Dutch-born Head Chef Silas Orre heads up the French kitchen at Curly Whiskers, a quirky, sweet, sustainable bistro in Brighton.
How would you best describe the experience at Curly Whiskers to a potential diner?
The experience at Curly Whiskers is centred around indulging in great food. The focal point is the open kitchen, where guests can see their meals being prepared as they sit around it at one of only a few tables. Our diners are guests in a space that feels like coming to someone’s home. You get casual fine dining with warm and friendly service.
What do you love most about French cuisine?
The romance of visiting the local market on a daily basis, forming relationships with artisans and vendors, and understanding the unique seasonal offerings. This is the foundation of traditional French cuisine. The next step is to combine these ingredients in an optimal way to showcase their individuality while creating harmony. This is what I love most about French cuisine. As a chef I find it both a challenge and a pleasure.
You are part of a very small team, how do you still meet the challenges presented from a full service?
In some ways, it is easier working in a small team because we are all in sync like a well-oiled machine. Rosalin is agile and moves freely between serving guests and supporting me in the kitchen. If I see that front of house is tied up, I bring meals to tables myself. Because I am so close to diners, I get direct feedback from them. Even when it’s not direct I often see and hear guests’ appraisal of their meal, so I feel more connected to them than most chefs.
What produce or ingredients are you particularly enjoying working with at the moment?
Fresh black Victorian truffles have a short season and I am featuring them in our crème brûlée. That’s been a big hit over the last couple of weeks, and for good reason. Tastes amazing! But all year round I am very fond of working with duck. We have a great relationship with Milawa Free-Range Poultry that supply us, and we use almost every part of the duck across our entire menu. From the livers for pâté, the bones for stock, the fat to enhance our potatoes, to the legs and breasts for main meals. We even use duck eggs in some desserts!
What is your opinion on what G&M brings to Australia?
I think Australian diners and restaurateurs have confidence in the G&M brand because they are a well established and highly regarded international restaurant reviewing organisation. For a small restaurant with a limited PR budget like Curly Whiskers, G&M can be the difference between success and failure. G&M was the first publication to notice us, the first to give us valuable and timely feedback, and the first to acknowledge that we were doing something special. Now we proudly display the awarded certificate with hats in our front window and I think it makes it more compelling for people to want try us out. Thank you G&M!
3/124 Martin Street, Brighton, VIC, 3186
(03) 9596 3324