Auckland icon The French Cafe sold to top restaurateurs

by Kate Richards / 23 May, 2018

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Chand and Sid Sahrawat, left, will take over The French Cafe from Simon Wright and Creghan Molloy-Wright in September. Photo/Aaron McLean.

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The French Café owners sell the Auckland institution to Sid and Chand Sahrawat of Sidart and Cassia.

Simon Wright and Creghan Molloy-Wright, who’ve owned the Auckland-famous French Café for twenty years, have announced the sale of the restaurant to Metro restaurateurs of the year Sid and Chand Sahrawat (Cassia and Sidart). The restaurant will be renamed Sid at The French Café.

The Sahrawats won six categories at the Metro Restaurant of the Year Awards 2018, including the Supreme Award for Sidart, runner-up for their modern Indian restaurant Cassia, and the Best Chef category. The French Café was recognised as one of the world’s top restaurants by La Liste this year, and has been consistently recognised by Metro as one of Auckland’s most accomplished restaurants.

Creghan and Simon took over from Connie Clarkson at The French Café in 1999, when Creghan was only 24 and Simon 30. It is a testament to their skill as restaurateurs to have built a venue which has received such widespread national and international acclaim. The couple will formally stand down from September and temporarily move out of Auckland to spend time with their two children.

Sid and Chand say they’re thrilled to be taking over The French Café legacy, adding that the restaurant holds a particularly special place in their hearts. 

“Chand and I had our very first formal dining date at The French Café more than 15 years ago,” says Sid. “The meal we had on that occasion was spectacular – so much so, it inspired me to create the style of food I produce today. We’ve long had a deep love of The French Café, so to now be taking over its reins is a really exciting step for our business.”

The Sahrawats will step in from September, but before then their flagship restaurant Sidart will undergo a major menu transformation from the European-influenced food they’ve served for the past eight years, to fine dining Indian. The new menu will roll out from July 31st.

The couple’s modern Indian restaurant Cassia on Fort Lane will remain largely unchanged, and while Sid will initially focus his time on the kitchen at Sid at The French Café, he will split his time between all three restaurants after the transition is fully made. Research and Development chef Lesley Chandra will assume the role of head chef at Sid at The French Café. 

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