Ed, how did Poho Flowers get its start?
I bought Poho three years ago. It's an established business that's been around for years, but it's had a few lives. Co-owner Dan [Scala] and I now are taking it into that next phase. We have the same product to a certain extent – we work with the same materials. So it’s how you package them and deliver them, all those little extra things, that we're working on. We've just re-shot our entire website and have a whole new look and feel... new bags, for example.
Like a brand refresh? What else is in the pipeline for your local business? Complementary products. At the moment our candles are Australian made. We're looking to partner with another local brand in the near future. Our chocolates are made, like, 300 metres down the road at Kakawa. They’re all handmade on-site and really beautiful.
Do you work with native or imported flowers?
We’re very lucky in Sydney that the climate is ideal for so many things. Probably 80 per cent of our stuff is grown locally. The only imported things we buy are roses, orchids and anthuriums.
And, the obvious reasons aside, why shop small and local in Potts Point?
Five or seven years ago, people probably would have said retail was on the way out, but I think retail is bigger and better than ever. Particularly for us. We’re in a unique position in the most densely populated suburb in the country, though it definitely has a village feel – people like to support local business here. We’ll go to the market and buy specifically for customers without an order. We know what they like, if they come in we'll say ‘We saw this and bought it for you. If you want it, it’s yours.’ I don’t think you can get that from, say, a Woolworths. Flowers are a luxury item, so people want to come in and watch them be wrapped and put together beautifully.
Where do you like to eat out locally?
Primary Coffee Roasters is a favourite of ours and Room Ten is awesome as well. We go to Fratelli Paradiso, down the road, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are some great local specialty stores, too, like Macleay on Manning and Becker Minty. Both of those shops are great supporters of us, so if they’re doing installations they'll come to us for flowers. We joke that you can’t walk down the street without saying hello to ten people.
Where do you stop for a drink after work?
Monopole for a cocktail. Even Yellow, their sister restaurant. Dear Sainte Éloise across the way from here is a good restaurant with a cool [wine] bar. When we finish work and we're sitting having a drink at Dear Sainte Éloise looking out at the laneway we joke that it’s basically like dinner and a show because you literally have people of all stripes walking by.
How has the neighbourhood changed since you guys set up shop?
I think probably from the [El Alamein Memorial] fountain down, the retail landscape has evolved a little bit and a few newish places complement what other people do. I think as the Cross transitions to a more residential area, it will undoubtedly have a positive impact on us.
What do you like about working in Potts Point?
The community aspect. For example, we’ve got one really nice customer who bakes muffins for us. She’ll come up in the morning with a huge tray of them! And another local, a lady who owns a real estate company, she brings the girls [in the shop] croissants and pastries. People will randomly drop in a cake, especially when they know it’s someone’s birthday. It's very much like everyone talks to and looks after each other.
If Potts Point had a flower what would it be?
From a sales point of view, probably the biggest would be hydrangea. We could sell hydrangea for days. It just walks out of the shop.
Ed and Dan's guide to Potts Point
This Potts Point café is big on pared back interiors, good coffee and friendly service. They'll do you a solid cold drip, a velvety smooth cap or a milky iced latte. Kick back on the blonde wooden bench and enjoy one with a croissant to kick-start your ay on a positive note. You'll also find KeepCups for sale, native floral displays and take-home beans.
Florists Ed West and Dan Scala took over the Potts Point flower shop around three years ago. They’ve kept the sophisticated operation packed into an elegant blue Art Deco building, arranging bunches of native flowers, or imported roses, orchids and anthuriums to order. They offer other gifts, too, such as Australian made candles and very locally made (300 metres away) Kakawa chocolates.
The Potts Point restaurant that boasts a full house rain, hail or shine, has excellent service and a super-interesting wine list. Risotto all’Ametriciana sees pearly, round little grains of rice cooked al dente with a chilli, fresh marjoram, fine shavings of Parmesan and thin stubs of pancetta, spread out in a thin layer over a shallow dish.
This Llankelly Place coffee spot does healthful breakfast bowls, super shots of espresso and simple brunch dishes. Take up shop inside with a freshly baked sweet treat, or grab a seat outside and watch the people of Potts Point pass by. At lunch they will do you up a sandwich or toastie, including eight hour slow cooked beef brisket with onion jam, cabbage slaw, pickles, rocket and mustard.
Who doesn't love the ‘dandelion’? It’s a simple idea beautifully realised, and an oasis of calm. Bob Woodward's modernist sculpture was installed to commemorate the Australian soldiers who fought in the Battle of El Alamein (in northern Egypt), a turning point in World War II – but has become a fully fledged part of the Cross life – and a popular meeting spot.
Macleay on Manning keep their stock of home design and decoration products as diverse as possible, sourcing unusual pieces from local and international contacts. If you’re on the market for a centrepiece lampshade, some artfully mismatched cushions or even a colourful kid’s toy, you’ve come to the right place. Gift registration and vouchers can also be organised from the Potts Point shopfront.
If home is where the carefully arranged, ceramic Art Deco heart is, then this Potts Point interiors store is right up your alley. The store’s owners pride themselves on handpicking original and unexpected furnishings, lighting, ornaments and fashion items that have been sourced for their unusual style and worldly elegance.
Yellow is as great as ever. The eggplant is roasted whole, trimmed into squares, then individually seared; the goal is to evoke twice-cooked pork belly. The resulting “steak” is ultra-juicy and full of punch, yet still harbours multi-layered surprises instead of overplaying one heavyweight note.
You could pop in for a cheeky drink and end up eating the full tasting menu. You could opt for a quick supper that turns into rolling home heavy with biodynamic wines and light on cash. It all depends on what you’re in the mood for.
Matt Swieboda, Nathanial Hatwell and Tristan Blair, who own Dear Sainte Éloise, want to share the love, not hoard it. That’s why there are more than half a dozen wines by the bottle for under $60 at this all-class European-inflected wine bar on Llankelly Place.