It’s been a tough time for Woolloongabba’s dining scene over the past five years, with several longstanding eateries and bars shutting their doors near the Mater Private Hospital. Iconic French eatery C’est Bon has felt the pressure as well, with the institution flirting with relocation as it approached ten years of operation. Instead of folding, C’est Bon owners Celine Damour and Peter Roelfes bucked the trend, choosing to expand into the former butcher’s space next door and converting it into the newly opened C’est Bon Wine Bar. This bar aims to be a trendy and chic addition that adds warmth and accessibility to the restaurant’s established reputation. Architect James Davidson was recruited to help realise Celine and Peter’s vision for the space, which has brought the interior back to its old glory and seamlessly blended heritage aspects with a modern feel. Arches are a consistent theme throughout the space, evidenced by the ceiling struts and curved ridges on the handcrafted bar front. Obtaining a new tenancy to expand into has also afforded C’est Bon the ability to completely revamp its kitchen, with a sizeable space now prepped to cater for higher demand and more experimentation. The original restaurant space has been given a sprucing, too, with a new plush booth and refreshed paint giving it a new feel.
The food and drink
Celine and Peter have endeavoured to make C’est Bon Wine Bar as approachable and flexible as possible, allowing patrons to curate an experience to their liking. A small bar food menu offers plenty of fare suited to stir up hunger, with the likes of oysters, escargot with garlic and herb butter, duck liver pate, French onion soup, foie gras, and cheese and charcuterie available for nibbling. Celine has scouted for a clutch of amazing drops, anchored by a 30-strong selection of French and Australian wines available by the glass. Aether Brewing is represented on tap and in cans, with a selection of brews from reputable names also on hand. Celine has also amassed a selection of spirits that will appeal to casual drinkers and connoisseurs alike. Finally, those already comfortable can choose to eat dinner in the wine bar comptoir style, with C’est Bon’s revamped a la carte menu available on both sides, as well as an ever-changing selection of specials showcasing prime seasonal ingredients.
C’est Bon Wine Bar is merely the beginning of the Woolloongabba institution’s next phase of evolution. Over the next few months Celine and Peter will be working to add a new cellar to the premises, doubling C’est Bon’s wine capacity. Following that, an urban garden and rooftop event space will be installed, with extra seating flowing through to the building’s rear. Once the construction is complete, the kitchen will begin catering to a daytime trade, with a bistro lunch offering and breakfast service on the cards.
C’est Bon Wine Bar is now open. Check out the Stumble Guide for opening hours and more information.