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Charlotte Bar & Bistro

  • Restaurants
  • McMahons Point
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
  1. The dining room at Charlotte Bar and Bistro
    Photograph: Oba Yusuke
  2. One of the spaces at Charlotte Bar and Bistro
    Photograph: Oba Yusuke
  3. A waiter preparing the tartare at Charlotte Bar and Bistro
    Photograph: Oba Yusuke
  4. The dining room at Charlotte Bar and Bistro
    Photograph: Oba Yusuke
  5. Delicious meats and vegetables at Charlotte Bar and Bistro
    Photograph: Oba Yusuke
  6. Chef Hiroshi Manaka
    Photograph: Oba YusukeChef Hiroshi Manaka
  7. One of the desserts at Charlotte Bar and Bistro
    Photograph: Oba Yusuke
  8. Two team members looking at the wine at Charlotte Bar and Bistro
    Photograph: Oba Yusuke
  9. The floor team at Charlotte Bar and Bistro
    Photograph: Oba Yusuke

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

The north side has a French dreamboat dishing out butter and beauty in equal proportions

The thing about reputations is that they can be a double-edged butter knife. On the one hand, French food is widely understood as shorthand for romance, coming in second only to the city of love itself on the ‘high probability of engagement ring’ scale. This also means people tend to save the Champagne and roast duck for special occasions. But down in the genteel, leafy surrounds of McMahons Point there’s an elegant French bistro that’s making a compelling argument for adding a little Franco-flare to your more regular dining rotation.

Don’t get us wrong, dining at Charlotte Bar & Bistro still very much feels like a special (and rather extravagant) treat. To start with, when you book there’s the option to add a centrepiece to your meal in the form of boeuf en croute. The burnished bronze pastry case that hits the table is sliced up to reveal perfectly pink roast beef inside, flavoured with a king’s ransom of foie gras, mushroom and madeira. It’s nearly $300, but undeniably adds some razzle dazzle to your group dining adventures.

In fact, there’s not much on the menu here that isn’t designed to impress. They may have loosened the collar a little, opting for bare marble-top tables in place of starched white linens, but you’re very much in quiet luxury country here. The reminders are everywhere you look; in the rich timber panelling, the soft mid-century corners of the see-and-be-seen mirrors, the brass-lined archways and light fixtures set to a particularly flattering golden glow.

Make the most of the obliging sommelier and consider dabbling in the Coravin menu to get a cheeky glass of something that would normally sit in the “golden anniversary” price bracket by the bottle. The label may say Arbois savagnin from Jura, but what your tongue reads is hot sun on mountaintops and ripe peaches and almond groves.

If you’re a bit wary of the feistier end of the herbal liquor cabinet, a great introduction to green Chartreuse is the Monks and Mijos, a savoury refresher made with green capsicum mezcal, shiso and maraschino for sweet ballast. Want to drink a beer that’s revered like wine? They have a collection of Brasserie des Voirons brews from near the Swiss border that won’t leave you with much change from a hundred, but will give you a lot to think about if you like complex beverages.

The lion’s share of playfulness is contained to the snacks menu, where snails have been tucked into Japanese dumplings; and a little churros ring is accompanied by a whipped foie gras butter.

Entreés tread more familiar turf, with a tartare dressed at the table; a vegetable tart providing a rare protein reprieve; and tender little chicken ribs cleverly designed to emulate frogs’ legs in a sea of garlic butter sauce.

Mains get heartier still, and though you can absolutely order a two-person serve of the roast duck crown with mandarin and cashews, if you order the single serve you save space for the roasted snapper stuffed with a herb-flecked souffle and doused in a creamy bonne femme sauce. If you weren’t on the Heart Foundation’s watch list before this meal, you may need to self-exclude from butter for a while afterwards. Of course, it can wait until after a perfect little apple rose tart for dessert.

At these prices this isn’t a spontaneous Tuesday supper kind of place, and it’ll work out best if you see your plant-based pals another time. But if you’re a regular at the upper end of Sydney’s dining scene, you won’t necessarily require a major life event to justify a little French reverie here. The world could use a little more romance, and here they’re serving it up on a plate.


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Written by
Emily Lloyd-Tait


139 Blues Point Rd
McMahons Point
Opening hours:
Wed 6-10pm; Thu 6-11pm; Fri-Sat noon-3pm; 6-11pm; Sun noon-3pm, 6-10pm
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