[CLOSED] There are two things people are going to be thinking when you are legendary chef Neil Perry’s daughter and you decide to open a restaurant. One – that you’ve got a massive head start, because people are going to come to your restaurant because of your dad. And two – they will come, but they’re expecting mammoth things; your diners are expecting Rockpool, you’re only 21 years old, and this is your first restaurant. Gulp.
So goes the story of Josephine Perry, who has recently opened French restaurant Missy French in 2015’s restaurant hotspot, Potts Point. Despite boasting the same designer as Rockpool, Grant Cheyne, the restaurant feels lighter, younger, and dare we say it, more feminine. Situated in a beautiful old terrace building, the interior is a soothing palette of whites, greys and plush textures. My dining companion describes it as “a bit Christmassy”, and the girl’s got a point – it envelops you in a pristine, sparkly little world.
In that vein, you may as well go all out and order an excellent aperitif Dubonnet cocktail to kick things off – its heady with gin, lightly scented with orange bitters and happens to be Queen Elizabeth’s favourite tipple, so they say. Sipping on this while chewing on an Iggy’s bread roll, which are hot, bouncy-soft and totally amazing, landing on the table with peppery olive oil whipped with butter, you’ll feel settled in in no time.
In the kitchen is another Rockpool alumnus, Chris Benedet, with Perry on front of house. Our first dish is a goat’s curd salad – apparently, anyway, because it turns out not to be a salad at all, but crackers with toppings. (Why not just call it ‘goat’s curd crackers’?) But it tastes lovely; the crackers, made from a potato and egg white emulsion, are breakingly delicate, and are topped with thin shavings of raw pink and yellow beetroot with little blobs of goat’s curd, finely sliced buttered leeks, honey and smoky leek ash strewn over the top. It’s simple fare made fancy.
The next starter is, frankly, confusing. Although we order the game terrine, what arrives does so without a word, and it isn’t the one listed on the menu: it’s chicken, quail and pork. It’s odd that a restaurant runs out of one of its starters on a Tuesday night at the beginning of service, but even odder that they don’t mention the fact when they serve a different dish in its place. Regardless, it’s a lovely terrine – wodges of chicken and quail pressed together are delicate in flavour (although seasoning could be upped), wrapped in pork and served with little slivers of housemade pickles and slices of toasty Iggy’s bread.
A main dish of barramundi Grenobloise makes us forget these transgressions immediately though, because it is glorious. The fish is perfectly cooked – lightly caramelised on the outside and meltingly tender within – and topped with burnt butter, salted anchovies, capers, green olives and a rich, crunchy crumb. Get the silky, buttery pomme purée to go alongside and have yourself a little plate of perfection.
Don’t be fooled by the fancy French name: the pork pithivier is just a pie. But it’s a bloody good one: the puff pastry casing is buttery and evenly layered; the pork filling is shreddy and tender; the crushed peas on which it rests add sweetness, and the jus, poured at the table, has all the umami undertones you want, without overwhelming the other elements.
For dessert, the crème brûlée is served in the proper French style: thin and wide and deeply eggy with a thin-as-ice crust of caramelised sugar. It’s topped with popcorn ice cream and caramel popcorn, which makes it feel younger, more joyous, and somehow more ‘Sydney’. The chocolate fondant collapses satisfyingly onto the plate as you cut into it, and is served with tart yogurt ice cream, chocolate crumble and fresh, sweet raspberries.
But we need to take a moment to talk about the wine list, which is truly excellent. Seeing as it was written by Rockpool Bar & Grill’s expert sommelier Richard Healy, that’s no surprise. It’s a healthy mix of natural, old and new world wines, including Frederick Stevenson’s minimal intervention Barossa Grenache which is cinnamon-toned and lightly fizzy, and the Petit Chablis from Burgundy that we are recommended is a bloody brilliant drop – hints of vanilla and silky smooth.
Some might say Miss Perry is leaning on her dad’s empire rather a lot with this restaurant, but we say ‘why the hell shouldn’t she?’ She has access to some of the best produce, staff and industry in Sydney; she’d be a fool not to capitalise on that. There are issues though; wobbly tables and the (albeit beautiful) banquette seats are situated too low to the ground, meaning you’re sitting considerably – jarringly – lower than your companion. But the food is good; at times, it’s even great. And for a first restaurant, it’s pretty bloody sensational, actually.
More of Sydney's best French restaurants.
|Venue name:||Missy French|
22 Rockwall Crescent
|Opening hours:||Mon-Thu 6pm-12am; Fri-Sun 12-3pm and 6pm-12am|