Where did Bergerac go?
“Down the street and around the corner” is the answer to the question: Where did Bergerac restaurant disappear to after 32 years in King St?
Chef owner Jean-François Enconniere (pictured right with staff) found new premises earlier this year but says some CBD locals still don’t know where Bergerac is.
The CBD’s favourite French restaurant is now located in the legal precinct at 555 Lonsdale St.
The restaurant seats 70 people, with 30 in the front room facing Lonsdale St and 40 at the back.
Bergerac has a special lunch deal: $34 for two courses and the specials on the mirrors change daily. It is also open for Christmas lunch, which costs $105 per head or $45 for children. Please check the website for the New Year’s Eve and other menus.
Jean-François has been a CBD fixture since 1975 when he opened his first restaurant, Café de Paris in LaTrobe St. He moved to King St in 1985 where he remained until February this year.
The affable Frenchman migrated to Australia as a 21-year-old pastry cook in 1971.
Mr Enconniere has built a loyal following and estimates that 80 per cent of his customers are regulars.
“Some customers have had their weddings here and others bring their children for their birthdays.”
Being in the legal precinct, it’s no surprise that barristers and judges figure strongly in the customer mix. And he’s had former prime minister Gough Whitlam as a customer too.
The move to Lonsdale St has reinvigorated his passion for Bergerac.
“I’m healthy. I’ve got energy. I’ve got a good team and I want to keep going,” he said.
Bergerac is named after a provincial town in the Périgord region located 89 km east of hustling Bordeaux.
The winemakers of Bergerac adopted as their symbol Edmond Rostand’s swaggering hero, Cyrano de Bergerac, famed for his large nose.
Mr Enconniere says pictures of Cyrano de Bergerac abound in the region.
“You will see posters that show the fancily-dressed gentleman with the proboscis, along with the slogan ‘un vin qui a du nez’ which roughly translated means a wine with a good nose.”