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Former Mansion chef dreams up gold-plated French restaurant for downtown Dallas

Former Mansion chef dreams up gold-plated French restaurant for Dallas

Chef Bruno Davaillon from Rosewood Manion on Turtle Creek
Bruno Davaillon's new restaurant Bullion is set to debut in spring 2017. Photo courtesy of Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek

The new Bruno restaurant won't open until April 2017, but details about the menu and décor have been released from on high. The restaurant is called Bullion, and "Bruno" is Bruno Davaillon, former chef at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, who is opening an eatery at 400 S. Record St. in downtown Dallas, in the former Belo Building.

Davaillon left the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek in November 2015, after six years as its executive chef. The 400 S. Record St. building is a 17-story, 235,000-square-foot office tower located at the corner of Wood and Record streets that's being given a massive upgrade by the Hartland-Mackie family, with a new lobby, sky garden, fitness center, and conference center.

Davaillon has an entire rationale on the name Bullion, beginning with gold bullion, which comes from the French Minister of Finance under Louis XIII, Claude de Bullion. Bruno is French. Also, the Latin origin of "to boil" is "bullīre."

According to a release, Bullion hinges on three key ideas: Firstly, to create an elegant yet casual fine dining restaurant, which has the ambience, buzz, and feel of a brasserie, and reflects Davaillon's contemporary French cooking. Davaillon feels this is a culinary style missing from the Dallas restaurant scene.

But it will be French cuisine realized through his eyes. This is about Bruno, people. That means revisiting the classics in a lighter manner, making the ingredients stand out, and having guests enjoy French food the way Bruno would eat it.

There'll be gougeres with Gruyere and truffle salt. Escargots beignets with green garlic aioli. Salmon rillettes with horseradish and warm scallion bread. There'll be crispy morcilla and onion tart with pickled mustard seed, braised rabbit torte à la royale, salt-baked celeriac, potted duck confit with foie gras and passion fruit gelée, and Dover sole Meuniere with confit potato and warm gribiche sauce.

Secondly comes the connection between Bullion and its antecedent state, gold, and that includes a leitmotif from which the design is centered. The visual experience will begin with guests entering and ascending the staircase to a bar and lounge area, with 28 seats, plus eight at the bar itself. The bar will have a highly decorative aesthetic, bursting with details that include a lozenged patterned floor in dark timber, a decorated silk rug, and seats in blue and gold. The bar will have a high-gloss wood top and woven-leather front.

Thirdly, there'll be contemporary design that harks back both to Dallas' history and to the glamor of the midcentury period. That sounds challenging, but the release says that it has been achieved by designing furniture in modernist and playful shapes, and by the finishes of the walls, floor, and bar in deep and luxurious materials.

For Bullion, Davaillon is partnered with the Hartland-Mackie family of City Electric Supply, who will be moving their business to the building, which will also house other tenants. Thomas Hartland-Mackie became acquainted with Davaillon at the Mansion.

"I loved the food he prepared at the Mansion, and I have the utmost belief that the restaurant will enhance the amenities offered in the building to our tenants, be a great destination for Dallas residents, and create a national buzz for culinary excellence," Hartland-Mackie says.

The restaurant will debut alongside the building's opening in April 2017.