The Intercontinental Sydney has farewelled the Meat & Wine Co from its grand 19th-century dining room, making way for to a flash new Euro-style brasserie. Head chef John Lyons (ex-Rascasse, UK; Cottage Point Inn) trained in France, and the influence is evident across the menu, with its focus on premium meat cuts served with decadent sauces.

Lyons has added his own playful Australian touches. In the scallop crudo, he replaces the traditional orange juice with mandarin in the marinade. Then there’s the Pont Potato, a crisp rectangle comprised of layers of scallop and potato in tempura batter. “It’s a playful reference to the endless conversation between Sydney and Melbourne about potato scallops versus potato cakes,” says general manager Erez Gordon (ex-Bishop Sessa, Bistro Bruno, Botanical).

Elsewhere, lobster velouté becomes Balmain bug with a garlicky rendition of the light buttery sauce; a whole roast chicken is joined by native citrus and Warrigal greens. There’s also a selection of premium Gippsland-raised steaks, and an Aussie cheese selection with Davidson’s plum chutney and a house-made lavosh.

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Another show stopper is a fillet of pan-fried Ora King salmon, from New Zealand’s spectacular Marlborough Sounds, which arrives under glass surrounded by billows of applewood smoke and accompanied by spears of local asparagus and a rich hollandaise sauce. “We bring a little of the process, not to mention the aromas, directly to the table,” says Lyons.

Complementing Lyons’ menu is a globe-spanning wine list put together by Gordon. It includes a gamay from Domaine de Chatillon in the French alpine region of Savoie ; a spicy gruuner veltliner from prestigious Austrian winery Domane Wachau (which pairs nicely with the salmon); and a fresh, medium-bodied garganega from Italy’s Cantina di Negrar. All are available by the glass. “I look for gems that provide terrific value for money,” says Gordon. “We offer all glasses in 100-millilitre [pours] too, so people have opportunities to try more wines.”

Simone Barr of Daarc Architecture was enlisted by Intercontinental owners Mulpha to revamp the 130-seat room. That meant brightening the arched windows and architraves, and creating striking stripes with navy-blue walls. Two branches of light hang from the centre of the ceiling, their porcelain leaves snaking above diners’ heads. Grand curtains, dark banquettes and wooden floorboards frame the scene.

“We’re not just a hotel restaurant,” says Gordon, “but a standalone restaurant with a creative chef at the helm.”

Pont Brasserie
Intercontinental Sydney, Shop 12/117 Macquarie Street, Sydney
(02) 9233 3323

Mon 5pm–late
Tue to Fri midday–late
Sat 5pm–late