Review of Macleay St Bistro, Potts Point
Updated: Feb 24, 2020
Located at the 'Paris End' of Potts Point, Macleay St Bistro is an intimate and charming little bistro that takes me back to the simple pleasures of European holidays: sipping Champagne, eating beautiful food and of course, being fabulous!
Macleay St Bistro is inspired by all things French. It is clearly evident from the food menu, to the wine list, to act of sitting on the patio of a restaurant enjoying a quiet meal and partaking in one of my favourite past-times, people watching. While we may not be in France, Potts Point does not disappoint on this front. The locals walking their designer pups and sashaying in Hermes scarves could be right at home on the streets of Paris, and together with the uplifting effervescence of champagne and the creamy finish of Merimbula oysters we are transported and excited to the point of being giddy for the meal ahead.
Tonight we are dining as a foursome and all being foodies, can't resist but over-order on the starters. This turns out to be a wonderful thing as all the starters including the Oysters are simply stunning. The Escargots (while some people might be turned off) are very popular on this table, with everyone raving about these plump little beauties and the garlic and parsley butter which is actually quite heavy on the acid, a perfect counter balance to all that richness and eagerly scraped up with the slices of crisp baguette. If you haven't tried Escargots before, I urge you to please please please give them a go. And if you do, make it here because these are a beautiful example of how good they can be. Once de-shelled, the size and texture is similar to a small clam and such a shame to be missed just because of incorrect visions of garden snails. I've never met a souffle I didn't like and the French Onion version served at Macleay St Bistro could just about be my best friend. Light and airy with the sweetness and savouriness of onion, and smothered in a cream and butter sauce, it is definitely not diet food, but it is decadent as hell and perfect for sharing. I would actually love this dish to be served with a side salad and vingarette to help cut through and refresh the palate, but I won't hold that against my new best friend #BFFs #soufflegoals. The Garlic Prawns are also lovely with a hit of chilli and the light bisque keeping things fresh and exciting. It is 'choose your own adventure' style when it comes to the Steak Tartare. All the add ins and sauces are presented and you are given the opportunity to mix in exactly what you like. We opt for all the spice and acid heavy hitters and they sit gorgeously intermixed with the hand chopped steak. This kind on diner involvement and theatre is what makes meals memorable and Macleay St Bistro serves this up in spades.
“I request the Chicken Liver Parfait to be added to our selection of starters and I am so glad I do because this dish is heaven on earth! I love all sorts of Pates and Parfaits but this one is divine with such a light, whipped texture, perfectly seasoned and delicious little accompaniments that both balance and enhance.''
I can't get enough of this parfait and my fellow diners agree with us all lamenting the last scrapes of airy goodness. The plate is returned to the kitchen spotlessly clean with us wiping up every last smear using the crusty baguette.
The switch up of wine to a heavier red signals its time for mains with the star of the show being the Chateaubriand (Eye Fillet) with Bearnaise and sides to be shared between two. We request medium rare cooking and that is exactly what we receive and the serving size is very generous for two people. In fact all of the dishes this evening are generous portions, which is usually not the case in fine dining restaurants. I must add that the along with the more homely sized servings, we also feel right at home with the service which is both charming and knowledgeable. It is a real pleasure to be around and you can see why customers have been so loyal over the past 30 years. While I enjoy the Chateaubriand, I must say I prefer the Steak Frites which is a rib eye cooked over the grill, imparting a wonderful smokey aroma to the meat. It just adds that depth of flavour for me that sends the dish from like to love. The Pork Cutlet is not something I would usually order in a French restaurant. I would always go for the steak option, but it is a simple and fresh dish with the pork itself juicy and tender. This would be a good dish for that friend that doesn't eat steak, or someone who wants something lighter for dinner.
We try a range of French classic desserts: Crepes Suzette, Creme Brulee, Profiteroles but my favourite is the Chocolate Fondant. You can taste in the deep, almost bitter aroma of the pudding that a very high quality chocolate has been used and this is really appreciated by the table. The fresh fruits and luxurious vanilla bean ice cream just top it off, filling this belly to the absolute brim. There is talk of a cheese plate and as much as I want to try their offering, I simply could not fit another thing in.
If you like French food (and who doesn't, am I right?!), I am here to tell you that Macleay St Bistro is producing not only some wonderful food but an experience of service and ambiance to evoke the feeling of sitting in a little bistro in Paris. Their history of over 30 years of service is a testament to that.
Macleay St Bistro 73A Macleay St, Potts Point
*I dined here as a guest of Macleay St Bistro and Ompty Media but all opinions remain my own.