Founded by Paris-trained Chef and Patissier, Pierre Charkos and his wife Sally, La Renaissance Patisserie has been providing Sydney palates the exquisite tastes of France since 1974. Initially selling their renowned French cakes and pastries out of their small shopfront in East Roseville on Sydneyås North Shore, they quickly established a reputation for fine French fare.
“Nothing but the best ingredients will do,” was an unspoken motto Pierre was known by, and this motto overflowed into the La Renaissance cuisines. With the undeniable success of their first venture, La Renaissance Patisserie and Cafe opened a second store on Bastille Day in 1992 at The Rocks. Housed in one of Australia’s colonial era buildings, today it stands as a local landmark and mecca for locals and tourists alike searching for true French quality in all things patissiere.
Combining two of his loves – cuisine and pastry, Pierre’s ultimate dream was to open his own French Bistro. This dream wasn’t realised due to his illness that led to him passing away in 2005. However, Pierre was known for continually developing his art with great enthusiasm. He would be researching recipes and sourcing new and exciting ingredients without losing track of the old classical principles. Pierre’s legacy has lived on through to the next generation with his son, Olivier, taking the reigns and adopting the same principles as his father at both La Renaissance and now the family’s other venture – Baroque Bistro.
Head Chef at La Renaissance, Jean-Michel Raynaud, leads a team of passionate professionals producing the finest French cakes, pastries and macarons. The menu is composed of French classics as well as a new range of signature cakes, including the Monet and the Mousse Picasso, a cake composed of layers of white and dark chocolate mousse wrapped with a thin layer of Valrhona ‘Jivara’ milk chocolate.
After 35 years and two generations of experience, the La Renaissance team has perfected the art of macaron-making. All the macarons are hand made out of their pastry production kitchen at Baroque Bistro just up the road. The colourful clouds of meringue and sweet ganache are a staple of French Patisserie and have been traced back to the early 16th century. Jean-Michel has finessed the technique, and his macarons are some of the best you will find in the country. The flavours vary from the traditional to the extravagant, including Salted Caramel, Pistachio, Cherry and Mango, and Lime and Coconut.
Pastries are paired with coffee from Little Marionette and savouries are available all day ranging from the traditional provencale ratatouille to pies, quiches, croissants and baguettes. Nowadays, most of the produce at La Renaissance is able to be sourced locally, from the once fabled truffles all the way to every type of vegetables herbs and spices.
“We are trying to support our local fruit and vegetable growers, wine makers or artisan cheese makers as much as possible,” explained Olivier. When reflecting on his Sydney, Olivier explained, “My Sydney is about sharing a few drinks with all our wonderful staff, and debriefing the week’s ups and downs over an enormous plate of House made Charcuterie.”