Located in Sydney’s Inner West, the historic Red Lion pub is set to unveil the brand-new Bistro Led Rion by Manu, with celebrity chef Manu Feildel occupying the upper level.

The Red Lion has been an iconic fixture in Rozelle since 1828, and an eight-month renovation by owners Laundy Hotels, totalling $1.5m, has also given the downstairs pub a new look.

Set to open on Friday 12 July, the 120-seat bistro is spearheaded by Feildel, marking his return to a restaurant kitchen for the first time in four years, and Laundy Hotels group executive chef Jamie Gannon.

Danielle Richardson, daughter of publican Arthur Laundy and owner of Laundy Hotels, says: “We’re incredibly enthusiastic about hosting this residency. Manu and Jamie’s vision perfectly aligns with our goals for the Red Lion. It truly feels like a match made in heaven.”

With a friendship spanning more than a decade, Feildel and Gannon collaborated on the French bistro-style concept, adopting recipes from Feildel’s family archives, being a sixth-generation chef.

According to Feildel, the focus of the menu was to create “delicious, approachable food rather than aiming for the stars.

“I want guests at Bistro Red Lion by Manu to forget the outside world and feel as though they’d dining at my home, enjoying a good bottle of red,” he added.

Bistro Red Lion by Manu, Manu Feildel and Jamie Gannon
Chef Manu Feildel and Laundy Hotels group executive chef Jamie Gannon

The menu opens with amuse-bouche snacks, including Nambucca oysters, scallop gratinée and beetroot cured egg mayo. From the entrées, highlights include classic bistro fare such as the double baked Comté cheese soufflé and French country style pâté, using a recipe belonging to Feildel’s father.

Patrons can expect to choose from five main courses, with standout dishes including Matelote (fish stew), Chargrilled pork tomahawk with braised fennel and grainy mustard sauce, and Butcher’s cut of beef with pommes dauphine and a choice of house-made sauces.

Desserts on the menu include crispy goat’s curd cigar with poached quince and thyme honey and chocolate mousse with hazelnut Chantilly cream.

Gannon said: “This isn’t just about a new venture, it’s a celebration of friendship, community and collaboration. We’re thrilled to share what we’ve been working on with everyone.”

Inside the 196-year-old pub, the renovation was executed by Sydney design collective Co:Aika in two phases, first targeting the ground floor pub, followed by the upstairs bistro and lounge.

Downstairs, the pub’s heritage charm has been maintained with original features such as a working fireplace, wood panelling, balustrades and the staircase, with the addition of a redesigned front bar, open-plan lounge and dining area and a new gaming room.

Cherished by locals, the taxidermy lion has retained its place on the ground floor, complemented by historical photographs of the pub and local area, and bespoke and reclaimed wood furnishings.

The ground floor pub will continue to serve pub classics, including its famed hand-crumbed chicken schnitzel.

Moving upstairs, Bistro Red Lion by Manu incorporates a bar and open chef’s pass, which provides a glimpse into the kitchen. The focus for the space was to fuse Parisian bistro charm and contemporary Sydney style, featuring linen dressed tables, illustrated wall accents and a collection of artworks.

Outside, the wraparound balcony has been restored to offer alfresco dining with views of Rozelle’s Darling Street.

Bistro Red Lion by Manu
Bistro Red Lion by Manu is a blend of French bistro and contemporary Sydney style

“Our goal was clear: retain the pub’s inherent charm while creating a more welcoming and inviting space that would attract even more visitors seeking the rarity of a traditional, beautiful pub – one that locals continue to proudly call their own,” added Richardson.

The opening of the bistro follows the announcement just last month that Laundy Hotels has acquired the Light Brigade Hotel in Woollahra as the group continues to bolster its Sydney portfolio.

Bistro Red Lion by Manu opens to the public on Friday 12 July, operating Thursday to Sunday.

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