Category Archives: Potts Point

The latest from the Bentley boys, Monopole

Taking over the former Sailor’s Thai space, Monopole is right at home in this trendy part of town. Dark, sleek and sexy, Monopole is located just down the road from hospitality heavy weights The Apollo and Gastro Park. The idea, according to Savage and Hildebrandt, was to open a wine bar and eatery where they could experiment with a “more casual concept”.

Monopole has been designed by Melbourne architect Pascal Gomes-McNabb

Monopole has been designed by Melbourne architect Pascal Gomes-McNabb

Monopole isn’t casual – it’s actually quite intimidating. Designed by Melbourne architect Pascal Gomes-McNabb, the dark and moody interior is dominated by a long bar that borders the open kitchen. Perch at the bar and get amongst the action as the bartenders sip, squeeze and shake their liquid concoctions before you. Order a charcuterie platter and watch as the cured meat is freshly sliced right before your eyes.

Salt cod, green peas, mint vinaigrette and pea shoots

Salt cod, green peas, mint vinaigrette and pea shoots

Despite the credentials of its owners and its terribly trendy location, Monopole is surprisingly unpretentious. There’s a liveliness about the restaurant that demands attention. And perhaps, gives the restaurant some leeway when it comes to the overpriced menu. The quality of the produce is all there – from the grilled scampi and roasted suckling pig to the Iggy’s bread and shaved heirloom vegetables –  but quantity, as well as robust flavours, are lacking.  However, the house cured and smoked duck breast and cured venison on the charcuterie platter are exceptional and make a visit to Monopole worth your while.

Anna Lisle

Read more about Monopole here

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Have you paid proper attention to Potts Point’s Concrete Blonde?

With the barrage of notices about new restaurants coming from all sides, sometimes a worthy older one slips through the cracks without proper attention. Hidden away from the hustle and bustle of Bayswater Road, Concrete Blonde is tucked inside an elegant little alcove of boutique shops and luxury apartments in Potts Point. Concrete Blonde feels less like a restaurant and more like a destination. It’s a lively, kinetic space with flames, water fountains and rotisserie grills. There is a floor-to-ceiling glass encased wine cellar and fluro-lit features while wrought iron drain pipes dramatically hang from the exposed concrete ceiling.

The impressive theatrical space of Concrete Blonde

The glamour, however, isn’t reserved soley for the decor. Head Chef Ian Oakes, together with General Manager Emmanuel Benardos, have created a restaurant that matches food with service. Ian and Emmanuel first worked together at The Grand National Restaurant in Paddington and their efforts were awarded with one chef hat for four consecutive years.

With Head Chef Ian Oakes

At Concrete Blonde, Ian has created a menu that reflects the diverse nature of our country –Asian, European, Mediterranean and Modern Australian — diners can take a quick trip across the globe. But this isn’t just any fusion food. It is food that has been so seamlessly combined that it feels as though it is a cuisine in itself. A fresh and balanced entree of seared scallops, truffle puree, celeriac and apple is an elegant reminder that food can indeed be art. The truffled puree has a subtle depth that, combined with the tartness of the Granny Smith apple slithers, compliments the mild sweetness of the scallops. There is always a reason why a dish is a signature dish, and Ian’s marinated baby tuna, crushed pea salad and goats curd is one of the best. While it may appear simple in nature, the combination of flavours, textures and quality of produce make this the restaurant’s stand out dish. Mains such as slow roasted Mirrool Creek lamb shoulder with garlic puree and Jerusalem artichoke and pan roast barramundi with crushed Dutch crème potatoes are the types of dishes that you would happily order over and over again.

Seared scallops, truffle puree, celeriac and apple

They say it takes two to tango and with Ian and Emmanuel at the helm, Concrete Blonde is in full swing. And, just a quick tip, make sure you pay a visit to the space-age bathrooms where “modern” would be a conservative adjective.

Anna Lisle

Read more about Concrete Blonde here

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Swish fish

Ah… so this is where the beautiful people go for fish and chips. But you won’t find anything wrapped in yesterdays Tele here. Attracting Potts Point-princesses and plenty of media heavy-weights, The Fish Shop is the latest venture from Jeremy Strode and Justin Hemmes.

The Hamptons-inspired design of The Fish Shop

The Fish Shop’s design has been inspired by seaside settings found in famous American favourites such as The Hamptons and Nantucket. Accordingly, fishing paraphernalia such as hooks, lures and buoys are scattered throughout the restaurant space while diners perch (no pun intended) on high wooden stools at tables titled “Barra” and “Abalone”. Seashells line the restaurant’s walls and staff strut around in blue and white striped Jean Paul Gaultier t-shirts. All in all, the fit out is kitsch and fun but it is hard to avoid the feeling that it is a little forced. Mind you, subtlety isn’t exactly a Merivale strong point.

While the decor is about as subtle as a slap in the face with a wet fish, the menu is multi-directional. If you hadn’t already guessed, seafood is the focus however dishes such as chicken and cabbage dim sim and Dan’s cheeseburger can be spotted on the menu. The end result, however, isn’t entirely disappointing. Cuttlefish with garlic, chilli and parsley is simple and full of flavour, while whole prawns are fresh and served with a top-notch smoked garlic aioli. Sending out that casual DIY vibe that maybe Jean Paul Gaultier uniforms don’t, cutlery is stored in Val Verde diced tomato tins on the tables, complete with a range of condiments including retro metal salt shakers and glass bottles of good-old Fountain tomato sauce.

If you’re looking for a Jeremy Strode-standard meal, book into Bistrode CBD however if food is more of an afterthought, head to The Fish Shop.

Anna Lisle

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Restaurant Review: Wilbur’s Place

Sydney’s recent casual dining trend is transforming fine-diners into bistros, degustations into simple a-la carte fare and bakers into restaurateurs. This is the case at hole-in-wall eatery, Wilbur’s Place in Potts Point.

Known as the Gods of artisanal baked goods, Paul Allam and David Mcguinness started Bourke Street Bakery in 2004. Today, queues continue to line the street at their original Surry Hills corner cafe – anxiously waiting to get their hands on of their famous strawberry and vanilla brulee tarts or a fresh-from-the-oven walnut sourdough. The popularity of Paul and David’s work has seen them open three more cafes across Sydney in Alexandria, Marrickville and Potts Point, all of which now also have a loyal following of customers.

The simple, industrial design

Wilbur’s Place is a little different. Much like it’s sister, Bourke Street Bakery Potts Point, located just around the corner on Macleay Street, the fit out is minimalistic. With wrought iron trimmings, an old school black and white menu board and exposed brick walls – the space screams of industrial chic. Old glass milk bottles serve as water caraffes and simple cedar wood communal tables try to offer as much seating in the small space. What Paul and David have clearly saved on the fit out, they make up for on the quality menu and reasonable prices.

The interior

The breakfast menu showcases some Bourke Street Bakery celebrities including their brioche bun, served with an exquisite twist of rhubarb custard. Staples such as museli and yoghurt and omelettes also get a mention. The standout is the croque Monsieur which is loaded full of melted gruyere and ham, with two slices of crunchy but moist sourdough slices. The Allpress coffee is rich and aromatic and comes out quickly – just what you need on a lazy Saturday morning.

Croque Monsieur

The lunch and dinner menu breaks into character with dishes such as salt cod fritters and lasagne of roast Japanese pumpkin. The duck leg with walnuts, Jerusalem artichchoke mash and goats cheese offers a more substantial option while a handful of lighter salads including warm porchetta and gravlax offer summer time options.

It’s cash only and corkage is $8 per bottle, Wilbur’s Place is great for a no-fuss mid week meal.

Anna Lisle

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Restaurant Review: Brass

When I saw the brand new Brass, I couldn’t help but smile. Despite a major design overhaul, the charming bright banana yellow exterior of former Yellow Bistro and Food Store remained. In an otherwise grey and white suburb, Brass, like Yellow before it, adds a touch of eccentric thrill.

The vibrant yellow exterior remains

Inside, however, the colour seems to stop. The theme is clean and bold with polished wooden floorboards, black bar stools and tables, and waxy beige walls. Lashings of reflective gold panels create atmosphere in the otherwise simple design. These glamorous panels also line an impressive bar set up – which dominates the restaurant space. The bar’s shelves are lined with bottles of wine while the counter boasts a range of house-made sweet goods including macaroons and pastry.

Seating is divided with the option to sit outside at a cute little porch on Maclay Street or inside, surrounded by huge rectangular angled mirrors. The mirrors are a great addition, creating an illusion of space in what would otherwise be a very close and intimate seating and table arrangement.

The Bistro bar

The hero at Brass is the food, and namely, executive Chef, Darren Taylor. After training at Troisgros – a 3 Michelin star restaurant in France, he then worked as Executive Chef at Kinselas, Bilson’s, Fine Bouche and Buon Riccordo. The menu is a mix of French and Italian delights – including roasted Thirlemere spitchcock, ocean trout croquettes, charcuterie and minute steak bordelaise. Each dish is simply presented, the salad of poached Atlantic salmon sits plumped on a well-dressed bed of spinach, rocket and plump cherry tomatoes. A smooth pesto adds a splash of colour to the dish and combines the simple flavours.

Poached Atlantic salmon, greens, pesto and cherry tomatoes

Gnocci is certainly not the most visually impressive dish however Darren’s tomato, buffalo mozzarella and parmesan version is appealing. The gnocci is moist and light but the buffalo mozzarella, – now that is the ingredient that speaks for the dish.

Anna Lisle

<b> DETAILS </b>
The Brass dining room is ideal for an intimate and sophisticated dinner however, the restaurant is also great as a takeaway cafe with a selection of sambos, salads and sweet treats. The choices change daily, according to the chalkboard next to the bar. The coffee is Single Origin and the pastries are all made in house.

Brass Bistro

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