Any restaurant where wine is the star has my undivided attention.
I recently ended up at the two-hatted Potts Point restaurant Monopole with my BFF Alison (plus our respective plus ones). You might remember Ali from cameoing in such wine-themed posts as ‘A Yarra Valley road trip’ and ‘5 of the best new Adelaide bars’. And when your wine sister is in town, it’s only right that you embark on an evening that twinkle toes around wine.
Stopping beforehand for pre-drinks at Potts Point’s new wine bar Dear Sainte Eloise (of which I’m in love), the wine game took a serious turn once we got to Monopole.
Monopole’s wine list
With 500+ wines, the wine list at this Macleay Street restaurant indeed deserves a standing ovation. There’s rare and boutique wines, biodynamic wines, wines that are exclusive to Monopole and wines you’ve never heard of. There’s carafes, glasses and bottles, and the walls are literally adorned by wine. The choice will give you frown lines.
Given Monopole’s wine list is as comprehensive as the Federal Budget papers, it’s no shocker that the Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Food Guide awarded it ‘Wine List of the Year’ in 2017.
Food paired with wine
Named after the French word meaning ‘a wine monopoly’, naturally, the menu is designed to compliment the wine. The modern Australian dishes are designed to share and resemble up-market snack food. The kind of food you’d expect to find at an up-market wine bar.
We started with the charcuterie board of house-cured meats, which included pork cheek, pork neck, brisket and bresaola, adding a side of sourdough bread from Iggy’s – we’re patriotic Bronte locals.
Next up was the raw beef, with pickled pine mushroom and brussel sprouts. Along with the albacore tuna with sesame and charcoal oil, which was a beautifully-presented highlight.
Mains were a divvy up of pork belly, with turnip and pickled muntries; brisket, with horseradish cream and broad bean shoots; and roasted cauliflower, with brown butter, capers and sage. The pork belly was the star, and I dare say the cauliflower from Salaryman is better, and definitely bigger.
We capped off the spread by picking at a cheese plate.
If you’re happy to be placed in the hands of the chef, there’s also a seven-course tasting menu, which will set you back $70pp. And, of course, it would be a sin to do a tasting menu at a wine-and-dine bar without opting in for the matching wines ($60pp).
From the duo behind Sydney’s lauded Bentley Restaurant + Bar (Nick Hildebrandt and Brent Savage), you wouldn’t expect anything less than a slick operation. Monopole is certainly slick.
The space is small and intimate; the ambience dark and moody. With rich dark woods, metal finishings, a bar that runs the length of the restaurant and an almost too cool for itself aura, Monopole reminds me of an underground bunker in London. You wouldn’t think you’re in the heart of Potts Point in Sydney. And with tinted windows it’s hard to tell you are once inside.
Serving up a sophisticated dinner seven nights a week and lunch on the weekend, the quality of food is undeniable; the attentiveness of the waiters equally so.
Just be prepared that the plates are small and the bill adds up quicker than you can say ‘tempranillo’. Aside from that, you can’t fault this wine star.
Monopole | 71a Macleay Street, Potts Point, New South Wales
Phone: (02) 9360 4410