Bringing French romance to the avenues of Collingwood, Smith St Bistrot offers guests classic French cuisine in a carefully curated interior by Anthology Studio.
Anthology founder Sarah Townson was tapped by chef-restaurateur Scott Pickett to set the tone for the space after working with the cook at his previous locations. The brief provided to Anthology this time around called for a timeless, atmospheric French bistro that catered to all guests: those staying for a quick drink or those settling down for a decadent feast.
The design period lasted several months as the designer and client sought to align their visions for the space. Many bespoke pieces have been created for the restaurant, with a number of restored French antiques including lamps and chairs also placed inside.
Guests enter the bistro through wrought iron gates and distressed lacquered wood paneled doors, with custom gold chandeliers on either side of the entrance. Inside, they’re greeted by floor-to-ceiling antique mirrors with hand-painted blue frames, set above scalloped burgundy leather banquettes and white-veined marble tables.
The millwork and custom cabins were designed by a local furniture maker and are accented with classic Parisian artistry. Live moss rests on exposed brickwork, contrasting with custom hand-painted wallpaper. The bar has been framed with the original brass top which acknowledges the building’s history as Saint Crispin.
The placement of a mezzanine allowed the venue to double its capacity, as well as creating a quintessential European-style people-watching gallery. The main dining room can accommodate 40 guests, with room for 22 guests on the mezzanine reached by a spiral staircase. Above the mezzanine is a private reception room, “La vie en Rose”, which can accommodate 70 people. A bespoke hand-painted mural by Townson depicts a midnight storm in the Mont Blanc forest that is sure to pique the interest of those seated in the space.
The interior of Smith St Bistrot is an exercise in meticulous curation and creation. The collaborative sessions between designer and client have resulted in a place that encapsulates French dissipation in all its glory. Bespoke and antique furnishings, combined with handcrafted carpentry, make for a culinary escape rarely seen in Collingwood until it opened.