One of Sydney's most distinctive ornamental pieces, the dandelion-like El Alamein fountain, is one of the features that gives the Cross much of its distinctive character. New eatery Fountain wisely chooses to play up their proximity to the striking water feature. On a sunny day, patrons can sit out on a stretch of pavement ideal for people (and, if we're being honest, dog) watching — it's a perfect spot amongst the foot traffic of Potts Point and the always busy neighbourhood park.
Befitting the bustling atmosphere of the Cross, Fountain will eventually offer everything from early morning coffee and toast to late, leisurely dinners — but for now, they're serving up brekkie and lunch, with breakfast options including Sydney standards like locally-sourced juices, smashed avocado, French toast, muesli and an acai bowl.
Brunch sees some more substantial (and more exciting) fare added to the menu, like a chunky stack of sweet corn fritters ($17). The fritters have an ideal lightness and are paired with some fresh avocado salsa and the clean notes of coriander. It's the kind of reliably pleasing and familiar dish that works equally well as either a pre-work breakfast or paired with a smack-of-heat bloody mary ($16) for a lazy weekend option.
Some items span the brunch and lunch menus, like an Atlantic salmon ($28) which sits on a creamy bed of celeriac mash and plated with some shaved fennel and halved tomatoes. No wheels are being reinvented here, but the fish is cooked just right, the presentation is neat and the freshness is obvious.
After winter, the venue will also be aiming for more of a wine bar feel, so you'll be able to sit at the bar and admire the broad art deco curves and Parisian bistro feel inside the venue, the culmination of a smart design job by ACME & Co. The wine list offers almost every wine by the glass and a short cocktail list nods to the classics with old-fashioneds, martinis and a smoked Negroni ($18) — although, the latter could be a bit smokier.
Overall, Fountain is a solid addition to a storied part of Sydney. You probably wouldn't make a cross-city trek to get there, but locals are likely to lap up its honest fare.