Monopole is Brent Savage and Nick Hildebrandt’s newish restaurant and wine bar. The duo have taken the knowledge learnt from running the hugely successful Bentley Restaurant & Bar and carved out an impressive looking eatery in Potts Point.
Somewhat of a recent change, the restaurant now takes limited reservations with half of the tables for bookings and half reserved for walk-ins. Seems like a nice idea to me. It also means that for an after work meal you don’t have to be disappointed in missing out on a seat.
Gin Fizz ($17.00) and Negroni ($17.00).
Drinks were a very easy choice as we were following on from our trip to Bacchus; a Gin Fiz for Lex and a Negroni for me. Mr O was of course already on his second Negroni by the time we arrived, but that’s how he rolls. Em was a little more undecided than we were and ended up defaulting to a Trumer Pils. I quite enjoyed the Negroni, a good balance with the gin being the most prevalent of the spirits. Lex of course loved her new found bestie the Gin Fizz.
Monopole Menu – $65.00 per person
- Rangers Valley Beef Brisket / Cured & Smoked Duck Breast / Cured & Spiced Berkshire Pork Neck
- Chargrilled Baby Sweetcorn & Tarragon Curd
- Salt Cod, Green Peas, Mint Vinaigrette & Pea Shoots
- Blue Mackerel, Kipfler Potato, Fennel Puree & Sea Bananas
- Pickled & Roasted Beetroot, Radish, Hazelnut & Mustard
- Spiced Veal Rump, Ricotta & Pimentos
- Vanilla Cheese Mousse, Brown Butter Crumbs, Rhubarb & Lemonade
Rangers Valley Beef Brisket / Cured & Smoked Duck Breast / Cured & Spiced Berkshire Pork Neck.
For our fist ‘course’ I read beef, duck and pork, and I’m sure I even paid attention to the rest of the description, but nevertheless a charcuterie plate was not what I was expecting. Three wonderful choices were presented and it was definitely a challenge to pick a favourite.
My first impression was to go for the beef brisket, rich and bursting with beefy goodness I was pretty sure I already knew my favourite. While I had wanted to try the duck next it was the pork that was in front of me so I dug in without hesitation. I found it quite subtle compared to the beef, yet delicately rich compared to the robustness of the beef. Finally I got around to the duck, of which I was most unsure. My word I was wrong to doubt the duck, it was incredible, in essence it was a smoked duck prosciutto and oh my it was sublime.
Oysters ($4.00 each).
After his most recent trip to Sydney Cove Oyster Bar Mr O was in the groove and felt like a few of the slippery morsels to supplement the already epic Monopole Menu. FOMO kicked in for me and the order became a half dozen for us to share. It had been quite a while since I’d last had oysters in a restaurant and I was a little unsure how it would all pan out.
For starters these guys were quite big, and there was a lot of brine still in the half shell (oh yeh). After a light squeeze of lemon it was on. I dug in and to my surprise I slurped down my three in quick succession. They were really good, super creamy, and the inclusion of the natural brine and a hint of lemon really made them shine.
Chargrilled Baby Sweetcorn & Tarragon Curd.
Mini corn, Em has an obsession with them, so it was no surprise to see her eyes light up when these hit the table. Chargrilled while still in the husk, baby corn are able to survive the immense heat while still cooking and picking up the ever important char flavour. Paired with a tarragon curd the sweetness of the corn struck a chord with me, a wonderful combination I’d never experienced before. I was hooked. I love to see such simple things made into dishes that challenge our perceptions.
House Cured Beef Pastrami, Spelt Crouton & Goats Curd & Pickle (Complimentary).
Pastrami on spelt croutons with goat curd and pickle! OMG! These little wonders came out as a little gift from the kitchen and I do have to say it was the best present EVER! Every little part was perfect, and when combined it became even better. The beef tongue pastrami was sensational but the sharp curd, acidic pickle and sweet and crispy cracker all combined to become one of my top dishes of the year.
Salt Cod, Green Peas, Mint Vinaigrette & Pea Shoots.
It may have been billed as Salt Cod but when it arrived I really failed to see any resemblance to my image of salt cod. More like a salad than a fish dish there was a lot of green going on and I for one really liked it. It was the mint vinaigrette that first caught my attention, but it was only fleeting as the cod came into focus.
A great textured fish that sits between meaty and flaky but prepared as it was to be more a of a mashed salt cod and potato, I found I was loving the variance in the dish. The peas were wonderful as they were on the verge of being crisp and under cooked, and the shoots made for an even more powerful combination. I just loved the juxtaposition of this dish, light and vibrant greens and a heavy salty potato and fish combination.
Blue Mackerel, Kipfler Potato, Fennel Puree & Sea Bananas.
It was the best and the worst of times for Em. Mini corn are number one, but mackerel is minus eleven billion. Even from the get go we knew it was only the spuds that kept Em interested. Aversions aside this was a superb dish, the oily mackerel lived up to all expectations with full on flavour and a charred smoky edge making it the king of the dish.
Par boiled then pan finished in butter, the kipfler potatoes were a winner, a definite thumbs up from Em and a great match to the fish. Sea bananas are something I have not come across in a very long time but I am glad to see them coming back into the fray. A salty succulent they went so well with the fennel puree and fronds to compliment the mackerel so well.
Spiced Veal Rump, Ricotta & Pimentos.
There may have been only three core ingredients in this dish but I loved each of them in their own special way. Such a tender cut should always be subjected to the best treatment and upon our first taste we knew this was the case. The spices worked so well in amplifying the veal to another level, so tender and juicy it was a marvel to eat.
There was more to the dish than the veal though. Pimentos are a lucky dip, always chargrilled for the best results and packed full of flavour. Sometimes on the odd occasion you are lucky to hit the jackpot and get one that is a firecracker of heat, but sadly not this time. Creamy and insufferably smooth, the ricotta was a gem as it was able to bring everything together with minimal fuss.
Pickled & Roasted Beetroot, Radish, Hazelnut & Mustard.
Just as Em had backed into a corner with the mackerel, Lex initially did the same with the beetroot. Pickles and mustard in the same dish meant Lex was way out of luck with this one. The rest of us on the other hand were in vegetarian heaven! The beets were sweeter than they were pickled and the frisee and radicchio salad offered a stark bitterness to contrast the creamy mustard and nutty richness of the hazelnuts.
Vanilla Cheese Mousse, Brown Butter Crumbs, Rhubarb & Lemonade.
Back when we very first started blogging I came across a dessert I loved, something I would have never tried in my earlier life. A cheesecake. This was no ordinary cheesecake as it was deconstructed and AWESOME. Since that fateful day I have become enamoured towards cheesecakes in pretty much any form (much to Lex’s delight as she raves about cheesecake).
It was a deconstructed form before us and I did not hesitate to jump in as who wants their rhubarb and lemonade granita to melt? Holy hell this was good. The brown butter crumbs were all types of awesome, everything you love about cakes and biscuits rolled into one. But what is a cake (or a biscuit) without a killer filling? Nothing, and that is why the vanilla cheese mousse was perfect, just enough sweetness to enjoy and the right level of tartness to balance everything else. Even the baby sorrel was at home in this wonderful dish.
Monopole hit all the right notes with us in terms of food and drinks. Clearly the locals feel the same as it was bustling all night long. Half restaurant and half wine bar but its entirely awesome. We’re definitely looking forward to heading back soon.
71A Macleay Street
Potts Point NSW 2011
(02) 9360 4410