When it comes to dining in Sydney it’s certainly not all about the view, but a breathtaking vista of the sun setting behind the city definitely sets an impressive benchmark for the culinary experience to follow.
Owners Hamish Watts and Ben Carroll have opened the latest in a series of hit restaurants under the Applejack Hospitality Group name (Bondi Hardware, The Botanist, and SoCal). The Butler takes its name from one of the location’s predecessors, Butlers Restaurant, a celebrity hotspot in the ‘70s and ‘80s.
Trading as Italian stalwart Mezzaluna for more than 20 years, the location has been entirely reimagined to give diners a French Colonial-inspired experience. Tan wicker cane chairs, neutral wood, leather banquettes and an abundance of foliage combine to do justice to the panoramic CBD views. Service is attentive and informed.
The French-inspired menu is perfectly suited to long, luxurious lunches on the generous terrace. Start with spiced olives or bread with rosemary-smoked butter, then delve into the seafood; rich salted-cod croquettes with Indian-spiced aioli, fresh tuna carpaccio with capers, yoghurt and tortilla crisps or snapper fillet with carrot, dukkah and eel butter.
The Creole lamb ribs and the crisp pork belly with mushroom crepinettes and lentils are more substantial. Or try The Butler's take on a classic steak frites, featuring a more than shareable 450-gram beef rib eye with parsley butter and tapenade.
To drink there's a well-balanced selection of Australian and French varietals, and a carefully curated cocktail list. Try The Grand Butler, a delicate composition of Bulleit rye whiskey, Antica Formula vermouth, salted caramel and rhubarb bitters. For espresso martini fans, the mixologists here have three on offer – vodka coconut, maple rum or cinnamon and cognac. And for those long lunches, there’s a cocktail carafe selection to peruse.