When news of Moon Park’s closure broke in 2017, there were a lot of sad faces in Sydney. Two of them belonged to Paul Allam and David McGuinness, the owners of Bourke Street Bakery. So they offered up Bourke Street Bakery Potts Point to Moon Park’s owners Ben Sears, Ned Brookes and Eun Hee An.
The bunker-like space reopened as Paper Bird, an all-day cafe-diner serving a casual, more broadly East Asian version of what the trio cooked at Moon Park. It's based on Korean cuisine but there are a lot of Chinese and Japanese influences.
In the mornings there’s royal Korean-style congee stewed with milk and served with crab, scallions and doughnut sticks; mushrooms and fried eggs on potato bread; and English muffins topped with fried chicken, cheese and bacon.
At night it gets more playful and technical. For snacks there’s Chongqing-style caramelised spicy popcorn with peanuts and xi’an cumin lamb sausage rolls. Bigger dishes include a crab and brussels sprout bibimbap and miso hot pot.
The bar transforms depending on the time of day. For coffee or takeout there’s a grab-and-go counter with a glass fridge of sambos and salads. Those after a late-night drink can sit at the bar and look through Tai Tate and Ned Brookes’s complication of wines, cocktails, sakes and Korean beers.
Visually it's not a huge departure from what was here. The designer (Phillip Arnold, also a former Moon Park customer) kept the bones; bar and stools at the front, dining tables out back. The biggest change is some wood panelling along the walls and a fresh coat of aqua paint.