What happens when five longtime friends get together and open a bar? Well, for one, Sydney has a new go-to for a slightly dirty martini.
Salon de Thé and Bar de Thé are, respectively, an intimate French-Vietnamese restaurant and martini bar in Darlinghurst. They’re the brainchild of Paul Wilson, George Gorrow, Dan Single, Michael Nolan, and Maurice Terzini, currently calling themselves the Cîroc Collective, as part of a collaboration with Cîroc vodka.
Gorrow, Wilson, Single, and Nolan are creative leaders across pop culture projects and were the founders of fashion label Ksubi way back when it started (with a t), while Terzini is a restaurateur of international acclaim, notably for Icebergs Dining Room and Bar.
Starting a place together has long been on the agenda. “We have been friends for many years, finding our feet in the local and international fashion, bar, and restaurant scenes,” says Wilson. “When we were approached to represent Cîroc as a collective, we started hunting around town. We found this unique loft-style space.”
Opening night brought a mega-mix of the city’s fashion and arts worlds, including models Stef Bambi and visiting Victoria’s Secret Angel Erin Heatherton, but Wilson says this is a relaxed place where “absolutely everyone is welcome.” Who are they hoping might wander in, though? “It would be kinda awesome bad if Jerry Hall dropped through the door with Debbie Harry and Grace Jones.”
The collective, which runs creative projects internationally, choose Sydney because, says Wilson, “Sydney-siders know how to let their hair down with style.
“We have guest deejays and record labels curating the playlists in the salon each season,” continues Wilson. “Right now we have the record label Multi Culti from Montreal providing world-inspired, down-tempo beats. Upstairs in the bar, the music is a lot more loose and free and generally rides with the feeling of each night. It would be hard to sum it up in three songs, but current hits are Ben Kahn’s ‘Eden’; Todd Terje’s ‘Delorean Dynamite (Disco Version)’; and, for fun, Daft Punk and Pharrell’s ‘Lose Yourself to Dance.’”
This week they’re hosting a dinner to showcase a menu designed by French chef Julien Perraudin from Botanical in Melbourne and a small but carefully selected wine and champagne offering by their sommelier, Rocco Esposito. In keeping with the name—salon de thé is French for tearoom—there is a focus on aromatic and herbal influences like tea smoking and digestive teas and cocktails.
No city loves a new hang like Sydney does, and this one could prove that sometimes a remix is better than the original.
225 Victoria St., Darlinghurst, Sydney.
Photo: Courtesy of Cîroc Collective