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Potts Point's Waterman's Lobster Co. to Reopen as a Specialty Wine Bar

The newly-named Dear Sainte Eloise will leave the laneway lobster rolls behind for an indoor-only, moody wine den.
By Marissa Ciampi
May 08, 2017
By Marissa Ciampi
May 08, 2017

Potts Point laneway anchor Waterman's Lobster Co. is in for a real overhaul this month, as owner Matt Swieboda brings the original team from Darlinghurst small bar Love, Tilly Devine back together in their newest venture. They'll be transforming their Lankelly Place digs off Orwell Street from a restaurant obsessed with the perfect lobster roll (only Maine or Connecticut style, no exceptions) to a moody, late night wine bar.

Rebranded as Dear Sainte Eloise, the new venue's name is taken from George Orwell's first full-length book Down and Out in Paris and London, in which the destitute narrator prays to a photo of (who he thinks is) Sainte Eloise for enough money to buy bread and wine. "To us, this passage shows the joy that these really simple things can bring and that's what we're all about," says Swieboda. It turns out the photo in the book is actually of an infamous brothel madame, which the team saw as another sly nod to their Tilly Devine days.

Dear Saint Eloise will have a strong emphasis on wine, with a whopping 350 list to choose from. "Like at Tilly, we want to over-deliver on people's expectations and show them the diverse kind of wine list you can have in a small space," says Swieboda. The menu spans from Austrian and German to Spanish and Portuguese varieties, as well as South African, Georgian, and the requisite Australian and New Zealand bottles. A section of the wine list titled 'The Less Popular But Very Delicious Wines Of The World' also includes some more obscure French varietals, along with Greek and Hungarian.

The rest of the drinks menu will be paired back to keep the focus on wine, but will include a very small, four-cocktail list featuring a 'premium' Negroni using Tasmanian gin, Spanish vermouth and Adelaide's Applewood Distillery liqueurs.

Joining Swieboda in this venture is a crew of Tilly alumni, from business partner Nate Hatwell (head sommelier at Mercado) and manager Jasmin Natterer (London's Sager and Wilde) to head chef Ben Abiad (co-founder Brickfields Bakery, ex-Sean's Panaroma and Mecca). Abiad will oversee the venue's two kitchens which include a restaurant kitchen and a front-of-house/bar kitchen. Menu highlights include burrata topped with smoked oil and served with charred bread to start, and a Gundooee sirloin served with radish butter and silky fennel for main. The venue will also put a focus on oysters, which they're sourcing fresh for each service from the farmers at Australia's Oyster Coast Co-op.

The existing fitout will be transformed to take on this small bar persona, swapping out the outdoor seating and bright, open space of Waterman's for an indoor-only, intimate 45-seater with warm lighting and dark timbers. Dear Sainte Eloise is looking to become the next late-night haunt for the area, with the kitchen open until 11.30pm five nights a week.

Dear Sainte Eloise will open next Tuesday, May 16 at 5/29 Orwell St, Potts Point. Opening hours are Tuesday through Thursday from 5pm until midnight, Friday through Saturday noon to midnight and Sunday noon to 6pm.

Image: Waterman's Lobster Co.

Published on May 08, 2017 by Marissa Ciampi
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