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  • Elizabeth Bay
  1. A seafood platter on a marble bench
    Photograph: Supplied
  2. Rectangles of kingfish and charred citrus
    Photograph: Supplied
  3. A small sandwich
    Photograph: Supplied
  4. A fish sandwich with tiny slices of gherkin
    Photograph: Supplied
  5. A dessert with coinelle of icecream
    Photograph: Supplied
  6. Steak with charred chilis
    Photograph: Supplied
  7. tomato salad
    Photograph: Supplied
  8. Sardine on toast
    Photograph: Supplied

Time Out says

An exciting visit to Catalonia has arrived in Potts Point by the culinary creatives behind Franca

Sitting quietly on Potts Point's main drink-and-dine artery, Macleay Street, is an unassuming glass shopfront. Sheer, floor-to-ceiling drapes veil the interior from the footpath, but tease passersby just a little emitting a warm, ambient glow. You wouldn’t immediately think this façade sneakily harboured one of the ritziest celebrations of Catalonian cuisine this city has ever seen, but it does.

In the latest venture from Sydney restaurateur Andrew Becher, opulent Potts Point brasserie, Franca, now has a sister (and next door neighbour) in Mediterranean fine-diner, Parlar. With an ultra-luxe fitout featuring sleek European oak joinery, plush velvet upholstery in autumnal hues and Alex Calder tapestries circa 1975, it’s retro done with wanton abandon.

Once seated by a charming and besuited front-of-house member, why not indulge in one of their signature Còctels? The Catalan Sour compromises Tanqueray gin, shaken with apple and jalapeño syrup, elderflower, fresh cucumber, lemon and espelette pepper. It’s fresh, smoky and delightfully frothy. ​​Salut i força al canut! 

Now, you simply must try the tapas, preferably with a glass of organic, biodynamic Parés Baltà cava to hand. The bacalao croquette with sturgeon caviar, Olasagasti anchovy churro with crème fraîche and gilda toasts are all exceedingly good, but the absolute standout is the morcilla sandwich with allioli. It is imperative you leave any preconceived bias you may have toward blood sausage at the door it’s a menu must-have. 

Manchego stracciatella with heirloom tomatoes and hazelnuts is a classic case of simple ingredients, executed well: soft, scoopable cheese with beautifully tart local produce, and nutty textural elements. Wagyu rump cap carpaccio with bonito allioli and fried bread croutons is a Catalan take on the Piedmontese ‘Vitello Tonnato’, topped with tiny capers and little pickled peppers. Both dishes are delicious though in our opinion, would greatly benefit from a thin crisp of some sort, to transport from plate to palate.

With tapas and compartir (‘to share’) courses devoured, ‘a continuar’ onto mains. Bonito with espinacas a la Catalana is frankly, incredible. Meticulously plated, a perfect, narrow Spanish mackerel fillet is garnished with jewel-like slivers of fresh red grapes, served atop a bed of sautéed greens and shards of toasted, golden almonds. The dish is dressed table-side with impressive flair, as a smooth, pristine ajo blanco is poured from great heights with a gracefully slight flick of the wrist.

Wagyu flank steak with eggplant, guindilla and Pedro Ximenez is oh-so-sublime. Cooked to absolute perfection, faultlessly seasoned and expertly married with a sweet, dark sherry sauce. Accompanied with the patatas bravas gratin – tender little cubes of potato smothered and baked in a gooey, smoked manchego cheese sauce – it makes for a transcendental finale. 

It would actually be rather rude to transport oneself to Catalonia for the night, and not try the crema Catalana, though. The French will try to take the credit for this allegedly ‘stolen’ crème brûlée, however anecdotal evidence suggests that the burnt Catalan custard predates the French version. Parlar’s take on this hotly contested dessert has it lie in wait beneath a perfect disc of caramelised white chocolate, which has been cleverly swirled to match the pale yellow marble tabletops. 

After a good-natured squabble with your dinner date over who gets the honour of smashing through the chocolate layer with a spoon, discover the smooth, silky custard beneath. Then why not close the night with a cheeky nip of housemade digestif, a refreshingly sweet-but-bracing Valèncian orange curacao?

Intimate, stylish, sexy – prime date-night territory – Parlar, t’estimo! 

Carly Sophia
Written by
Carly Sophia


Macleay Street
Potts Point
Opening hours:
Tue-Sat, 5pm-midnight; Fri-Sat, noon-2pm
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