The famous Yellow House has been a patisserie, an Italian restaurant, a pop-up and now, a mod bistro
Nick Hildebrandt and Brent Savage have been busy. They closed the Bentley on Crown Street (it has re-opened in the CBD), opened wine bar Monopole on Macleay Street and have recently swung the doors on this luxe bistro just down the roadwith the help of their favourite Melbourne architect, Pascale Gomes McNabb.
Expect distressed surfaces (even the menu covers look like they’ve been left outside Bada Bing for a couple of nights to get well and truly worn in, in the chicest possible way) and McNabb’s signature fascination with lighting – we dig that mix of bare globes and empty shades.
Either take a seat in the dining room proper, or just stump up at the bar. How about starting with a big bowl of beef tendon crisps that arrive snapping and crackling? Aside from being the loudest bar snack in town, they’re spicy, tongue-coating and peppery. And we want more – especially with a glass of highly perfumed biodynamic white like Elisabetta Foradori’s Fontanasanta Manzoni Bianco.
If it’s simultaneously interesting and delicious you can bet Hildebrandt will have it on his wine list. There’s certainly no one in the city we’d rather pour us a glass. Oh, and you can get the Monopole list if nothing here pleases you. Or you want to see Nick Hildebrandt run up a hill.
Spicy intercostal puffs aside, the menu is pretty grown up, geared more towards entree-main-dessert than tapas. That doesn’t mean you can’t share those thin slices of pastrami caught in a thicket of leaves and thinly sliced pieces of pimientos de Padrón (aka the roulette pepper – one in 20 will have you punishing a glass of rose for relief). Or those soft, juicy little hunks of lamb’s tongue with the toastiness of puffed black rice lifted with pickled golden raisins.
But then, setting up for a little alone time is totally kosher too. Order the sirloin – it comes out rosy pink with mustard leaves and a very fancy jacket potato, which comes topped with whipped sour cream and chopped chives. It’s amazing what balm a little waxy potato can offer when you’re tackling a hunk of meat. Even better if you go for a glass of the extremely smashable Cousin Oscar: a juicy, fruity French table wine.
If you’re not too busy with the wine list, consider trying the goat’s-milk yoghurt ice cream sandwich. All apricot, pistachio and orange, it tastes like a spiced Middle Eastern version of a Skona (remember those?). Or freshen up with the coconut sorbet caught in a sweet cucumber soup.
If you ever frequented the Bentley when it first opened in 2006, you’ll recall that dropping by for a plate and a glass and taking up the bar was order of the day. Yellow feels a little like that: drop in, spread out, quaff up.