C’est Bon was first opened in 2008 by celebrated French chef Michel Bonnet and quickly became recognised for its traditional French cuisine. Celine Damour and her partner Peter Roelfes have continued the legacy of Brisbane’s leading French dining destination. Eleven years ago, C’est Bon was Damour’s first home in Australia. She came from France as a passionate 25-year old and immediately worked for Bonnet. “I had no idea how famous he was. I thought he was just a chef who wanted to open a restaurant and a very nice guy on the phone.” In a nod to Damour’s passion and understanding of genuine hospitality, in 2012 Bonnet offered Damour the business, at the same time fulfilling her dream. “He was my mentor, my papa and my support,” she enthuses.
Now, alongside co-owner Roelfes, Damour has re-opened C’est Bon and unveiled its most extensive renovation yet. “We wanted to create a space where people can choose how and when they want to dine. Somewhere relaxed and affordable; something simple and nice,” said Damour. C’est Bon boasts numerous options for diners, including all day dining in a range of charming spaces. Along with the C’est Bon Restaurant, there is now Le Bon Bar, the Garden Terrasse rooftop lounge, and the architecturally designed Cellar.
Wine is an important part of the C’est Bon story, so the Cellar was a fitting extension. Designed to be intimate, this cosy nook is lined with cork and specialty bottles of wine. “I look for wine with a personal connection, vineyards near where I grew up, where friends work, where I have a story to tell about them. Most have a very personal connection,” Damour said. The new wine list features a full page of magnums via Coravin. “This way I can serve a wine that is sexy – it’s nice, it’s interesting, but you can sell a glass for a good price.”
While the classic dishes guests have come to expect will remain, the C’est Bon Restaurant menu has also seen some changes. “We will also expand the menu to include flavours of the French colonies. Over the years there has been an increase in the influence of these flavours in French cuisine,” said Damour. Roelfes has a particular interest in the history of the French Colonies and their cuisine and is keen to incorporate these into fresh new menu options. Each menu is designed with local and seasonal produce in mind. C’est Bon works directly with farmers, striving to source the best local produce. From central Queensland beef, fresh vegetables and chèvre from the Sunshine Coast hinterland right through to Scenic Rim camel cheese.
C’est Bon is located in Woolloongabba’s Stanley street Clarence Corner precinct in Brisbane. The heritage listed two-storey brick Shop Row was built around 1903 and was a focal point for the community. The building is one of the few surviving commercial buildings of Woolloongabba’s early 20th Century post-depression recovery. This makes it a very special setting for C’est Bon, with its intention of creating a focal point in this location once again.
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