SO FRENCH, SO CHIC

This weekend the French celebrate Bastille Day. It’s an opportunity to be patriotic, and wave the flag and for the rest of us to celebrate French culture - which includes wine, food, art and fashion. For ‘Francophiles’ all things French represent the pinnacle of culture and, you have to hand it to the French, they do know how to eat, drink and dress incredibly well.

Here is a short, completely subjective list for the Bastille Day Weekend Vibe you’re bound to be searching for.

WINE - its practically a way of life in Eastside and our favourites for a tipple include Rosé Royale a (world first) wine bar and restaurant dedicated solely to the Rosé wine. With more than 70 Rosé from around the world and a French inspired food menu this bar is situated in a terrace in Kellet Street, with an outdoor garden area just right for a summers afternoon. This winter, there’s a mulled Rose lunch every Saturday and all-you-can-eat Tartiflette on Sunday.

Wine is the focus at Lankelly Laneway bar Dear St Eloise although lately they have been giving opportunity to up-and-coming junior chefs with a new series of Monday night suppers. Expect to be wowed by the 400+ wine list, but don’t be afraid to ask for advice and try something new here - you’re in good hands.

The Bishop Wine Bar in Surry Hills has a lot going on, with specials deals and offers every day. But it’s the substantial range of their French Pinot Noir that have us coming back for more in this chic Crown Street venue.

rose royal, bishop wine bar,

FOOD - a relatively new player on the scene Métisse brings an impressive all-French team to Potts Point, with nine Michelin stars between them. Situated in the ‘gaudi-inspired’ building on Roslyn Street, Metisse is sophisticated yet affordable French dining with degustation and à la carte options available from Tuesday to Sunday, from 5pm.

Bistro Rex has been a favourite since opening. Oozing casual insouciance and always bustling, this take on a Parisian Bistro with its classic tiled floor, leather banquettes and copper trims is in the heart of Potts Point and offers daily specials, classic bistro fare and a happy hour in the early evening. Open 7 days per week, the share menu Le Banquet is the way to go for a little taste of everything.

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Macleay St Bistro is another local institution that has weathered the storms, the comings and goings, the ups and downs of the neighbourhood. Situated at the “paris end” of Potts Point, MSB has been serving up classic French Bistro stalwarts for over 30 years. Favourites include steak tartare, onion souffle and creme brulee. There’s a weekly blackboard specials menu and BYO is an option too.

et al. is the kind of restaurant every neighbourhood needs, with its casual yet perfectly executed menu reflected in the ambience. Indoor and outdoor seating face the bustling Llankelly Laneway - perfect for people watching. Early dining 5-7pm offers two prix fixe menus ($37/$47) and winter sees the mulled wine back again. They’re also offering Bastille Day dinners all weekend.

Still at the “Paris End” of Potts Point (locals like to think that it all gets a bit more sophisticated heading north on Macleay St, past the fountain) a few new shops springing up are definitely bringing back style in the fashion stakes.

Check out Baz Inc and by freer, two new players in the ‘hood that we talked about recently. Plus Mon Petit Chou, Macleay on Manning for kids clothes, Becker Minty for uniquely curated fashion and homewares, Booty for shoes, Skarfe for the best selection of scarves of all sizes and styles. Most of these shops have online availability but stroll along Macleay St with a glass of wine and the end, is a nice way to spend the day. Make sure to check out the Potts Point Galleries a veritable treasure chest of antique furniture, clothing, jewellery and homewares.

skarfe

EAT & DRINK - SAY CHEESE!

Looks like CHEESE is the food du jour in Eastside these days with cafes, restaurants, bars and speciality stores all offering their take on this creamy, tasty, gooey and sometimes smelly, treat.

Penny’s Cheese Shop in Potts Point is leading the charge with her selection of handmade and farm house cheeses sourced locally and internationally. A self-confessed ‘curd nerd’ Penny has been in the food industry for over 20 years and is an Australian Cheese Judge to boot! She will cut cheeses to your specifications, make up platters for special events (or a quiet evening at home) plus she sells all the quince paste and crackers your cheesy-heart desires.

Penny’s cheese toasties have been voted Best in Sydney but you’ll have to get in early to decide for yourself - with a limited amount made each day Penny is regularly sold out by 1pm.

pennys cheese shop

At Formaggi Ocello in Surry Hills you can buy a cheese wedding cake (YES) Plus they also offer a selection of Australian, French and Italian cheeses with all the condiments you need - biscotti, crackers, oils and vinegars, cured meats and olives. If you prefer, you can eat in with a glass of wine or two and a tasting platter. There are cheesy gifts, raclette nights, gourmet hampers and Ocello has recently introduced Cheese Tours to Italy!

Speaking of RACLETTE have you tried the All-You-Can-Eat Raclette at Loluk Bistro? Just off Taylor Square this little French Bistro, known for its authentic southern cuisine, is run by brothers Luk and Loic, serving food in the “grandma way” with a modern twist. Every Tuesday and Wednesday they pour the cheese on top of potatoes, salad, cornichon and a plate of charcuterie (braseola, coppa, saucisson, ham and prosciutto) and it’s all included in the $49 price.

Loluk Bistro

Also on every Wednesday night, Black Bottle’s offering of ‘Fromage in a Box’ is just what it sounds like - an oven baked wheel of cheese, served with cured meats, roast potatoes and lettuce. It serves two and at $39 per head, coupled with the 5-7pm happy hour “apertivo” makes for a great date-night or after work destination.

This popular wine bar in Darlinghurst also serves up Mediterranean style share plates, along with superb selection of wines and cocktails. The ambience is chill and these guys know their food is best served super fresh!

Locals Tip: if you phone ahead Black Bottle will serve you “fromage in a box” any night of the week!

black bottle darlinghurst

Back over in Potts Point, Le Petite Louvre is the latest edition to our bustling cheese scene. Tucked away on Springfield Avenue, this shop is an homage to all things French and cheesy. Proprietor Christian Estebe, tells us he stocks a few Swiss cheeses (from the French side, bien sur) but everything else is lovingly hand made in the traditional style by pretty French farm maids living a full and wholesome life - okay we may be exaggerating just a tad here, but believe me Monsieur Estebe knows his stuff and has very high, very exacting standards when it comes to cheese.

Quality and tradition rule in this gem of a store that is part shop, part cafe, part tea room. There’s gold medal cheese, fancy cheese, rare cheese but most of all really tasty cheeses to pair with wine, tea or whatever you like.

Baroque music and French reproduction paintings on the ceiling and walls make for a unique ambience and a truely one off experience.

Locals : Christian can also be found at the KX Organic Markets on Saturday mornings

Le Petite Louvre

EAST VILLAGE PINK WINTER GARDEN

The East Village Hotel in Darlinghurst has transformed its terrace rooftop into a pink Winter Garden, inspired by the Christmas markets of Europe.

Drenched in pink flood light & thousands of fairy lights, there’s a warm drinks menu with mulled wine and cider, specialty warm meads and gin hot toddies. Happy hour (two-for-one) is 5-7pm

On the food front there’s a selection of Christmas market-inspired items like currywurst, smoked deep fried camembert and Nutella waffles. Our vote goes to the four-cheese fondue, spiked with maraschino liqueur and served with assorted veg, cured meats and bread for dipping.

Local’s tip: This cute pokie-free venue also has one of the best Sydney skyline views in Eastside!

east village winter garden

EAT & DRINK - Society Pizza might be gone but Sobar is here to stay.

If you were a fan of the Monday and Tuesday all you can eat pizza at the Potts Point Society Pizza then we have some sad news, the legends of the crust have moved on. (Don’t worry their Bondi stores are still open!)

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Sobar is the latest in Japanese Italian Fusion and is taking the place of the renowned Society Pizza.

The good news is that in its place there is now the amazing Sobar. They describe themselves as ‘a new and unique cocktail lounge with an emphasis on designer cocktails, serving Italian + Japanese fusion.’ Oh and the pizza is still on the menu too! They take walk ins and bookings so we suggest getting on the phone and making the call ASAP. Plans for the weekend, sorted!