While I never got to dine at Lot. One’s CBD restaurant and basement bar, the modern Italian dishes of chef Adam Swanson had caught my eye. So when I got wind that the Lot. One team had transplanted their operations to Potts Point, I was definitely keen to dine.
They've moved into the site briefly occupied by Missy French. The new Lot. One is decorated in a mishmash of styles, with a wash of purple lighting providing a through-line to the former venue. A gaggle of Edison bulbs hang bare over the well-stocked marble bar, and inside modern matte black cages over the intimate dining room.
Elaborate geometric patterned floor tiles contrast with roughly exposed bricks and black-painted ceiling fixtures. The chairs say schoolroom; the tables say bistro; and the menu says: darling, we're not modern Italian anymore.
“We used to be more Italian, but here we have a more modern Australian feel,” the waitress explains as I sip my Millionaire ($18), an easy-drinking blend of dark rum, apricot, sloe gin and grenadine. Co-owner Michael Bradley clues me in further that the cuisine change came about because of a chef change.
The Lot. One kitchen is now in the hands of Xenia Jade. Jade has bounced around many of Sydney’s big hitters, doing short spells in the kitchens of Jonah’s, Ananas Bar & Brasserie, Monopole, Quay and Sake, before finally coming to rest at Lot. One.
Jade, whose longevity at Lot. One has been assured by making her a part owner, is fond of the negative space plating style that peaked a couple of years back. Presented on one side of the white plate, her Nettle Spaghettini ($24) is pretty and flavoursome, with premium quality fungus, a pool of pesto sauce and a tightly entangled whirl of green spaghettini that makes the dish surprisingly hard to eat. The portion size is generous, despite being listed under 'small'.
Taglierini Ragu ($28) is a better sized 'small'. It teams a gentle, homey lamb neck ragu with a dusting of ricotta salata and baby mint, though it is let down by overcooked pasta.
From an obscure wine list, littered with names I did not know, Bradley expertly guides us into a 2017 Oakridge Pinot Meunier ($84) when our first selection had sold out. While it feels slightly pricy for an out-of-favour varietal, it is quite a delicious wine with strawberry and cranberry notes, fine tannins, and a hint of peppery intrigue. It worked well against a D.I.Y. board of ‘Peaking’ Pork ($30) with charcoal buns and an array of condiments.
The condiments run from purple cabbage to peanuts, to uniform pieces of manufactured crackling and a variety of green herbs; that you pile onto your bun under a sticky drizzle of hoisin-style glaze. They’re tasty and easy to share, though the Asian-inspired dish does seem slightly at odds with the rest of the menu.
Looking organic, the vegetarian 'large', Confit Aubergine ($25), once again made use of the plate's negative space. Sadly I found the combination of black garlic, cauliflower, curry leaves and (raw) spice jarring on the palate.
Free Range Hen ($34) presented as a finger of breast and drumstick under a sweet maple glaze eats more like a dish for one. Sitting on a bed of cabbage, daikon and bean sprout salad, this dish also warrants a side.
Despite some Manchego cheese, the Green Salad ($9) felt a bit boring. Brussels Sprouts ($12) lacked seasoning, despite being teamed with guanciale (cured pork jowl) and cured egg yolk, and wanted for slightly more time in the pan. So with the benefit of hindsight, I'd probably say calories be damned, and opt for the Duck Fat Fries ($10).
Struggling under widely varying portion sizes, our party of three opted to share a single dessert. Under a glistening quenelle of Sugar Plum Sorbet ($14) this was the most striking looking dish of the night. Taste-wise it’s a weird one, with salty umeboshi gel, bland microwave beetroot sponge, flavourless sugar plum (they’re summer fruit) and scattered toffee buckwheat. Even between three people, we left plenty on the plate.
A name only has cache if it is associated with its brand promise. The move from being an Italianate restaurant and bar at the big end of town to a please-all modern Australian in the back streets of Potts Point, is a certainly bold one for Michael Bradley and the Lot. One team. Only time will determine if they have pegged the needs of Potts Point correctly.
Lot. One Potts Point
22 Rockwall Crescent, Potts Point
Ph: (02) 9539 6830