Bishop Sessa Bistro and Wine Bar in Surry Hills is the brainchild of Melburnian nose-to-tail chef Paul Cooper (Pied à Terre (London) The Botanical, The Provincial Hotel, O’Connells Hotel) and industry stalwart Erez Gordon (Jacques Reymond Restaurant, The Botanical, Mezzo (London)).

Both Cooper and Gordon have young families, so adding a young restaurant to the mix wasn’t necessarily in the plan, but they couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take up residence in one of Crown Street’s most iconic sites – the old home of the well-loved French restaurant, Tabou.

Bishop Sessa takes a more casual approach to modern European dining than its predecessor and is focused on local, sustainable produce wherever possible.

BS - 1165



Paul Cooper grew up in the Mornington Peninsula region of Victoria and his first hospitality experience was as a waiter at a local restaurant, where he met his now wife, Jaclyn. He soon moved into the kitchen and made his way through the ranks, finally moving to Melbourne to work at Matteo’s and then Bistrot d’Orsay.

Looking for broader experience, the pair headed overseas, travelling through Spain, Italy, France and the UK. Paul worked at several high-profile restaurants including Tom Aikens and Foliage at the Mandarin Oriental (both 1 Michelin Star) and ABaC in Spain (2 Michelin stars), finally landing at Pied à Terre Restaurant, London (2 Michelin stars) for two years working with Shane Osborn. Paul’s experience at Pied à Terre saw him start out working with pastry and bread, and accordingly his desserts and breads are of an outstanding standard. Everything served at Bishop Sessa is made on the premises

When Paul returned to Australia he worked with The Botanical, The Provincial Hotel and O’Connells Hotel before moving to Sydney to start Bishop Sessa with Erez Gordon.

Cooper’s experience at Michelin starred and hatted restaurants has gifted him a sophisticated suite of techniques, whilst his passion for accessible, interesting food and sustainable produce ensures his dishes are attractive to a broad range of diners.

Paul and Jaclyn have a daughter, Madison and a son Riley

20140821 - Bishop Cessa0089



Erez Gordon took an unlikely path into hospitality. Starting out at a rough pub making its way to gentrification, Erez was the security guard who explained to the regulars that their old pub had changed. There were knives, a few fights and a gun, but eventually the regulars moved on and Erez moved from the door to behind the bar.

It was a niche that suited him well and when he travelled to London, he ended up behind an entirely different kind of bar consoling celebrities moved on from their tables at the famous Mezzo, a restaurant so busy that no matter who you were, there were two sittings for each table. Returning home, Erez put his resume under two doors, and eventually became the maitre’ d of Jacques Reymond Restaurant and then general manager of The Botanical. After many years as a restaurant consultant, Erez and his family moved to Sydney.

20140821 - Bishop Cessa0167

About Bishop Sessa

Bishop Sessa – the man, the myth*

Bishop Sessa was a 15th century small town church figure in Italy with a love of food, wine and games in equal measures.

Bishop Sessa’s infatuation with eating and drinking was matched only by his reverence for games, in particular chess and his dedication to the spiritual and physical welfare of his congregation.

For decades the Bishop kept his churchgoers safe from the blood-feud politics of medieval Italy with a combination of political strategy, bartering and religious threats.

When not deeply entrenched in a religious tract Sessa would keep his mind and wit sharp by playing highly strategic games such as chess.

Legend has it Bishop Sessa (BS) once fasted for a week before playing a game of chess with an acolyte. During the fast BS personally carved the game pieces from a local hard cheese. Neither man was permitted to eat until his gamesmanship had provided him with a hard won piece. BS insisted the denial and subsequent game sharpened his mind while strengthening his faith and resolve through adversity and self-denial. There is no record of who won but by all accounts the Bishop was a master.

An avid fan of the local grapes BS made the sacramental wine for his small congregation plus a little extra for his own dinner table from vines grown on a small dusty slope behind the chapel. He could often be found tending his vineyard with an exactitude bordering on the spiritual and in the heavy-handed game of small town 15th century politics his adherence to winemaking principles was offered as an example of his lack of faith and application to the word of god. Nevertheless he never allowed his detractors to interfere with what he referred to in his diaries as “the Lord’s other work”.

Bishop Sessa’s generosity was also legendary. Gifts of fresh meat, fruit and vegetables given to him by grateful churchgoers often found their way into the houses of the poor with the only indication of their provenance being a small chess-board bishop carved from Parmesan left along with the other foodstuffs.

BS died in curious circumstances. He was last seen by passing townsfolk on a clear winter’s day pruning the vines in the chapel vineyard. He failed to return for the evening meal and although his congregation searched for days neither he nor his body was ever found. This has encouraged many to suggest this is proof of his deserved sainthood but to date The Vatican has not seen fit to recommend him for beatification.

*All names and facts in this account have been changed to protect the guilty.


Book Now

join our mailing list today

powered by Facebook
Heather Birch
Craig Bonney
We had a wonderful evening here with relatives visiting from Cairns - affordable, delicious food with exceptional service ... STUNNING!!!
Paula Honeyman
Ate, laughed, talked and drank on New Years Eve at Bishop Sessa for the second year. Embarking to 2018 with beautiful food, well matched wine and helpful service was a great way to start. Thankyou for helping us create a family memory with a fabulous dining experience .
Alex Iljin
Sarah Elizabeth
Consistently fantastic food, fabulous service. The real deal!
Angela Bugarski
I absolutely love the food, it's so tasty and differant to your food in lots of restaurants, and their wine cellar is amazing, will be comming back when I visit Sydney again �
Brendan Docherty
Amazing food. The bread and Chefs appetiser is always awesome. Great attentive staff who leave you to enjoy your chats and meals. Great wine list which are usually very tasty (just a little expensive for middle of the road wines)
Kate Elizabeth
Perfect for our anniversary! The food and service is incredible!
Kylie Sharp Michell
Love Bishop Sessa! Great food, great service 👍
Axel Peeck
We have been here a few times and the food was, as always, awesome. The new menu is spectacular and a bit different. You have to try it. Great matching wines and the service super friendly as always. Love this place
Alex Salamakha
Visited the restaurant with a group of friends. Impressive wine list, well presented and tasty food, great service. Definitely will be back
Sammie Bennett
Liv Mac
Exceptional value and impeccable food. Have had many special nights as well as more casual dinner at the Bishop!
Christopher Ferro
Peta Tumpey
Mark Gorton
Constantine Karteris
Overall a hand to mouth delight. Ambieance is the kicker.
Katia Todeschini-Martin
Amazing food, incredible wine, outstanding service, all for a great price! I've been to excellent (also famous and expensive) restaurants in and outside of Australia, and honestly Bishop Sessa is up there in the top 5!! Maybe even top 3!! We had the 6 course degustation with matching wines, every single dish was to die for. My highlights are the king fish ceviche and the duck lasagne. Incredible! Would go back again tomorrow and the next day! :)
Jackie Furby
Kristel Särak
George Mateski
Took wife for her birthday and we absolutely loved it had the degustation menu everything was 5*
Matthew Fleming
Great food and super friendly team.................
Martin Begg
Wow. Loved It. The Food is Exceptional. Service is Wonderful. A Great Night Out.
Will Ang
Good Service all the time and great food! Our 3rd visit and its always a pleasant experience-we'll be back again!
Jemma Myors
Thomas Cooke
Juliette Overland
Scott Emerson
Maybe my 6th time to this amazing place. 7 course degustation this time and truly amazing.
Chay B Rox
Fantastic food & service, inventive cocktail menu as well �
Joshua Martin
Awesome food every time. Great flavors and friendly service.
Joy Davies
Beautiful lunch, great wine choices and excellent service
Francesca Bartuccio
Sensational food, service & atmosphere with a smile, a must dining destination our 2nd time here...we will be back
Sara Eugenia
Great service, food was amazing, Tuesday/Wednesday special excellent value
Paul McJannet
Mark Stanley
We had the degustation with matched wines, with a group of 10 for a birthday. The service, food, and atmosphere was fantastic. Everybody loved their dishes, full of flavour and a nice twist on traditional dishes.
Debbie Spence
Susanne Petersen Edwards
Throughly enjoyed the experience 👌 The Tuesday/Wednesday special was fantastic 💕
Aleisha McCall
Beautiful spot for dinner. Incredible food and dessert is a must try!
Mansour Soltani
Awesome food, one of crown street's hidden gems. Must go back
Evelyn Gardis
Restaurant lived up to our expectations. Excellent food and service. Great place, well presented and relaxed atmosphere thoroughly enjoyed the evening. Definitely worth going to.
Barry Mealia
Deb Turney
Went to.a workshop here and we had set menu....but the food was impressive....staff and service excellent....and great wine list....would come back...
Shay Lee
The degustation menu is amazing and the wait staff are very friendly and attentive
Josh Williams
Nothing to fault with this restaurant. Food and service was excellent. Well done guys definately coming back again and reccomending to friends and family 😀
Alexandra Robinson
The food is incredible �� the staff are knowledgeable
Caio Ayala
Madhya Chandra Karmacharya
Tiffany Bremmell
Delicious, lovely service, highly recommended! Don't 2nd guess getting the chocolate tart �
Alison Barry
Brilliant place for dinner. The staff are absolutely lovely and attentive. The food is very good value, and beautiful quality, presentation and flavours. Highly recommend
Timothy Nicholls
Rena Abe
This is my forth time. I love wine paring course menu. For this time, I thought that dolce was a bit too rich and could not finish them all. (After all the meat dish, I think I'd prefer fresh gelato with sherry or espresso with chocolate cake without peanut butter ice cream...) But we had a good time.
Leigh Jackson
Class from aperitif to dessert. A really special place to dine. Will definitely be back.
Yuri Cherniavsky
Good was interesting and innovative. Wine offered with set menu: Tasmanian Pinot Gregio and French Sec were not good match and mediocre
Mitchell Saunders
Joei Corpuz
Kim Maree
Michael Sideris
We had our work Xmas party there over th weekend, as always the food was first class with the service to match!! Erez is a first class operator and he knows how to give the rock star treatment to every single one of his guests. Can't wait to go back again and again!! I recommend the Bishop highly to everyone, an experience that must be had.
Liam Walsh
It's outstanding. Flavours are incredible. They know how to cook.
Will Hayes
Karen Mclaughlan
Stephen Dunn
Jason Cooley
Everything was on point! Service, atmosphere and food were all amazing.
Alexie Lexie
I've visited Bishop Sessa twice this year and whether you come for dinner or for dessert the food is always great.
Amee Boyce
Beautiful food and wine! Had a wonderful time with my family dining here last night, food and service exceptional. Will be back for sure!
Bridget Devlin
This restaurant does a wonderful degustation menu that is well balanced in flavours, portion size and timing, coupled with great service. Highly recommend for a special occasion -highlights include the scallop ceviche sorbet, the duck and the pre-dessert! The Alacarte is also good if you aren't in it for the long haul. Comprehensive wine list.
Rie Ocampo
Had an amazing dinner here! Definitely will come back to Sydney for this!!
Ausberto Ocampo
Chris Kremastos
Great atmosphere, starting at the wine bar set the path for a fine meal and night
David Taylor
Fantastic food. A surprise at each course with delicious between-course morsels to keep you topped up. Good choice of wines
Bernadette Keeffe
Beautiful, creative food and wonderful service. I have been coming here for more than five years and the team at Bishop Sessa never fail to make my guests and I feel special.
Marie Sharp
Bishop sessa is one of my favorite restaurants in surry hills.
Katrina Anne
Janet Hall
Love, love, love this restaurant. Beautiful, creative food. Degustations to die for. This is truly one of Sydney's hidden gems!
Christine Toohey
Excellent food we love the degustation menu also reasonably priced. Wine list is comprehensive but not pretentious. All the staff are attentive, respectful and efficient. Highly recommend for groups and romantic lunches. Toilet is on first floor up tight staircase so couldn't recommend for disabled.
Stephen Sander
We visited Bishop Sessa twice now. First on a date night, and we had such a great time we returned with a large table of friends to try their degustation menu. Both visits were an unqualified success. On our date night we ordered from the menu and every dish was flawless, with the charcuterie board for two an absolute stand out, and the duck breast was simply divine with its crispy skin and juicy, tender meat. The degustation menu was also a stand out – we are still getting compliments from our friends for taking them to Bishop Sessa.
Emily Yeung
Diane Yanire
Dear Bishop Sessa team, we came on Friday night (group of 7) for the degustation menu. Each course was fantastic with delicious balanced matching wines. The staff was knowledgeable and friendly. It was great value for money. Thank you for the birthday attention that you did for our friend when you served the dessert. We will come back for sure and spread the word about your wonderful restaurant. We had such a great time that we were the last ones to leave!
Sophie Carroll
So delicious!! The kitchen accommodated a pescaterian on our table in the degustation. Each course was a knockout dish and the wines really interesting and varied! Wait staff so lovely and attentive! Somehow walked out after 9 courses!
Maria Toktor
Amilia Samdani
Amazing food, awesome staff and service! Hubby and I had the degustation menu, I had advised them I am pregnant everything was well cooked and prepared for me! 10/10 for sure
Niel Isdale
Amanda Stevens
Kim Lyn
Been here a few times actually, but visited last night after a long while. Food was still phenomenal as the last visit, and kudos to the friendly staff that accommodated a little 8 month old princess. Not sure if babies come in a lot, but she certainly loved the duck fat chips! My girl friends loved the wagyu! Also, pate on the charcuterie board was a stand out.
Glenys Purcell
My daughter and son in law took us there for a degustation meal and we loved every mouthful of food we had. Have talked about the wonderful experience we had there. We are from Melbourne. Great service as well :)
Virginia Shaw
Wonderful degustation menu with matching wines, amazing service and caring front of house team, thank you.
Andrew Broughan
We did the degustation, it really makes for a wonderful experience when The food is amazing and they match up brilliantly with delicious and balanced wines. Thanks Erez, we'll be back
Kylie Jane Guarino
Fantastic! The only disappointment was my entree-I picked the wrong thing but I know for next time :)
Dominic Gibson
See my comments punters, lunchers & assorted christian debauchers....
Spiro Doukakis
Great food creations! Friendly service staff Good value
Jacqui Bonner
Thank you so much for a great night at your Autumn Dinner. Food wine service and atmosphere where all amazing! Esp loved the mushroom dish. Will be back!
Tegan Brusentsev
Surry Hills has lots of great places to eat and this is certainly one of the best. The food, staff & ambiance are all spot on, feel so lucky to have such a great restaurant within walking distance!!
Robert J Liong
Great modern Australian food in comfortable surrounds
Marianne Fessl
Scott Sam
Went to sydney specifically for this culinary experience and it did not let us down. Chef paul cooper provides a flavour and dining horripilation that makes every dish complimentary and discrete from course to course. The wine list is prodigious with many offered from around world as well as indigenous and australian varieties. All of these have been specifically selected to compliment the delectable menu. The service is nothing short of exemplary with humour thrown in to make the sophisticated dining experience more light hearted and fun. Do yourself a favour, leave the children at home put aside an evening and immerse yourself in the culinary experience that is bishop sessa. The best food I have ever had!
Liam Cooke
Tim Mitchell
Robyn Mann
Absolutely divine! Well done to chef and staff!!! Love,Love.Love
Evita Burns
Took my sister here tonight for her birthday. Beautiful food and service, definitely coming back!
Linh My Quach
Nick Sowden
This is seriously (without being serious) the best restaurant in Sydney if you love food. Between Chef Paul Cooper and Erez Gordon we have been provided amazing evenings on all of the five times we have eaten here - I ❤️Duck & Pinot being the favourite - give them a call and get in there for either one of there 'themed' nights or just a (not so) standard dinner. You will enjoy!
Gokul Sundararajan
Ate here tonight for dinner. My god! The pan fried gnocchi was amazing. Great service too.
Evan Harrison
Alexandra von Rabenau
Georgia Contos
Amazing food, really innovative & fresh ideas. The deserts were the highlight. Yummy!!!
Sean Bakes
Best place I have been in years.
Jonny Whitehead
Debbie Mullett
Nicole Ivancev
Finally managed to get myself into this friendly joint to enjoy one of the most perfectly cooked Aylesbury duck breasts I've ever consumed! The ingredients in ALL dishes are supremely selected. I made my booking by inboxing their FB with an immediate reply and happy to accommodate. Highly recommended. Happy days
Greg Masters
Shane Goulden
Keroshin Govender
Annie Braendle
One of the best restaurants I have been to in Sydney, loved the degustation menu. Will be back to eat my favourites again;)
George Woodyard
Kimberley Groves
Jelena Dermisek
I had my hens night at Bishop Sessa last weekend and it was absolutely divine! The evening was perfect from the moment I walked in to the end :) The restaurant organised a set menu for us with a variety of choices for each course to cater for 20 girls. The staff were very attentive and polite, the ambience was beautiful and the food was delicious! Highly recommend :)
Sabakat Shams
Tim Allan
Kat Cook-Pearce
Carrot dessert = amazing!!! Also the pork was cooked wonderfully...
Bessa Boo
Had the most incredible dinner last night! (Maybe a little bias) the service was great, the drinks where incredible (try the 'Agro-Bianco'... It was orgasmic) and the FOOD!!!! Let's just say my husband was happy to leave this world after eating the pork.... Well done team! Thanks so very much for yet another gorgeous meal from Chef Paul Cooper, Miss Briony Bradford and the crew!
Vida Scott
Vikash Balgobind
Rory Flynn
We went twice in a month. Heading back soon. Beautiful food and wonderful service.
Nanching Lee
Fetima Faffy
Melissa Peeck
Jessica de Vries
My new favourite! Perfect food, wine and service. I haven't stopped talking about it and have made plans to return. Staff = brilliant!
Ie Wen Lie
Jackie McMillan
Nathan Burnham
Kate Velez
Ranee Monaghan
Cameron Harris
Georgina O'Brien
Dean Taylor
Neil Rafael Sansone
Raina May Davies
Angela Zupan
Clint Musgrave
Mick Chessari
Colin Sizer
Wilson Lin
Theo Kailis
Jessica Melky-Macnamara
Tempest Waters
Love it. Do yourself a favour and eat there. Great service, fabulous food.
Karen Robinson
Xtina Linning
In total L❤️VE with this joint. Service + food + atmosphere = a dining delight..... Cocktails are delicious too
Maria Villon
Matt Cook
Justine Schafer
Green Light
Natira Drayton
Thank you Bishop Sessa team for hosting my husbands 40th birthday dinner. The 6 course degustation was impeccable and the wines well matched to each course. The staff had just the right balance of availability when you needed them and obsequiousness when you didn't - nothing was too much trouble. We definitely plan to come back!
Andy Irving
Denny Luong
Jane Lu
Chris Chapman
Patrick Scott
Zeynep Ballı Külle
Tiffany Ng
Sam Webster
Asa Bricknell
Next Reviews
Andy Coruzzi
00:01 19 Feb 18
A guardian of character and an ordained member of ambience. I have visited Bishop Sessa several times over the past few years, and have always held it in high regard. We visited again a few nights ago and were relieved more than anything, that a restaurant we had loved, was still alive, kicking and full of vim and vigour. Bishop's ambience is reminiscent of our days wandering the streets of Paris, finding unique dining experiences with a buzz in the air and a wonderful atmosphere. I would highly recommend for a reasonably priced, finer dining experience. My only sour point was that one of our waitresses was a little on the chilly side. The other was great.
Sami Goldstein
04:55 14 Jan 18
This is my favourite restaurant in Sydney. The food is amazing and the cocktails are dangerous. The staff here are incredible. They know their wine list sooo well. I recommend coming on Tuesdays or Wednesday for the 3 course for 50 dollars. Such good value.
See All Reviews Write a review

The best value early week dining in Sydney

The best value early week dining in Sydney

Offered all day Tuesday & Wednesday as well as Saturday lunchtime the Menu 49 concept is simple. Order any 3 courses from our regular a la carte menu (entree/main course/dessert) for only $49 per person.