It might not be the Champs-Élysées but Lake Burley Griffin will have a touch of the Parisian this summer thanks to the arrival of the très chic Margot.
Inspire by the relaxed, outdoor dining experiences of French cafes, Margot Espresso Vin and Fromage will specialise in local wines, curated cheeses and quality morning coffee.
Margot – the brainchild of GoBoat’s Nick Tyrrell and The Boat House Restaurant’s James Souter – will open in November at West Kiosk, just a stone’s throw from The Jetty.
The name pays homage to one of the most famous cafes in Paris, Les Deux Magots – a venue which was once frequented by novelist Ernest Hemingway as well as intellectuals like Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre.
It’s not the first time Mr Tyrrell has found inspiration for his projects from Europe. That’s where he got the idea for GoBoats from.
“You go to so many of these European cities, and you can sit out on the pavement with dozens of other people. Everyone is just sitting out and sipping on a glass of wine. It’s just a really relaxed atmosphere,” Mr Tyrrell says.
“Both [James] and I have a real love for the lake and we have often talked about the need for a casual, alfresco venue.”
The pair is thrilled with the location and premises in West Kiosk and hope to see not only walkers from the bridge-to-bridge walk stopping by for a wine or coffee afterward (depending on the time of day, of course) but tourists who have visited the nearby national institutions.
During the day, Margot will serve coffee and grab-and-go food for those who may be walking or cycling before work or in the morning, but on afternoons and evenings its focus will turn to local wine and cheese.
It’s hoped that down the track the venue will also be able to play host to regular wine tastings with local vintners and there are some plans to operate in a different way throughout the colder months, with dining domes.
With The Jetty just nearby, Mr Tyrrell says Margot’s offerings will be something different but complimentary.
“It’s going to be quite a different concept, with fewer people, for example,” he notes.
The duo plans to create a space that is also suitable for families with small children or dogs in tow.
With a wet summer predicted again and Canberra’s notoriously hot days, Mr Tyrrell says there are some back up plans on the cards – including takeaway cheese and grazing boxes – for the wet days.
But both he and Mr Souter have plenty of experience running businesses outdoors in Canberra and they are confident of Margot’s success.
“Every outdoor venue has to deal with the weather. You’ve got two experienced operators and we wouldn’t be doing it if we thought there was a problem,” he says.
There’s no set opening date for Margot yet. But (fingers crossed) the doors swinging open in November or December. Pedal boats will also be available to hire from the West Jetty annually from October until March.