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North Sydney's Impressive 180-Person Diner Poetica Has Arrived with Inventive Oysters and Native-Heavy Cocktails

A huge dry-age cabinet, several fire-based cooking techniques and a 700-bottle wine wall form the base of Poetica's boundary-pushing offerings.
By Ben Hansen
September 01, 2023
By Ben Hansen
September 01, 2023

North Sydney has welcomed a grand new steakhouse with a 120-seat restaurant, a 60-person bar and multiple sunny al fresco balconies. Poetica comes from Etymon Projects, the hospitality team behind fellow North Shore standout Loulou Bistro, Boulangerie & Traiteur, as well as the CBD's The Charles Grand Brasserie and Bar and Tiva.

At the heart of Poetica is a firing charcoal oven, a custom wood-burning hearth, a dry-aging cabinet, an impressive cocktail program and a huge 700-bottle wine wall.

Head Chef Connor Hartley-Simpson has moved over from The Charles, drawing on his experience at Michelin-starred restaurants in Stockholm and San Francisco to create a menu that fervently leans into these fiery forms of preparing produce.

"In the kitchen, we're focusing on using incredible local produce, dry-ageing in-house, cooking with either charcoal or wood where it works, pickling and fermenting to play around with flavours, and really letting the produce be the hero," says Hartley-Simpson.

On entry, you'll be treated by the expansive selection of wine and the tall display cabinet filled with huge cuts of meat and seafood. Moving further into the dining room, you'll find a 15-metre-long open kitchen and floor-to-ceiling glass windows leading to the al fresco dining balconies sitting high above North Sydney.

As expected, your sirloins, t-bones and 40-day aged tomahawks all grace the sharing-based menu — but the cut that Hartley-Simpson insists you try is the swordfish, dry-aged for over a week before being served.

Another must-try is the oysters, which are prepared in a way we're yet to see in Sydney. At Poetica, these salty delicacies can be enhanced with hot beef fat melted on top in a technique called 'flambadou' before they're topped with nduja and Guindilla peppers. The result is a complex mouthful filled with flavours of steak and oysters, as well as a hit of spice from the peppers.

Elsewhere, there's whole roasted chicken topped with mussels, onion and a creamy sauce; chilli yuzu scallop leads the raw section of the menu; and a next-level toastie can be ordered in the 60-seat bar area for anyone looking to pop in for a cocktail and a snack.

Speaking of, the cocktail program is filled with its own dose of fun and charm. In place of a classic margarita, there's the Plum Clarity — a clarified version of the tequila cocktail finished with a Davidson plum and salt rim. The Poetica take on a bloody mary also features bush tomato and native pickle brine, while the Terra Flora negroni is given a herbaceous kick thanks to the inclusion of Regal Rouge and strawberry gum.

Now open in the expansive 1 Denison Street building above the street's mini dining precinct, Poetica is the latest addition to a bustling North Sydney hospitality scene. The opening follows on from another multi-space dining room RAFI, which arrived late last year, and a pair of new takeaway spots in Greenwood Plaza from charity-driven hospitality group Plate It Forward (Colombo Social, Coyocan Social, Kabul Social).

Poetica is now open at 1 Denison Street, North Sydney. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday–Saturday, while the bar is open from 12pm–late Tuesday–Saturday.

Images: Steven Woodburn

Published on September 01, 2023 by Ben Hansen
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