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Potts Point area guide

Restaurants, bars, shops and events in Potts Point

Photograph: Fabian Foo

Some clichés exist for a reason: the "Potts Point is like Paris" line is one such cliché. Just around the bend from the seediest strip in Sydney - which we kind of love - Potts Point, anchored by Macleay Street, really is like a little slice of the French capital. Tree-lined streets, gorgeous old art deco buildings, painted-up old beauties smoking at cafés with lapdogs... seriously, save yourself the Air France fare.

Bordered by the the Cross and Woolloomooloo, just like Paris, Potts is a place for foodies: Fratelli Paradiso, hot-spot Wilbur's,  Fish ShopBilly Kwong, Jeremy Strode's theme-y fish joint in the old Lotus plus Yellow and Monopole from Nick Hildebrandt and Brent Savage. Eat, drink and be tres merry.

Potts Point highlights

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Monopole

The line between restaurant and bar has gone from a little fuzzy to indistinct, and nowhere is this more so than at Brent Savage and Nick Hildebrandt’s Potts Point wine bar and restaurant, Monopole. 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. The best place to start is by hitting happy hour from 5-6.30pm. A $12 Americano (Campari, vermouth, soda) or Bermuda Sour (dark rum, lemon, bitters) will get you off to a rolling start, especially if you’re backing it up with two little crispbreads topped with fluffy goats curd, a gently grilled skewer of pillowy soft pastrami and the refreshing crunch of lightly pickled cucumber on top. Loosely speaking, the people at the tables are here to eat and the people lining the gleaming black bar are here to take a swing at the impressive wine list. If you’re unsure about this whole biodynamic caper, a super fresh glass of the Mas d’Espanet Eolienne grenache blanc is the gateway wine that’ll convert you. There’ll be no complaints about the sour cherry lift in a nebbiolo from Piedmont’s Bruno Rocca, either. There’s no denying you could spend some serious cash here. The menu criss-crosses the globe like a twenty-something student, but one with really excellent taste, and so not much by the glass sneaks under ten dollars ($15 is about the average). For a mor

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Restaurants

Billy Kwong

Have you ever met anybody who doesn’t like Kylie Kwong? No, you haven’t, because those people don’t exist. With her warm, firm-but-fair manner, she must be one of the most loved celebrity chefs in the land. But what about her restaurant? Is it all hype, or is the food as kickass as they say? Following the move by the new Billy Kwong from its Surry Hills locale to Macleay Street in Potts Point earlier this year, we went along to find out. First of all, hyped she may be, but nobody could accuse Kwong of shirking away from hard work. We venture into a packed restaurant on a Sunday night, and there she is, just like every other evening, working the pass. She’s at Eveleigh markets every Saturday morning too, serving the crowds some of the best food onsite. This is a chef who actually wants to be in the kitchen, not on the tele talking about it. The interior has been sympathetically designed by George Livissianis, and reflects everything that Kwong is: the burnt burgundy colour referencing her Buddhist beliefs, memorabilia from her travels decorating the walls. Plants hang from metals baskets over the bar, and the kitchen is totally open, showing that there is nothing to hide. It’s double the size of her Crown Street restaurant, she’s said goodbye to the stools and hello to properly backed chairs, and you can even book your table, so no more queues winding out the door. It is, put simply, the Billy Kwong we, and she, have always wanted. And no, it is not just hype: the food here

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Bars

The Roosevelt

Teddy Roosevelt was the 26th president of the United States, and Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was in office from 1933-1945, was the 32nd. The Roosevelt in Potts Point has never been commander in chief, but in its arsenal is a seriously good liquid-nitrogen Martini, called the Continental. They take the hard decisions out of the equation by using vodka and gin, Cocchi Americano in place of vermouth and a little Chartreuse to add more herbal complexity to your drink. The serving suggestion recommends an oyster on the side, and it’s solid advice –hell, why not make it two of the plump and briny little bivalves. What with the liquid-nitrogen counter in the centre of the room and all sorts of wizardry happening behind the bar to get you a frozen rubble of Piña Colada you can eat with a spoon, you’ll be expecting great things from this Art Deco cocktail bar. And if you get an experienced barkeep you won’t be disappointed. A John Wayne made with bourbon, apple brandy, maple syrup, root beer and cherry cola syrup and a peanut butter mist sounds like diabetes in a glass, but is actually a beautifully balanced drink built on strong, boozy bones. Our Owl and the Pussycat, made on someone’s second shift, doesn’t fare quite as well. It’s a simple refresher of gin, green pea tonic, elderflower and white grapefruit juice and Japanese mint, but it’s hard to justify 20 bucks for what tastes like a spring cordial cooler. The sleek, Art Deco interiors hark back to the original Roosevelt Club o

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Restaurants

Cho Cho San

Cho Cho San has what is quite possibly the most beautiful restaurant interior in Sydney. The work of restaurant designer du jour George Livissianis, it’s all about Nordic cool versus Japanese refinement: think polished concrete, whitewashed bricks and pale birch plywood furnishings. The ceiling is made up of a giant light box that can be brightened and faded at the touch of a button, and hidden acoustic foam means you can actually hear the conversation with your dining partner, despite the place being invariably packed. Behind the scenes is pretty much Sydney’s dining dream team. Ex-Billy Kwong, Bodega and Rockpool chef Nic Wong heads up the kitchen with help from Jonathan Barthelmess, who co-owns the joint with Sam Christie. The latter two also own the Apollo up the road, and Christie is responsible for Longrain and Subcontinental over the hill in Surry Hills. Now that’s who you want to open your restaurant. So there’s that. Shall we talk about the food now? Like the interior, the menu is pared-back with a Japanese feel. Inspired by the izakayas of Japan, where Barthelmess and Christie have both spent a good deal of time, it has plenty of snacks, raw options and meats cooked over coals, and the drinks list is as impressive as the food. To kick things off, order up a strong, punchy Nippy Rockshop cocktail (Cho Cho’s take on a Negroni made with sake, Tanqueray gin, Antica Formula and Aperol) and a coupla pork katsu buns: pillowy steamed bao buns encasing soft, buttery panko

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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