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By Kevin Cheng
December 06, 2013
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By Kevin Cheng
December 06, 2013
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BOOK A TABLE

Every suburb needs a bistro. Not just the Australian bistro found inside pubs, but a neighbourhood restaurant, serving simple French-inspired food. The kind of place where people can rest their arms on white tablecloths, drink French wine and sink their spoons into souffles. The 'go-to' restaurant to suit any occasion and welcome you with open arms. And most importantly, it should be as comfortable as your own home.

Macleay St Bistro in Potts Point is the essence of the neighbourhood restaurant. It's been open for nearly 30 years and is still going strong thanks to new owners (and Potts Point locals) Mark Campbell and Phillip Fikkers.

Walking inside from the bustling Macleay Street, it feels as though you're entering someone's home. The lighting has a warming glow with the mood casual. Diners sit fairly close to each other and there's a calming hum coming from the kitchen while waiters are darting around tending to guests.

The menu is short and straight to the point. The rock oysters with eschallot and champagne vinaigrette ($4 each) and the half-shell scallops with saffron chive and caper butter ($5 each) are a promising start. The accompaniments don't steal the thunder from the headline acts of oysters and scallops, which are incredibly fresh.

The special of fried lamb's brains with celeriac pepperade ($18) is excellent. The crispy batter acts as the perfect coat for the soft brains, which had a similar consistency to the inside of a croquette. Combined with the celeriac sauce, it is magic.

The organic grass-fed eye fillet with wilted silverbeet and sauce soubise ($38) was enjoyable but promised so much more. The steak lacked a touch of seasoning but this was saved by the beautifully rich sauce.

To finish, the hazelnut mille feuille with coffee anglais ($15) reminded me of a dessert sandwich. Delicate cream was sandwiched by crunchy sheets of rich pastry and rested on a sauce with a hint of coffee. Instead of tasting an intense espresso, the mille feuille harmonised flavours of hazelnut and coffee with the rich cream and pastry.

Although none of the dishes we tasted had the three-hat knockout punch, Macleay St Bistro consistently exceeds expectations in every department. The food, the service and the ambience make for an enjoyable evening.

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