The Old Fitzroy Hotel will introduce a new French-inspired menu, headed by Odd Culture Group executive chef, James MacDonald.

A unique pub, bistro and theatre situated in the Sydney suburb of Woolloomooloo, the Old Fitz is known for its innovative approach to the classic pub offer. The new winter menu will feature classic French and British-inspired, as well as a special Sunday menu to be enjoyed alongside live jazz.

MacDonald has seven years of experience in Michelin-starred restaurants, serving predominantly French cuisine in the UK and Europe. He previously worked in restaurants such as Wild Honey in Mayfair, Brawn on Columbia Road, St John in Smithfield and Kokotxa in San Sebastian.

“I love French food, and the way people there are so passionate about it. My bookshelves at home are stacked with books on France and French cooking techniques. I must have read Joel Robuchon’s book, French Regional Food, 100 times and I’ve taken no fewer than 8 trips to France in my time,” MacDonald enthused.

Upon returning to Australia in 2013, MacDonald lead the kitchen in Andrew McConnell’s French bistro, Luxembourg, in Melbourne. He then moved to Sydney to open Restaurant Hubert with Dan Pepperell and subsequently took on the role of head chef before joining Odd Culture Group.

The menu at the Old Fitz begins with dishes such as pommes Anna with tarama and anchovy, chicken and tarragon terrine with sauce gribiche, and steak tartare with chips.

“It feels right to lean into French-inspired cuisine and create a refined menu focussed on comfort and long established favourites. It ties in so well with the pub’s charm, warmth and homeliness,” MacDonald described.

The larger meals include duck confit with beans and aioli, steak au poivre with frites, beef cheek bourguignon with pomme purée, and lamb neck Provençal pie. Guests can then finish the meal with classic French desserts such as rhum baba with Chantilly cream or crème caramel.

The Sunday menu will feature smaller grazing dishes and three Sunday roasts: beef striploin, chicken Maryland, or slow roasted Japanese squash. Local jazz musicians will perform upstairs in Bistro Fitz from 2pm to 5pm, with James Ryan’s Soul Jazz Express taking the stage for the first week.

The wine list has seen some new French drops including Muscadet, Loire Valley bistro reds, and a cellared selection of bottles from Burgundy and Jura. The cocktail menu will put a new spin on beloved bar classics, such as a negroni utilising vermouth from Catalonian winemakers Partida Creus.

Most of the bistro menu can be enjoyed beside the log fire in the downstairs pub, or alfresco on the streetside tables. The pub menu has also received some French-inspired additions, including mussels on toast with celery and aioli, eggs mayonnaise with anchovy and cress, a wagyu cheeseburger with frites, and rainbow trout with crisp potato and watercress.

“I’d like to think that there’s something for everyone on the new menu but the mussels on toast will be a bit of an unexpected favourite,” MacDonald concluded.

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