Mode Kitchen and Bar is an opulent-looking restaurant. The Luchetti Krelle design is Art Deco inspired: green velvet, brass, leather and polished stone. It’s like something out of The Great Gatsby. A lot of people will no doubt see it for the first time and assume it’s a high-end fine diner with a degustation menu and the prices to go along with it. Not so.

“It's uncomplicated. It's something approachable to everyone. This is my food. I’ve always liked this,” says Francesco Mannelli, the head chef (ex est. and Balla).

One of the dishes he’s most proud of is an aged T-bone steak done Florentine style (a massive cut grilled over charcoal) with just olive oil, salt and mustard on the side. From the wood-fired oven there’s a whole fish (whatever is fresh on the day); and a few tentacles of Freemantle octopus served over a reduced potato and leek soup thick enough to be considered a puree, seasoned with paprika-infused olive oil.

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“That was the first dish I made here, I think it will be one of our signature dishes. Freemantle has fantastic quality octopus.”

After that you might eat a macadamia-flour carrot cake with fresh citrus and crunchy shaved carrots. “I always spend lots of time in Spain in summer, I have family there. I always found it funny that after a meal they serve a fresh orange with cinnamon powder. It's an explosion of flavour, I wanted to play with this,” says Mannelli.

As you’d expect from an ambitious, produce-driven kitchen, a lot of the menu will be rejigged as the weather shifts. The approach, roughly defined by Mannelli as modern Mediterranean, will stay the same, though. In the future expect more aged meat and charcuterie. “We are doing charcuterie now but it’s not ready yet. [Dry aging] is definitely something we would like to do more,” says Mannelli.

Drinks are poured from an open-air stone bar with plush stools. An extensive wine list (international but Australian dominated) accompanies twists on classic cocktails; the star of which is the signature gin and tonic made with Archie Rose dry gin and StrangeLove’s rosemary-and-orange-infused tonic.

Mode Kitchen and Bar
Ground Floor, Four Seasons Hotel Sydney, 199 George Street, Sydney
(02) 9250 3160

Daily 12pm–10pm