North Sydney has become a serious dining destination in recent years. But its biggest magnet yet might be Poetica, an expansive bar and grill from Etymon Projects, the group behind The Charles Grand Brasserie & Bar and Milson Point’s Loulou.

On the ground level, tidal swirls of blues and caramel – by Noosa-based artist Kristian Hawker – invite you in off the street, where two flights of stairs take you to the 120-seat restaurant and adjoining 60-seat bar. The atmosphere is breezy, courtesy of a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows that brings sunlight streaming in.

In the restaurant, blond timber furniture is accented with soft finishes in mustard and cream, while striking Pringle-like discs float overhead. The tableware is smooth and artful, and wood-handled cutlery sits heavy in hands. Along one wall, a 700-bottle wine cooler stands next to dry-aging fridges with premium cuts of meat labelled and on display for curious customers. Swordfish spends seven days maturing, while sirloins and tomahawks push a month.

The menu is approachable and impressive, prepared and cooked in an open kitchen; a centrepiece hearth intermittently casts bursts of warmth across diners’ faces. When Broadsheet previewed the opening, it was the flambadou oysters that piqued curiosity.

After that red-hot starter, there are yuzu-koshu scallops and leeks braised in the flames to join catch from Smoketrap Eels, and roast chook seasoned with mussels. To finish, try the mandarin granita with brûlée cream – it’s a standout dessert reminiscent of a summer’s day Splice.

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Updated: October 6th, 2023

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