Oh, Yellow Bistro and Food Store. How we loved your tiny, house-made, coconut-covered marshmallows and apricot slice, and your surly, surly floor staff. Alas you are gone, sweet patisserie, but not forgotten. And in your place is a perfectly respectable bistro and restaurant opened by chef Darren Taylor, last seen working at Buon Ricordo
Brass isn’t so much a transmutation as a transition from Yellow – a cosy little restaurant and patisserie selling some of the best sweets on the eastern beaches. What used to be the shop off to the side of the bistro has been replaced by a sleek bar serving up classic cocktails such as Manhattans, Old Fashioneds and Boiler Makers. Try a Mint Julep, pre-dinner. In truth, it’s little more than bourbon and mint on crushed ice, but somehow it’s more civilised than a beer with a whiskey back. The bartender is on the slow side, so you might want to take a look at the menu while you wait.
Either take your meal in the bar or wander into adjoining dining room. Like the cocktail list, the menu is a straight-shooting selection of French and Italian dishes. You might order the twice-cooked gruyere soufflé. It’s a little wetter than we’re used to, but the molten island of cheesy goo hides a light, delicate interior. Or maybe it’ll be the bucatini all'amatriciana – a tangle of al dente noodles mixed with salty flavour punch of cured pork, chilli and tomato sauce. Still hungry? A crumbed pork cutlet with a side of roast capsicum cuts like butter and is perfect with a squeeze of lemon. Or ignore everything we did and just drop by for a cocktail and a minute steak with fries and get out for less than a fifty.
The wine list is similarly peripatetic, running from France and Italy to New Zealand and Australia and while the by-the-glass selection is a little light-on, there are some value treats to be found by the bottle. We like the Metrat Chiroubles gamay – some sweet drinking at $60 a pop.
Service at Brass is cheery and smart, though there are a few mix-ups on the floor such as two apple gallettes delivered and both appearing on the bill, even though we've only ordered one. The layers of fine, flaky pastry topped with thin slices of caramelised apple topped with a high hat of vanilla gelato does come with a birthday candle and a song, though. What a shame it’s nobody’s birthday. Ah well.
Brass is a great offering for Potts Point residents. You might not cross town for it and Sydney’s in no way short of diners, but the folks at Brass have created a warm, welcoming restaurant that’s perfect for a local mid-week meal or an after-work drink.