If memory serves me correctly, nostalgia never tasted quite as good as chef Damien Wright’s Sunday Roast for Two ($76) at Macleay Street Bistro.
With glistening golden skin, and dense, juicy breast meat, Wright’s poulet rôti et legumes pour deux (roast chook and vegetables for two) is outstanding, and unbeatable at the price point. The bird is served on a simple array of vegetables - onions, carrots, pumpkin and potatoes - each handled with technical precision that belies the rustic, Sunday lunch presentation.
While the accompanying savoury jus gras (fatty juice) is brimming with rich, roast poultry intensity, the beautifully reduced pot of Eschallot, Mushroom and Thyme-Infused Cream ($4) is simply good to pass up. With the 2017 Picardy Pinot Noir ($89/bottle) from Pemberton as a companion drink, you could order this and nothing more, and die happy (if you happen to get taken out on the way home).
Not meaning to be morbid, but Macleay Street Bistro would be a fine place to choose for a final repast. The monochrome surrounds feel elegant without being intimidating.
Moody photographic art and a ruby-red chandelier are tamed by a chalkboard wall of specials, heralding the restaurant’s thirty-sixth year. New chef, Wright, has responded to the occasion with a retro-chic collection of 1970s French cuisine, drawn from both his classic training and twenty-six years of experience behind the pans.
Escargots de Bourgogne ($26) treats snails to a garlic and parsley butter sauce that has a lemony lightness that belies the 1970s penchant for cream.
The gentleness of the parsley-infused sauce allows you to taste more snail, and with a wee glass of the 2014 Vincent Girardin Chardonnay ($17/glass) it really sings. The wine list, by the way is solid and dependable. I’ve drunk most of it, bar for one or two. When I ask about an unfamiliar label, Páidi Murphy deftly makes me aware I’ll find it a bit thin: “That’s the wine we use for people who have a young or inexperienced wine palate."
Murphy, who greeted us like old friends with a hug that lasted just long enough for us to know the sentiment was genuine, shines almost as brightly as Wright’s cuisine. While the restaurant does generously allow free BYO on Sundays, I’d urge you to let Murphy strut his stuff, and match your Merimbula Rock Oysters ($24/6) with finely beaded Pol Roger ‘Brut Reserve’ Champagne ($24/glass). The oysters I ate had salty, creamy and savoury characters in equal balance, requiring nothing more than a squeeze of lemon and cracked pepper to shine.
In Wright’s hands, neatly folded crepes are silky like a woman’s inner thigh. His Crêpes Suzette ($17) arrive immersed in juicy, bright citrus; and can be flamed at the table with Grand Marnier ($10) if it is your heart’s desire.
For a counterpoint to crepes bursting with sunshiny joy, Wright’s Chocolate Fondant ($20) is dark and brooding. It offer up all the rich, deep pleasure that’s supposed to come with this ever-popular molten chocolate pudding. It’ll have you asking, why isn’t all cooking like this?
With Wright in the kitchen, Macleay Street Bistro remains the definitive place to eat classic French cuisine in Sydney.
NOTE: You can see a previous review for this venue back HERE.
Macleay Street Bistro
73A Macleay Street, Potts Point
Ph: (02) 9358 4891