How to celebrate Bastille Day 2016 in Sydney

Thursday 14th July is Bastille Day, France’s national day which always brings an excuse to indulge in the rich culture and cuisine of the famous country. Being that some of the country’s best French restaurants are located in Sydney, Bastille Day in this fine harbour city is always a must, even more so with special events like the annual BBR Festival, which extends the celebration over several days. Below you’ll find some of the best happenings around Sydney to help you make the most of this yearly celebration.

Bleu Blanc Rouge French Festival (Circular Quay)

The major Bastille Day event attracting Sydneysiders have been BBR Festival within the past few years. From Thursday to Sunday, the four day open-air festival will be bringing in an array of artistic events and stalls for attendees across the Circular Quay foreshore and Customs House Square to immerse themselves in French culture. The large-scale celebration of France’s National Day will have a number of live music shows, cabaret performances, French films, food, and cooking masterclasses with some of the city’s best French chefs.

It’ll all kick off at 11am on Thursday with live music and essential French croissants amongst other food and drink. The official Bastille Day party will follow on the same day at 6pm, with French music and cabaret girls, designed to transport those heading along to the Moulin Rouge with tunes, dancing, eating, and drinking. The party will be followed by the first of many films screened over the festival, the greatest cult French film “Les Bronzés font du ski” at the Open Air Cinema.

For this year, the festival has also expanded to include a showcase to European and French-speaking cultures in general, bringing in over 60 food vendors from 9 countries across Greece, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Germany, Portugal, and Switzerland. The curated market place will feature authentic European style Artisan and Flea Antique markets throughout the festival.

Another first for the festival will be the Canadian Snow Island which will cover AMP Square Scout Place with three tonnes of real snow throughout the weekend, adding to the wide-spread winter celebration that is found all across Sydney. The winter island will also feature a hockey field where the Sydney Bear players will host a street hockey game, and to make sure the public are well energised there will also be a Maple Candy on ice station where you can create your own lolly with Maple syrup. Other maple products will also feature alongside some traditional Canadian poutine.

For a full program of the festival click HERE.

Bishop Sessa (Surry Hills)

For Bastille Day, Surry Hills staple Bishop Sessa will be offering a traditional French five-course degustation dinner matched with wines which have been carefully paired. Chef Paul Cooper has put together a menu which fully highlights his own personal twist on French cuisine, offering starters like Sydney Rock Oysters with Champagne jelly, Finger Lime and Salmon Caviar, and Roasted Rabbit with mustard, smoked pomme puree, and house cured bacon. For dessert, the menu will feature a Tarte Tatin with banana, honeycomb, and milk ice cream.

Thursday 14th July || $89pp || 02 8065 7223 || 527 Crown St, Surry Hills ||

Mistelle (Double Bay)

One of Sydney’s newest and finest French wine bars, Mistelle, won’t be holding back for their first ever Bastille Day celebration. On the Thursday the team will be offering a special three-course dinner menu, where all guests will also receive a glass of Ruinart Champagne on arrival. The menu features entree options of winter-warming French Onion Soup and Escargot en Cocotte ; mains of Double Baked Gruyere Soufflé with sand crab bisque and caviar, and Duck a l’orange; and desserts of Chocolate Tart with fresh raspberries and crème fraîche mousse, and Mistelle Tarte Tartin with marshmallow ice cream and pecan caramel. The bar will also be opening a few very special French Red and White wines specially for the evenings events.

Thursday 14th July || $75pp, Bookings from 5:30pm || 02 9326 1900 || 16 Kiaora Ln, Double Bay ||

Felix (CBD)

Merivale’s buzzing French restaurant and bar Felix in Ash Street laneway will unsurprisingly be getting involved in on Bastille Day as they do year after year. The stalwart CBD venue will be running a special menu on the Thursday from 6:30pm to 10:30pm, offering up a wide range of options that include Tuna and Kingfish Tartare served with espelette chips, ginger and avocado, some Smoked pork hock and spatchcock terrine with fennel pollen and grilled sourdough, a pasta option being Sauté of herb gnocchi with butternut pumpkin, mushrooms, broccolini, Woodside goats curd, beurre noisette and pine nuts, and desserts which range from Passionfruit soufflé to Peanut butter parfait . For the full menu click HERE. The price listed below includes 3 courses and a glass of NV Ruinart Blanc de Blancs

Thursday 14th July || $110pp || 02 9240 3000 || 2 Ash St, Sydney ||

Bakers Maison (Sydney CBD)

Much-loved CBD venue Bakers Maison Bakery Café will be giving away FREE croissants, wine, and cheese to celebrate Bastille Day on Thursday morning for the entire day. The traditional French bakery will be kicking off the free-for-all at 7am and wrapping up at around 6pm, offering free wine and cheese tastings with promises that the wine is a deep red, and cheeses are a sharp blue (and a triple cream brie to boot). They’ll be pairing these up with freshly baked French breads for good measure.

Thursday 14th July || 7am-6pm || 02 9221 5864 || 161 King Street, Sydney ||

Ladurée (Sydney CBD)

Head along to Ladurée in Westfield Sydney on the Thursday and you’ll have access to a few special limited edition boxes designed by renowned illustrator Kerrie Hess, filled with the brand’s popular macarons. The designs are gorgeous manifestations of Hess’ time spent in Paris, commissioned by Ladurée especially to celebrate Bastille Day this year. Ladurée will be offering these for $38 per box filled with 8 macarons each. While you’re there be sure to include at least a few of their Marie Antoinette macarons, which are filled with black tea with rose, citrus, and honey.

Thursday 14th July || 02 9231 0491 || Level 3, Westfield Sydney Mall / Corner Pitt St and Market St, Sydney

360 Bar & Dining (Sydney CBD)

It seems like Sydney’s quintessential altitude dining experience can’t wait for Thursday so they’ll be throwing their Bastille Day dinner celebration on Tuesday 12th July, offering up five courses curated by the 360 Wine Club that’s been created by Head Chef Elton Inglis and will be hosted by fine wine specialist Jon Le Gras. The French wine list will be of particular value here, exploring the regions of France while dishes featured include a Warm Salad of Lobster, Lentils, Witlof, and Bisque Cream, a lovely Foie gras & smoked chicken terrin with pickled veggies and brioche toast, and Ranger’s Valley Beef Brisket Bourguignon. Dessert will be a mix of cheese and truffles.

Tuesday 12th July || 6pm || 02 8223 3883 || Studio Sydney Tower, 4, Sydney Westfield Centre ||

Café Ananas (Circular Quay)

Sister to Ananas, Café Ananas has been getting some major traction down at Circular Quay, overlooking Sydney Harbour with its modern take on exquisite French food. They’ll be getting involved with the Bastille Day celebrations across two days – first a special menu at the Thursday, and second a stylish Champagne brunch on the Sunday.

Head along on Thursday from 6:30pm and you’ll find a three-course menu with matching French wines, and dishes that include traditional Onion Soup Gratiné or Le Pied de Cochon to start with, followed by a rich and complex Glacier 51 Toothfish En Papillote, or Slow Roasted Beef Cheek. Dessert will be a selection of French cheeses or Tarte Tatin.

Thursday 14th July || 6:30pm onwards || $85 || 02 9259 5624 || 2 Phillip St, Sydney ||

The Sunday will feature a luxe seafood and champagne brunch with an all-you-can-eat buffet of fresh food, charcuterie, and other French delicacies. The price listed below includes a glass of Champagne and the gourmet buffet selection.

Sunday 17th July || 11am || $69pp || 02 9259 5624 || 2 Phillip St, Sydney ||

Headline image supplied by BBR Festival.


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Chris Singh

Chris Singh is an Editor-At-Large at the AU review, loves writing about travel and hospitality, and is partial to a perfectly textured octopus. You can reach him on Instagram: @chrisdsingh.