A team of chefs, sous-chefs and managers from some of Sydney’s favourite restaurants have joined forces. Potts Point’s newest French bistro, Bistro Rex, is slated to open the first week of March.
The brasserie will combine talents from Jo Ward (former owner of Bloodwood ; sous chef Michelle Powell (bar manager at Spice Temple; Baci Moore (former manager of Spice Temple); and Josh Dunne (sommelier at China Doll).
Also behind Bistro Rex are Nick Matthews Bowden and Kirk Matthews Bowden.
“The owners will be completely hands-on. We’ll be working in the kitchen, in the bar, on the floor. It’ll be all of us there all the time,” says Nick Matthews Bowden.
Ralph Rembel is behind the interior, and is reinventing the classic Parisian bistro. With French-oak finishes, mosaic tiling and touches of copper and zinc, the style will be classic yet contemporary. “It needs to belong in Sydney 2017,” says Nick. “We’d actually like it to belong in Sydney 2027.”
The 118-seater will have an expansive bar that wraps around the kitchen. This is where you’ll find some of the best seats in the house because you can watch the chefs at work.
Despite the big names behind this project, a local feel will be integral to Bistro Rex’s charm. “We’re invoking the casual nature of the bistro style,” says Nick. “Like any other restaurant in Potts Point, you can still bring your mum here for her birthday and it will be an occasion, but it’s more the type of place you feel comfortable popping into on your way back from the gym or work.”
The head chef, Jo Ward (Bloodwood), will use French cooking techniques for a menu that is Parisian in style. Ward will also take inspiration from the French colonies, with a particular focus on West Africa, such as the poached chicken breast. It will be served with black olives and confit-leg-and-harissa broth.
“The menu will be adventurous but still accessible, while discovering a whole new world of fresh and vibrant produce,” says Ward.
Dishes will include a pissaladière caramelised-onion tart with anchovy and black olives; a king prawn beignet with cucumber, iceberg and fermented chilli aioli; and a grilled half duck with toasted kale, currant grapes and marc de Bourgogne.
The wine list will be broad; 300 wines with a focus on French varietals. The diversity of choice is immense, with wine from new-world producers and an impressive aged selection, all chosen by sommelier Josh Dunne (China Doll).