Is it a bar? Is it a restaurant? It doesn’t matter when everything is delicious
The line between restaurant and bar has gone from a little fuzzy to indistinct, and nowhere is this more so than at Brent Savage and Nick Hildebrandt’s Potts Point wine bar and restaurant, Monopole. You could pop in for a cheeky drink and end up eating the full tasting menu. You could opt for a quick supper that turns into rolling home heavy with biodynamic wines and light on cash. It all depends on what you’re in the mood for.
The best place to start is by hitting happy hour from 5-6.30pm. A $12 Americano (Campari, vermouth, soda) or Bermuda Sour (dark rum, lemon, bitters) will get you off to a rolling start, especially if you’re backing it up with two little crispbreads topped with fluffy goats curd, a gently grilled skewer of pillowy soft pastrami and the refreshing crunch of lightly pickled cucumber on top.
Loosely speaking, the people at the tables are here to eat and the people lining the gleaming black bar are here to take a swing at the impressive wine list. If you’re unsure about this whole biodynamic caper, a super fresh glass of the Mas d’Espanet Eolienne grenache blanc is the gateway wine that’ll convert you. There’ll be no complaints about the sour cherry lift in a nebbiolo from Piedmont’s Bruno Rocca, either.
There’s no denying you could spend some serious cash here. The menu criss-crosses the globe like a twenty-something student, but one with really excellent taste, and so not much by the glass sneaks under ten dollars ($15 is about the average).
For a more substantial snack the steak tartare is rich, silky and earthy. Fried sweet potato skins add essential crunch while dehydrated mushroom anchors everything with a deep savoury character.
If you tell us you want wine in Potts Point, this is where we’ll send you. But there’s no shame in ordering up a Nomad Cruisin’ Ale or a Trumer pils and letting the evening float by on an amber sea.
How you see Monopole really depends on what your priority is. You’ll call it a bar if cracking wines are the first point of order; you’ll call it a restaurant if you’re all about the $65 tasting menu that’s insanely good value, especially for big groups. At the end of the day it probably doesn’t really matter. The eats and drinks are both bloody excellent and that’s the takeaway point.