Joining Monopole, The Apollo, Cho Cho San and Yellow, Missy French is yet another exemplar of the changing face of Potts Point. The muted, sophisticated room is packed with urbane diners, blithely tucking into Caviar ($89), using mother of pearl spoons to apply it liberally to freshly made (if somewhat thick) blini.
The exposed guts of the building, painted in the same grey as the concrete block walls, melt from view, softened by long, gold-lit curtains and linen banquettes. Patterned floor tiles and little table lamps draw your eyes downward, creating intimacy as well as illuminating menus for the venerable clientele.
Wine recommendations roll easily off our French waiter’s tongue. After declaring ourselves to be Chardonnay aficionados, he steers us away from thematic Chablis toward the 2014 Domaine Naturaliste ‘Artus’ Chardonnay ($85/bottle) from the Margaret River. He’s on the money: it’s elegant with surprising complexity, suiting freshly shucked Oysters ($4/each) with mignonette, or an even better lemon ice, chervil and Joseph olive oil treatment.
The menu sits at the juncture between old and new. The French bistro classics have been updated to reflect contemporary tastes, but they’re still familiar and presented without fuss. Steak Tartare ($22) arrives carb. light, prompting a request (and then a reminder) for bread. It’s mixed at the table, with the flavours well balanced against silky, hand-cut beef.
Sealed with a lovely cognac jelly, a little glass tub of Holmbrae Chicken Liver Parfait ($21) arrives with tart cornichons and an ample sufficiency of toasted brioche.
It’s tasty but not exceptional, bettered by Sautéed Veal Sweetbreads ($21) carefully seasoned and presented on a bed of green peas with hunks of smoked bacon.
My dining companion and I weighted our meal more heavily toward entrees, and when our shared pot of Cassoulet ($38) lands, we’re glad that we did. Made on pork and chicken rather than the usual duck, the white bean casserole is generously proportioned, but this update lacks the soul of the original dish.
Shaved Cabbage Salad ($12) works as a countering side, along with a pricy glass of Frederic Magnien 'Bourgogne' Pinot Noir ($25/glass). Yes, Missy French will let you know come bill time that you’re dining in the restaurant of Josephine Perry, Neil Perry’s daughter; but for your dosh you get solid, modern French bistro eats and great plonk in a ritzy but mostly A-list free space.
22 Rockwell Crescent, Potts Point
Ph: (02) 8599 4912