Bienvenue à Bistro Rex!
Potts Point gets Frenchie with Bistro Rex.
Bienvenue! Bistro Rex is a welcomed addition to the Potts Point restaurant scene. High quality French bistro food coupled with a wine list that covers all tastes, many regions and budgets. It joins the family of our other local French eateries such as Mere Catherine and Macleay Street Bistro, Hugonettes Creperie and Douce France Cafe.
“Opening night is never easy but Bistro Rex delivered and then some. We were actually surprised to see so many locals turning up to support this new Potts Point restaurant. It’s great to see people continuing to get behind local businesses, long may it live… The tables kept turning over all night as the Parisian bistro food, cocktails, wine and superb service flowed fluently.”
The bistro situated under the Rex building on Macleay street has immediate street cred thanks to its line up of industry notables. Ex China Doll sommelier Josh Dunne has created a wine list to end all wine lists that compliments the perfectly structured French menu by head chef Jo Ward, (ex Bloodwood) and sous chef Michelle Powell (formally Spice Temple) and Baci Moore (ex manager of Spice Temple).
The Bistro Rex team were buzzing and you could feel the energy in the room, the staff we chatted to all knew the background of the owners and were thrilled to be part of the new venture.
We took our seats at the bar, as I’ve mentioned on previous blogs it’s my favourite place to sit, you can look out over the restaurant and take it all in, people watch and see what’s going on behind the bar and in the kitchen. The bar seats are the best seats in the house!
Despite the influx of patrons Jo Ward and her team were calm and in control as they served up classic French flavours. Consistency and quality was evident on every plate. I am not sure if they expected such a big turn out on the first night but either way they managed it seamlessly.
We started with some cocktails, a dry Martini and signature cocktail, Ginger Maraschino Collins. It was quite sweet which is not usually my thing but for some reason it worked and was the perfect start to the evening. I would probably order it again and it’s a lesson to me not to always stick to tradition which would have seen me ordering a Hendricks and tonic.
What I love most about the menu at Bistro Rex is its simplicity. I don’t enjoy large menus at the best of times. The menu for opening night had 3 house cocktails, oysters, 8 starters, 5 main courses, 3 sides and salads. The only thing missing was my French favourite, Soufflé, but my waistline is probably saying thank you. There were also some specials we discovered after we had ordered. Note to self for next time.
The evening was a little like the view walking up the Montmartre steps, it just got better and better. We began with the Country pork terrine and the Chicken liver parfait – The terrine was superb and had a beautiful balance of flavours. The house bread was the perfect accompaniment. The parfait was one of the best I’ve tasted.
I’m quite fussy when it comes to parfaits and I have two favourites that never let me down and that is Luke Mangan’s and the Pate from Au Bougnat on rue Chanoinesse in Paris. Bistro Rex’s was equally as good and flavoursome, its consistency and texture magnificent. Bravo! I was left wanting more.
“Someone asked me recently what the difference is between chicken liver pate and a chicken liver parfait. In case you’re curious, a chicken liver pate only becomes a chicken liver parfait (French for perfect) when the cooked liver mixture is pushed through a fine sieve, resulting in a silkier, smoother and luscious liver parfait! This parfait was decadent and indeed luscious!”
We enjoyed a beautiful bottle of Sauvignon from the Loire Valley, the sommelier selected the wine for us based on our request for something very light and dry with fruity notes. It did not disappoint. Unlike the food menu, the wine list is extensive, I am pretty sure this list would be a sommelier’s dream. It covers many regions of France but also wines from other parts of the world.
“I would love to sit and read the wine list quietly over a few glasses of red, what I did read took me on a journey to a very good place. This could well be one of Sydney’s best wine lists.“
For our main course we ordered the Poached chicken and the Pork cutlet. They were piping hot and perfectly cooked. The salad and fries were the great accompaniments. The broth served with the chicken was a lovely surprise, light and flavoursome. Unlike many Parisian staples, Bistro Rex keeps things light and fresh, just the way Sydney-siders like it.
We didn’t have time for dessert but sitting bar-side with our prime position we had the advantage of watching the desserts being prepared, they all looked beautifully presented and I will be certainly leaving room for dessert next time.
The acoustics have also been well thought out with foam sound absorbing panels installed in the ceiling, working perfectly with the interior design and doing wonders for the busy bistro. It is often challenging for restaurants to keep noise levels balanced, especially in concrete spaces. My partner is an interior designer and he loved the fit out and design elements. He is a tough critic so that was a big compliment.
I don’t usually write blogs that are reviews but I felt the urge to with Bistro Rex. We can’t wait to return and introduce our friends. In summary Bistro Rex has a busy Parisian bistro vibe. It is elegant yet casual, sophisticated yet modest and the venue will have wide appeal. Like the neighbouring Apollo and Monopole, it will fast become an eastern suburbs institution.
Note: all food and beverages were paid for by me. You can see more of my food travels on my Facebook Page.
Photography: Michael Galvin