As we think about spring – look around. Our gardens are blooming (that’s if you have green fingers!), neighbourhoods and streets are bursting with flowers, new growth and the joy of sunshine. So why not restaurants? Just follow the mural signage from designer and artist E miel Saada, aka Meilo,
at the main entrance to The Butler in Potts Point.
Applejack have put all their creative powers into The Butler In Bloom – a celebration of spring. We first reviewed it in 2015 and to re walk those steps downwards is glorious. The Butler’s beauty is more than skin deep as our review of the food will show.
The space is transformed thanks to Sydney-based floral studio Boutierre Girls. We walk into a flowery oasis that the Chelsea Flower Show would be jealous of. Wicker peacock chairs are instagramable thrones and downstairs the outdoor terrace has been transformed with a floral archways of colours and blooms.
We sit at our high chair table overlooking the terrace filled with groups (mostly women) enjoying carafes of white sangria and glasses sparkling wine. We opt for the new cocktail range developed with Lillet incorporating seasonal fruits, herbs and spices. The Lillet Spritz reminds us of a refined Pimms – thanks to Strawberry, Cucumber, Mint and Soda.
It works well with our starters of Ora King salmon. Furled slices are a catwalk line up of pickled pasilla, segments of grapefruit and a morish Xnipec Yucatan salsa made with fresh habanero peppers, tomato, onion, sour orange juice. It’s so flavourful we want a bowl of it. A crispy wagyu, oxtail and potato empanada is showered with ricotta salta and served with a side of red chile salsa. Next up is a playful dish of charred sweetcorn on sticks, served with tortilla chips and chipotle emulsion. This is so much fun.
Onto the grown up stuff. Head chef Amber Doig nails it again with more Ibero-American wonder dishes. ‘Principales’ starts wih a beautiful bowl of picture perfect barra, with super golden crispy skin and creamy buttery flesh sitting ontop of a power green pash of pistachio mole verde. It’s simply delicious. Three burnished confit duck legs are stacked over a red chile tamal, mole negro dusted with seseme seeds. ‘Plantas’ sides are enhanced with a fruity Fairbank Viognier from Macedon Ranges in VIC. Flash fried cauliflower has golden tinges enhanced by generous lashing of brown butter sliced almonds.
Its time to order a coconut espresso martini and pair it with ‘Milhojas’ which is a mean-ass mille-feuille pastry (think the A-Team, strength!) layered vanilla cream, pistachio, orange ice cream on a pool of dulce de leche. It’s served on Royal Doulton’s Signature 1815 collection. This is just one of a pop-up menu of four new desserts.
This is one hell of a meal. This is one heck of a chef. This food has so much sass, attitude and orignality you could almost forget where you are.
The flowers are pretty, cocktails are fun, service is well paced but the food speaks for itself, flowers optional.
123 Victoria Street, Potts Point, 2011
Hours: Tues 4pm – late, Wed to Sun 12pm – late
The Butler in Bloom 2020 brings together fan-favourites including the ever-popular Bottomless Sunday Lunch and Golden Hour Spritzing.