In an age when restaurants are constantly rebranding, re-badging and updating, new owners Mark Campbell and Phillip Fikkers are swimming against the tide. Patrons for over eighteen years, they bought the restaurant they loved, kept the name and their favourite dishes; staying conscious of – and determined to preserve – the spot’s thirty-year history. You’ll see it in everything from the soft Brian Hoy refurbishment, to them keeping the Classic Steak Tartare ($22) – lovingly beaten out by a waiter who’s mixed it tableside for customers for the last five years. It sings against the 2011 Framingham Riesling ‘Classic’ ($13/glass), which also works with new Head Chef Tom Williams’ accessible Chicken Liver Pate ($16) with pickled red grapes. In Tom’s hands, the menu feels much improved yet resolutely holds on to what it is: simple French-inspired bistro cuisine. Sous Chef Sophie Heath provides kitchen continuity – and excellent pan-fried Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi with Sage Beurre Noisette ($24) – in a serving size that leaves plenty of space for dessert. There she isn’t afraid to deliver a textbook White Chocolate Cheesecake ($16) with strawberry coulis, no matter how out of fashion it may be. Throw in next-gen George Clooney-lookalike Daniel Carter working the floor, and it’s a formula for longevity.
Macleay Street Bistro
73a Macleay Street, Potts Point
Ph: (02) 9358 4891 macleaystbistro.com.au
Modern French, WIne $$$-$$$$