighter Crêpes Suzette with Grand Marnier and orange sorbet should do the trick. Of course, departing the premises on your own accord may prove a touch challenging.

Bistro Thierry, Toorak


Bistro Thierry, Toorak


Bistro Thierry


Bistro Thierry, Toorak


Guiding you through your Parisian bistro adventure is a charismatic team of black-waistcoated French waiters serious about making your experience relaxing, enjoyable and fulfilling. As such, the team is equally as serious about the quality of the food, wine and service which form the actual pillars of the overall experience. There is a detail orientation pervading Bistro Thierry that is responsible for its clear majority of return custom. In addition to the obvious importance of sourcing high-quality, fresh produce and creating well balanced and flavoursome meals, uniquely French touches abound which result in a lingering smile and the appreciation of what Durrell described as “the tenderness of good living”.  Think double-clothed tables, bentwood chairs, the magnificence that is the mirrored dining room and the slew of vintage posters and black-and-white photographs decorating the burgundy-coloured walls. Bistro Thierry possesses all of the trappings of “a nostalgic trip to Paris”. Actually, this is to be expected, as Corevin had always dreamed of owning a classic French restaurant. It is safe to say that this is one dream that has undeniably come true. It is now your turn to be a part of the dream. Bistro Thierry is located at 511 Malvern Road, Toorak, in the quaint Hawksburn Village. Vive la France!   

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