t’s amazing the things that seem to pop up overnight when a neighbourhood is on the make. What’s one day a dark street corner, the former site of a late night bar, can the very next seem to come alive with people, produce, great food, natural wine and a warmth that hints at its Parisienne heart.
So it was when the delightful Chez Dee sprung up in the week before Bastille Day, set in the two-storey double terrace that previously housed Tonic Bar in the side streets of Potts Point.
Feeling a little out of character for the Cross, Chez Dee is emblematic of the ever-increasing array of interesting offerings that continue to crop up in Sydney’s inner east locales, daring to be a little different as they carve out a niche in what was once a fairly stale scene.
With a glass cabinet full of goodness, walls lined with artisanal gourmet products and enticing aromas wafting from the kitchen, Chez Dee is equal parts cafe, provedore, wine bar and takeaway food shop, and they are doing every element very well.
Breakfast can range from poached eggs with mushrooms and Hollandaise to baked eggs, showered with generously shaven fresh black truffle. Lunch offerings vary daily, channelling the spirit of London’s much-loved Ottolenghi, which built a reputation on its ever-changing menu rife with abundant fresh produce.
In the early evenings, the laidback atmosphere makes Chez Dee the perfect spot to stop off after work for a glass of wine (some organic), before heading off with something from their selection of more substantial take home dinners.
Co-owner Byron Woolfrey has a pedigree that includes a few years managing the bar at Tetsuya’s, writing the wine list at Pier in Rose Bay and, more recently, working with Merrivale to open a couple of the other new arrivals to the local small bar and food scene.
But despite his hospitality blood, Woolfrey, business partner Denise Fisher and chef James Roberts – “the backbone of what we are doing here” – are creating something that stands on its own in the area, if only for its lack of pretence and genuine determination to be what it will be.
“We were basically trying to create a space that, although it’s a little eclectic in style, would give locals that sense of a home away from home,” Woolfrey says.
The evolution of Chez Dee was always intended to be a natural one, defined more by the wants and likes of the locals who come by and that continues to be the driving charter.
On the horizon are Chez Dee High Teas to be held upstairs in the cheery lounge space; house-made preserves, pickles and jams straight from the kitchen; as well as flower arranging classes and guest chef dinners at the large, familial wooden table that takes pride of place in the main room.
Who wouldn’t want a home like that?
62–64 Kellett Street, Potts Point
(02) 8354 1544
Tues to Sun 8am–9pm