EXCLUSIVE: Bathers Pavilion chef Serge Dansereau secures 20 year lease on landmark Balmoral building - and we’re thrilled!
By ANNA USHER with photography by GRAHAM MONRO from gmphotographics
A revamped Bathers Pavilion featuring an exclusive, luxury lounge and bar will herald in a new era for the iconic Sydney restaurant, with owner Serge Dansereau securing tenure of the heritage building for the next 20 years.
With three major hospitality groups in the running, including one local operator, the competitive public tender was a long and complex process, with the internationally acclaimed chef telling Mosman Collective he is “hugely relieved”.
“It is good for the staff and it is good for everyone in Mosman,” he said.
“In a sense, I am hugely relieved - but I’m also absolutely ecstatic with the Council’s decision.
“It’s wonderful knowing that the Bathers brand will continue to be a permanent fixture on Balmoral Beach.”
The French-Canadian culinary pioneer has traded at the pavilion since 1998, delivering extraordinary food experiences for diners, including Tom Cruise, Nigella Lawson, Nicole Kidman and Robin Williams.
“I’ve been in Mosman for 20 years, and in that time, we have become one of Australia’s most famous restaurants,” Serge says.
“Our mission has always been to provide our customers with a memorable local experience that involves impeccable food and service.
“Everyone is welcomed here with open arms, and it’s a big part of what keeps our diners coming back.”
Mosman Council General Manager Dominic Johnson said the rigour of the tender process ensured the best outcome for the area and the community.
“Bathers’ Pavilion is a unique and special venue, situated in one of Sydney’s most popular foreshore locations,” he said.
“Selecting the new leaseholder involved a thorough, robust and independent appraisal of a number of factors including the proposed business model, industry expertise, economic viability and the amenity of the area.
“We are assured that Serge will continue to provide a leading, high quality dining establishment that is popular with locals and visitors alike, operating a business that is in keeping with the amenity and environment of the surrounding area.”
The new lease runs from 2020 to 2039, with the interior receiving a major facelift in the coming months.
“After two decades of blue walls, colourful scatter cushions, rustic objects and hedonistic paintings, it feels like the time is right for a change,” Serge laughs.
“The renovation will offer something new and fresh, while keeping in synch with the Moorish exterior design.
“It’s a complete interior transformation, that will take Bathers through to 2039.”
Award winning architecture and design firm Luchetti Krelle has been given the task of revamping the iconic restaurant and function rooms in time for summer.
“The new restaurant and café fit-out is incredible - and a whole new generation of brides and grooms will enjoy their wedding day in brand new function rooms,” Serge said.
“In addition to the restaurant and café, Bathers will also feature a new bar and lounge area for a casual drink and some oysters.
“It will be the perfect spot on a summer evening.”
A non-drinker who is fit and healthy, Serge says he has no plans to retire over the next 20 years, even though he’ll be in his 80’s when Bathers’ lease next expires.
“I’m in very good physical condition and focus on my health,” he says, “you have to be when you are running a busy restaurant like Bathers.
“For as long as I am alive, I’ll be front and centre at the restaurant.
“Without a doubt, the next two decades will be hugely successful for the Bathers’ brand – and for the local Mosman economy.”