Monopole, Potts Point's latest marker of gentrification, has at its helm good food, good wine, and good service. From the team that brought us Bentley Restaurant and Bar, this newbie personifies contemporary design, expert tipples, and food that rates among the best in Sydney. Ahmen to that.
For those well versed on the inner east dining scene, Monopole's interior will be at once familiar. Enter the dimly lit space and the handicrafts of designer Pascale Gomes-McNabb will emerge from the shadows like a striking force. Bulbous light fixtures hang low over bar seating, a textural finish is given to almost every surface, and sheets of metal hover as feature pieces above banquettes lining the open-windowed front. Where else have you seen these quirky design traits? Claude's.
Your entrance into Monopole is almost as exciting as what's to come. The Bentley boys, Brent Savage and Nick Hilderbrandt, have teamed up with sommelier Glen Goodwin to deliver the goods, and deliver they do. Offering a seasonal, tapas-style menu and 500-strong wine list including organic and biodynamic options, Monopole's the eatery we've been waiting for; a luxurious dining experience in a casual setting sans the ridiculous bill makes this place an unchallenged gem north of the Coke sign.
To start, order a mixed charcuterie ($26 for a selection of four). Ask for the smoked duck breast, Rangers Valley beef brisket and bresaola, and smoked pork neck and you're quite seriously in cured meat heaven. Add to this the housemade pickles, and you've just become God's best friend.
Lest I forget to emphasise, Monopole is about sharing, so it's best to select a few dishes and proclaim, "knock yourself out". The grilled baby sweet corn with tamarind yoghurt ($13) has the perfect pop and crunch with a gritty chargrilled finish, while the grilled beef tongue with goat's curd and spelt crouton ($5 each) is smooth in texture and rich in salty goodness.
For something more substantial, opt for the salt cod with green peas, mint vinaigrette and pea shoots ($18) with a side of shaved heirloom vegetables, baby pink fir potatoes, and buttermilk whey dressing ($16). Impressively, the cod's glutinous texture melts harmoniously into the the dense potato with the mint vinaigrette cutting through with a slice of fresh zest. And for the carnivores amongst us? The suckling pig with charred baby cucumbers ($32) is a solid option, if only lacking something in the way of a more generous dressing.
At a place like Monopole it's also fact that dessert is a must. The nectarine and sorbet with brown butter curd ($14) is sweet in all the right places and sour where it counts with an A+ rating for presentation.
It's not often we find golden nuggets like Monopole. When we do, however, it's time to treasure them. Coming highly recommended, this place has our definitive seal of approval.