Opened in 2018, Poly is tucked into the bottom corner of the Paramount Building in Surry
Hills, a wine bar sibling to Mat Lindsay’s iconic Chippendale restaurant, Ester. While the
underlying vibe is similar (woodfired oven, arches, elegant neutrals with a few pops of
colour), where Ester is light and airy, Poly is sexy and cool.
Semi-subterranean due to the slope of the block, with a vermiculite ceiling (for the purposes of sound-proofing as well as aesthetics) it feels like you’re in a very fancy parking garage. A combination of small, individual tables and communal-style long tables and an even longer bar can accommodate all configurations of guests, from solo diners through to large groups. But it doesn’t feel like you’re intruding on your neighbours, the staff, while incredibly
accommodating, aren’t trying to squish you in like sardines. The beautiful, brightly labelled
bottles of natural wine that line the walls are a focal point, and we could sit and stare at them all day.
If you want a snack, the infamous brick of fried hash potato with salted egg yolk and chives
is hard to go past (there’s always room for potato, after all), and, of course, oysters–natural
or “Paramount”; roasted with spinach and garlic–are the perfect mouthful. Add a deftly made
martini or a splash of something from sommelier (and part owner) Julien Dromgool’s concise
list of wines by the glass. Food wise, almost everything is a little on the heavy side, featuring
the smokey, fermented and umami flavours Linsday is well known for. This can feel very
decadent but you’re not eating here everyday so may as well just enjoy it. The Moreton Bay
Bug is a decidedly luxurious option. It’s presented simply, butterflied in a pool of fermented
hot sauce butter, with a large piece of lemon for squeezing (necessary). It’s not too oily, and
perfectly tender. Get the green salad for some freshness. Bitter lettuce and endive piled high with herbs and dressed with a zingy mustard dressing helps to assuage any food guilt.
The trick with really rich food, of course, is to order lightly and well, and the staff are very good at assisting with making sure you nail the quantity and balance. Top tip if you're eating alone: Most of the menu is available in half portions so it’s a great place to dine solo.
Alternatively, pop in for a late night drink and just dessert. The passion fruit sorbet is
startlingly sharp and perfectly smooth, with a dollop of amaretto cream for good measure.
Alongside, sip a beetroot, blood orange and tequila cocktail that tastes like it’s good for you.
Poly sees itself as a “barstaurant” so you don’t actually have to dine to drink. However, like a lot of Sydney hotspots, the clientele really decides what it is and Poly feels like it is treated as a restaurant. Besides, it’s always hard to turn down an oyster or two with aperitif. From Tuesday to Thursday you’d be safe to risk the walk-in, but if you’d like to make a reservation there is a minimum spend of $85 per person and a set menu for bookings of groups of 6 and above.