From the cellar to the rooftop – Le Bon Bar reinvigorates a French icon
Since first opening its doors in 2008, C’est Bon has remained one of the most beloved members of Brisbane’s French-food scene. As with any venue that attains longevity, C’est Bon has grown and evolved through several iterations. From original owner Michel Bonnet’s traditional fare to C’est Bon’s current direction under the stewardship of Celine Damour and head chef Peter Roelfes, the venue has remained a Woolloongabba favourite, and some newly completed renovations are looking to maintain the trend. Last week saw the unveiling of Le Bon Bar, C’est Bon’s chic sibling that is bringing with it new menus, a private cellar and dining space, an impressive garden terrace, and rooftop lounge boasting phenomenal views.
Through periods of prosperity and hardship, the hospitality strip near the corner of Stanley Street and Annerley Road has been anchored by heralded French eatery C’est Bon ever since it opened in 2008. Owners Celine Damour and Peter Roefles (who took over the venue from Michel Bonnet in 2012) have been ardently committed to keeping the local dining scene alive, choosing to expand the business even when neighbouring spots were folding. Their shared dedication is set to pay dividends, as last week they revealed the fruits of some serious labour. The venue closed both its restaurant and wine bar in May for a couple of months worth of long-planned renovations. For Celine and Peter’s vision, the sky was the limit – quite literally. C’est Bon has transformed its neighbouring wine bar haunt into all-day eatery Le Bon Bar. They didn’t stop there – C’est Bon also unveiled a cellar space and private dining area at the venue’s rear, while also expanding upward to install a sun-kissed garden terrace and rooftop bar. The additions also herald a change of offering, as Le Bon Bar can now accomodate day-time eating and larger private functions.
C’est Bon’s renovations go far beyond cosmetic tweaks – the venue has become a mini district in itself. Le Bon Bar (formerly C’est Bon Wine Bar) has also been spruced up with some fresh furnishings while maintaining a harmonious interior balance between heritage and contemporary textures (exemplified by the red-brick walls, steel arches and the ridged bar front). Past the kitchen sits the Cellar – a secluded nook where C’est Bon stores numerous hard-to-find bottles. It doubles as a private event space, wine-tasting hub and intimate party location, with cork-lined walls, a sizeable communal table and moody lighting creating a cosy atmosphere for intimate festivités. Ascend the stairs and you’ll encounter the Garden Terrasse, an open-air section hewn from sun-soaked brick, boasting hanging greenery and an abundance of informal seating. Further upward sits the rooftop platform, which takes in 360-degree views of Woolloongabba and its surrounding neighbourhoods. While guests are more than welcome to take in the view, more additions are planned for the rooftop – so be sure to check in regularly. C’est Bon’s beloved main dining area hasn’t been spared from the frenzy, either – Celine and Peter have removed all existing furniture and replaced it with some chic new pieces, including modern banquette seating along one wall and eye-catching light fixtures.
The food and drink
Celine and Peter are pairing the interior shake-up with plenty of tasty new menu items as well, starting with a coffee and breakfast service in Le Bon Bar and the Garden Terrasse. Soak up the vibes with drool-worthy day starters like the croque monsieur, French toast (naturally) and Australian brekkie classics, alongside a cup of Semi-Pro coffee. During the afternoon a daily menu will offer up a lunch board option stacked with seasonal goodies. Come evening, Le Bon Bar will shift to serve up share plates, choice charcuterie and seasonal specials. As for C’est Bon proper, Peter is taking the opportunity to tweak the menu as well. While the kitchen will retain its focus on traditional French favourites, Peter is imbuing the menu with tastes of the French colonies. Oenophiles will be pleased to know that C’est Bon is also giving some love to its wine list (they’ve added a new cellar, after all). Celine and Peter have enlisted the help of Master of Wine Peter Scudamore-Smith for the curation of C’est Bon’s array of bottles, encompassing France’s phenomenal wine regions (Bordeaux, Loire Valley, Alsace, Burgundy and Rhone) as well as drops from Celine and Peter’s Queensland beloved local vintner (or coup de coeur) Barambah Wines. A full page is dedicated to wines by the glass, magnums by the glass and bigger bottles, champagne and sparkling, French regional reds, whites, and dessert wines, respectively. Non-wine drinkers needn’t fret – beers, ciders, cocktails, spirits and digestifs also feature.
Le Bon Bar is now open to the public, while C’est Bon will officially reopen for service on Friday July 12. Check out the Stumble Guide for more details.
The Stumble Guide is our comprehensive Brisbane dining guide with more than 2400 places to eat, drink, shop and play.