In 2020, hospitality group Sydney Collective (The Morrison, Watsons Bay Hotel and more) won the tender to open an eatery in the legendary waterfront space at Circular Quay, which has housed the Sydney Cove Oyster Bar for over 30 years. The Grade II listed building was once a toilet block before being converted into one of Sydney’s premier pieces of restaurant property.
Now, Sydney Collective has announced that it will use the space in early May to open Whalebridge, a French-inspired restaurant. It will be headed by Will Elliott – a chef with a formidable background. He was the last in the underground French bistro Restaurant Hubert and worked on the pans at the historic London restaurant St John. He has also spent time in the kitchen of Cumulus Inc., a top Melbourne restaurant.
Elliott will put his experience to good use at Whalebridge, unleashing traditional French techniques on a seafood menu. Expect whole lobster thermidor, a caviar menu, steak frites, soufflé and other French classics done with an nimble modern touch. Here’s what else he has in store.
What is your new job title?
Chef of Whalebridge. I will be working with and developing a team of great chefs and kitchen porters in two locations (we also hired a production kitchen in Woolloomooloo) to deliver our French-oriented menu, as well as drive menu growth and build relationships. build with suppliers.
Why did you decide to move to Whalebridge and Sydney Collective?
I chose Sydney Collective before I knew anything about Whalebridge. When I spoke to the existing team, I knew immediately that we were on the same page in terms of values. The chance to tackle a site that already means so much to so many people in Sydney and do something new and exciting with it was the icing on the cake.
Do you have any fun plans or ideas for your new role?
I am very excited to be part of a group with such varied locations; not every idea has to fit the Whalebridge brand. With a dozen other locations, and more to come, there’s so much room to be creative and so much amazing talent to work with.
Do you bring dishes or ideas that you are known for?
Hubert’s Dan Pepperell and James MacDonald gave me a passion for reaching into the past for overlooked classics of French cuisine, and looking at them through a modern lens. It’s something I’ll continue to do at Whalebridge, and it’s at the heart of what gets me excited about the menu there.
Will we see fun ideas or dishes that you think will delight guests?
Our house specialties are all larger format, sharing dishes. I love the way food brings people together, and we have such a great space by the harbor where people can come together.