New Zealand's best restaurant, The French Cafe, has been sold to its biggest rival

The French CafeFrench Cafe owner Simon Wright has sold his 3-hat restaurant after 20 years running New Zealand’s most lauded dining venue.

New Zealand’s best known and most awarded restaurant, Auckland’s The French Cafe, is being taken over by its closest competitor.

From September, it will be owned by Sid and Chand Sahrawat and will be called Sid at The French Cafe.

The Sahrawats already have Sidart and Cassia in Auckland, both of which are multi-award winners.

Both Sidart and The French Cafe have three hats in the 2017 Cuisine Good Food Awards and Cassia has two, but it won the 2017 best specialist restaurant title.

The French Cafe’s owners Simon Wright and and Creghan Molloy-Wright decided to sell after the Sahrawats said they were interested in buying.

They have run The French Cafe for 20 years.

The Wrights say they are looking forward to a lifestyle change, focusing on the family and planning a new, as yet unstated, venture.

In a press release, the couple said it was important they handed over to the right buyers.

“Sid and Chand share so many of the same philosophies as us, with regards to the care and respect for customers, staff and suppliers. They are brilliant restaurant professionals who have done the hard yards.”

“We were pretty content with what we had,” says Sid Sahrwat. “But we just think it is important for Auckland dining to carry that legacy through.”

Because Sidart is similar to The French Cafe, the Sahrawats say they will change Sidart’s focus to Indian food, as it is with Cassia.

But Sidart will remain more formal. Its menu changes from July 31.

Sid said while The French Cafe’s operation would keep its usual format, he would also change the menu to reflect his style of cooking.

“It will be more reflective of the flavours and the ingredients I like to cook with.”

Chand Sahrawat said: “In taking over The French CafĂ©, we have inherited a beautiful restaurant with a rich history and we’re going to work really hard to continue the amazing legacy.”

– Stuff

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