Frenchies Bistro & Brewery

Our first rendezvous with Vince de Soyres and Thomas Cauquil happened underground. It was in 2014, in the cellar of Naremburn’s Flat Rock Brew Cafe where the pair – Vince the brewer and Thomas the chef – served up a memorable degustation with colourful pairings that shone through the dim light of the barrel room.

Besides thick accents that clearly marked them out as French, there was no suggestion the two had any association beyond working at the same place. It wasn't until much later we found out that not only did they know each other but they had done for some time, as far back as hospitality school in their homeland. It was there they’d discovered a mutual appreciation for consuming good things and undertaking epic journeys; where most people are satisfied with a brisk walk or biking to work, they would do things like climb Mont Blanc or cycle from Paris to Istanbul.

During this time, Vince was learning to brew in Lyon while Thomas steered a path towards gastronomy, racking up experience in the kitchens of Michelin star restaurants. Their career path was being neatly laid out but that adventurous streak kicked in and they decided to travel to Australia, though not by the most direct route.

They plotted a path through Kamchatka, walking more than 700 kilometres along the remote Russia peninsula where serene scenes are punctured by ferocious obstacles ranging from exploding volcanoes to roaming hordes of wild bears. What brought them this way was Lapérouse, the French explorer who famously sailed from Kamchatka to New South Wales in 1788 and missed beating the First Fleet to Botany Bay by just a few days.

Loosely following his trail took them several months and, when they made it to Australia, the pair packed away their hiking boots and picked up where they’d left off: finding work in breweries and kitchens. That was where locals first gave them the affectionate sobriquet “Frenchies”. Thereafter, the name stuck everywhere they went, so when they made the decision to launch a business of their own they knew what to call it.

Labelling the business Frenchies also neatly summed up what they wanted to achieve with their venture, showcasing Gallic heritage and French fare under the banner of ‘bistronomy’, in other words gastronomy in a bistro setting – in even simpler terms, it was high quality food at affordable prices. To accompany this they would attach a brewery.

As they began assembling the bits and pieces required of the new business, not least a place to put it, Vince began gypsy brewing in different spots around Sydney to launch Frenchies beer and get some runs – and the odd competition medal – on the board. The beers he opted to make were generally French or European inspired and stood out from the crowd because they didn't necessarily follow it; the IPA, as an example, uses French and German hops rather than the more fashionable New World varieties.

After encountering a few hurdles trying to secure the right place to build a home, they found their sweet spot in The Cannery Rosebery, a piece of urban redevelopment where a host of young, likeminded businesses are housed in one large space – think provedores, designers, bakers, coffee roasters, a distillery, a cooking school and more.

In mid 2017, Frenchies’ brewery was installed, the kitchen completed and the bistro readied to welcome guests. Into the dining areas, both upstairs and down, came oak tables with a personal connection, the wood having been felled from the forest behind Vince’s father’s home in the Loire Valley, turned into timber at the local mill in exchange for a few offcuts then shipped off to Sydney. The pièce de résistance of the set is a six metre, twenty seat dining table for which the phrase "long lunch" might have been invented. If you can organise yourself nineteen friends the chefs will customise a menu for the occasion – a suckling pig, game bird or cured fish, for example – otherwise it's more a case of tucking into whatever’s been chalked up on the bistro menu.

That menu changes often so don’t expect to find the same thing on the board every week, let alone every day. Thomas’ approach is reminiscent of the way one ought to go about their own grocery shopping; seeking out things that are in season, look fresh and inspire you to create a meal around them. Each and every day a different five course menu made from local and seasonal ingredients is available for $75, while for an extra $20 you can get beers paired with each course.

If you’re not up for a full meal, sit down at the bar and indulge in French staples like terrines, pâté, pastes and cured meats – all of which the kitchen team makes on site – plus a cheese selection that’s exactly what you’d imagine a place of this lineage should have. The name of the game at the bar is to mix and match a few small items, though you can save yourself the trouble by just grabbing a platter.

And while you're there it’d be rude not to try a beer or three – after all, it’s made just a few metres away so you’ll hardly find another restaurant in Sydney with beer that’s fresher. With a core range of kölsch, an American pale ale that uses what you might term retro hops and two contrasting biere de gardes, it’s a selection that’s versatile enough for standalone drinking or proper food pairing. You can add to that a continual cycle of limited releases and experiments, such as the fortified beers made in collaboration with their neighbours at Archie Rose.

Taking a trip to Frenchies brings to mind that common lament among dedicated beer drinkers, whereby restaurants do themselves a disservice by offering immaculate meals only to present a beer list made up of generic lagers. It goes without saying that you'll find no such problem at Frenchies. Indeed, good food and good beer is made to look so easy. In a city where brewery food more often than not means food trucks, Frenchies’ fine fare is something altogether different and welcome.

Nick Oscilowski

Frenchies Bistro & Brewery

The Cannery
6 / 61-71 Mentmore Avenue
NSW 2018

02 8964 3171
Regular events

Frenchies Feast every Thursday at the long table, $95 set menu includes all food and bottomless beer (max 20 people).

Open Hours

Tues to Thur: midday to 10pm
Fri & Sat: midday to 11pm

Tue to Sat: 12 – 2.30pm / 6 – 9:30pm

Current Crafty Cabal offers

Two-For-One Tasting Paddles At Frenchies

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Frenchies Bistro & Brewery Regulars

Frenchies Astrolabe

Tapped March 31st, 2018
Long before the Frenchies Bistro & Brewery first opened its doors in 2017, the company’s founders, Vince and Thomas, wanted to hit the ground running and generate a bit of awareness about their new brand. The most tangible thing they figured they could do to help get some traction behind Frenchies was to release some beers. So, in 2015 Vince began gypsy brewing around Sydney, testing the market with a little range of European-inspired styles they hoped would fit in with the venue they would… Read more
Biere de Garde

Frenchies Comet Pale Ale

One of the bi-products of the resurgence in small breweries is the return of some once unfashionable brewing ingredients. One such example is the American hop, Comet, which evidently disappeared in the 1980s before making a more recent comeback, not least in this beer. It’s one that brewer Vince began playing around with when Frenchies launched as a gypsy brewer and has fined tuned in several iterations since, with results coming anywhere between floral fruits and an earthy spiciness. Now made… Read more
Pale Ale

Frenchies Kolsch

When it comes to brewing a Kölsch you'd be safe to surmise that spending a good amount of time in the city where the style originates would be of considerable benefit. That’s the case here, for Frenchies brewer Vince lived and studied in Cologne (or Köln, if you prefer) where he also schooled his palate on the finer points of the local beer. His Aussie-brewed interpretation is thus intended as a nod to the classics. It’s made with very light malts and Tettnang and Strisselspalt hops, forming… Read more

Frenchies Lapérouse

The launch of the Lapérouse must have been a nice feeling for Frenchies brewer Vince de Soyres. For some time – what feels like years – he’d spoken of a plan to fully satisfy what is an apparent affection and curiosity for the Biere de Garde style of his homeland. As such, when the Frenchies brewery was commissioned in 2017 he wasted little time in launching the first of what are planned to be seasonal variants of the style. It’s a golden beer that’s very much about the malt and the yeasts.… Read more
Biere De Garde

Frenchies Bistro & Brewery Specials

Frenchies Festbier "Party Lager" 2019

Tapped October 11th, 2019
I don’t know about you, but when I think about the marriage of King Ludwig I to Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen, which, if I’m honest, isn’t as often as it used to be, I think about Sydney’s premier French bistro and brewery. Frenchies have gone all out in their usual fashion for their 2019 Oktoberfeast event and brewed a pitch perfect German festbier that head brewer, Vincent De Soyres, has rather more aptly named, a Party Lager. There’s great news for the dozens of Reinheitsgebot fans… Read more
Party Lager

Best enjoyed at Frenchies Oktoberfeast (but in cans too)

Frenchies Coast Extra IPA

Tapped August 1st, 2019
What do you do if you want to make an IPA that bears some traits of an East Coast IPA and some traits of a West Coast IPA? You cheat, and make the IPA exactly as you want it to taste, and call it a Frenchies Coast Extra IPA. Five hops bring the blend of flavours that make this beer the hybrid it is - a base of Columbus and Simcoe, aromatics from Centennial and Mosaic, and a flourish of Riwaka from New Zealand. There’s no real haze to speak of, but the sticky pineapple and citrus on the nose give… Read more
60 IBU

Frenchies La Boussole

Tapped July 26th, 2019
Bières de garde are one of the rarest beer styles brewed in Australia. In fact, with the release of Frenchies' La Boussole, you could buy more bières de garde from the Rosebery bistro and brewery than just about every other brewery in the country combined. What sets La Boussole apart from the others, however, is it’s the first out of Frenchies' barrel-ageing program. La Boussole (French for compass) is named for the French frigate and sister ship to the L’Astrolabe, which sailed under the… Read more
Barrel-Aged Bière de Garde

Frenchies Brutus IPA

Tapped August 24th, 2018
If Brut IPAs are to have a place, Frenchies feels like the kind of place they belong. After all, for a brewery that strives to make marginally left of centre beers with a European twist that go well with food, what could be more appropriate than a Champagne IPA? Brutus is their first effort at this specific kind of beer, though the idea does go back a bit further. Brewer Vince de Soyres reckons this is the kind of thing he had in mind when Frenchies first released its now retired Old World IPA,… Read more
Brut IPA

Frenchies W.H.I.S.P.A. Wet Hop Harvest Ale

Tapped April 26th, 2018
Following this year’s hop harvest, the team from Frenchies corralled a dozen or so fellow brewers into each brewing a beer using fresh hops, then hosted something of a collective launch party under the banner of the Fresh Harvest Beer Festival. The Frenchies’ contribution to the occasion was and is a Wet Hopped India Session Red Ale, which gets shortened to the far catchier name WHISPA (or the marginally less catchy WHISRA, if we’re splitting hairs and paying attention to the faded fine print… Read more
Wet Hop Red Ale

Frenchies Oceanna's Saison

Tapped October 13th, 2017
Back in 2014, when he was head brewer at the Flat Rock Brew Cafe, Vince de Soyres brewed Flynn’s IPA, a beer made for and named in celebration of the birth of his son. In due course Flynn got a sister, Oceanna, but Vince wasn't working in a brewery at that time so she missed out on an honorary beer. Skip further ahead and Vince recently got a third child, of sorts, in the shape of the Frenchies brewery. And that meant he could finally make a beer in Oceanna’s name. The one she got is a dainty… Read more
Raspberry Saison

Frenchies San Fransisco Lager

Tapped October 12th, 2017
Back in the 1970s, with the number of US breweries at an all time low outside Prohibition and the country awash with big brand lager, the future wasn't looking great for small brewers. But San Francisco’s Anchor Brewing was daring to be different. On the back of the now famed Anchor Steam, the archetypal example of the California Common beer, the historic brewery morphed into one of the icons of the modern American craft beer industry. And it proved, if nothing else, that you don't have to accept… Read more
California Common

Frenchies Old World IPA

Tapped September 4th, 2017
Most breweries these days have an IPA, but not many have one like this. Frenchies’ Old World IPA is not a riot of fruit and bitterness as you’d come to expect from, in particular, the US interpretations of the style based on that country’s big and bold hops. Instead, here they’ve used French hop varieties (Columbus and Triskel) and German (Hallertau Blanc and Mandarina Bavaria) to construct a more delicate beer built on floral characters, an almost vinous quality and very little bitterness.… Read more

Frenchies Golden Steam

Tapped September 4th, 2017
While their main focus flies beneath the tricolour, not everything is entirely French at Frenchies. Case in point is the Golden Steam which is actually more of a New Zealand style pilsner. Where Frenchies’ similar-in-strength Kölsch aims to please with sophistication via subtlety, the Golden Steam lets go the leash a little more. It’s made using only kiwi hops – Motueka, Wakatu and Waimea – though the amounts used are deliberately kept in check, with just enough to ensure you pick up the… Read more
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