Dear Sainte Éloise

Time Out (Sydney) - - Food & Drink - Emily Lloyd-Tait

WE’VE ALL BEEN there – so hun­gry that you’ll of­fer your shoes, your bank bal­ance or your first born for a lit­tle snack and some­thing to drink. And Dear Sainte Éloise gets it. They’ve named the new Potts Point wine bar (for­merly Water­man’s Lobster Co) for that mo­ment of blood su­gar cri­sis when Ge­orge Or­well, while

Down and Out in Paris and Lon­don, prayed to what he thought was a saint for a lit­tle sup­per.

Start with the wine. They’ve packed a whole lot of ex­cel­lent grape juice into a com­pact spot by in­stalling wine racks that ex­tend down from the ceil­ing to door height: big, ex­pen­sive drops; nicer-than-av­er­age drinkers; and ev­ery­day smash­ables, a sur­pris­ing num­ber un­der $60, with a good hand­ful un­der $50. But you’ll need to get them by the glass for the full wine sa­fari ex­pe­ri­ence. They love ries­ling here, so you could kick things off with a rich, oaky Dhron Hof­berg Fein­herb num­ber from Mosel in Ger­many that al­most has a cal­va­dos flavour to it. Or maybe a Brash Hig­gins ‘Nymph’ will court you with its in­tro­duc­tory hay and honey aroma that gives way to a bright brassi­ness. Don’t drink? They do a long­neck of non-al­co­holic ap­ple cider that’s priced like wine at $42 a bot­tle.

Wine bars, in the great Euro­pean tra­di­tion, are as much restau­rants as bars, and here is no ex­cep­tion – they are bussing some shock­ingly de­li­cious bites out of their com­pact kitchen. Oys­ters – plump, briny and in sea­son – get a fresh sparkle from fer­mented horse­rad­ish wa­ter. Stay with shell­fish and or­der the mus­sels on toast. They’re pack­ing an in­sis­tent smok­i­ness onto the rafts of charred bread with a per­fect dice of car­rot and onion and a smoky broth that soaks through the lot. The roe boats are both an ex­cel­lent pun and an adorable tiny hash brown topped with salmon roe so that it goes crunch, squish and pop when you bite down. It’s no small feat to make cel­ery a star, but here the hearts are cooked in broth un­til they’re softer than a cash­mere sweater, and part­nered with bronzed onions, the twang of fresh goat’s cheese and a medic­i­nal sharp­ness from fresh mar­jo­ram leaves. If you were look­ing for a foil for the roast pork, this is not the vegetable for the job – it’s rich and silky in its own right. How­ever, noth­ing should stop you or­der­ing those fine slices of juicy pork on a sweet re­lief of pick­led peaches spiked with mus­tard seeds and mac­er­ated grapes cooked in white wine, plus crack­ling.

Dessert of­fers sim­ple, farm­house plea­sures like a po­lenta cake soaked in syrup and sprin­kled with dry rose­mary, or an ex­tra creamy slice of the Shadow’s of Blue cheese.

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