So far, most of the places I have reviewed in Sydney have been largely seafood-focused beachside restaurants. Wanting to add a more city-based eatery to the mix, I followed a reader’s recommendation to try brand new restaurant The Butler in Potts Point.
This lovely restaurant stands in the same spot that was once Butlers Restaurant (hence the name) in the ‘80s, in a beautiful high-ceilinged colonial building. It spreads across two floors, with a bar on each and a huge veranda overlooking the CBD. I must have taken at least 20 photos of the view, wanting to capture all the beautiful colours as the day turned to night.
The Butler’s menu is predominantly French, with a hint of Caribbean flavours, and dishes are designed to be shared, tapas-style. After a round of cocktails, we started with some salted cod croquettes. Successfully balancing that all-important crunch with a soft, creamy centre, these croquettes were simply perfect and I loved how they were served with curried mayo.
I was also impressed by the beef and spiced pork sliders. The meat was deliciously succulent, with an interesting flavour that lingered on the palate, almost making me crave a second.
Tabasco is something that, along with Ketchup, mayonnaise and whipped cream, I would never willingly add to my food. I was therefore ever so hesitant about the Tabasco prawns at The Butler. It seems, however, that, when combined with juicy prawns, fresh mango salsa and coconut quinoa, Tabasco can actually create something quite delicious.
From the ‘greenery’ section of the menu, the grilled zucchini with goat’s cheese and basil was another lovely dish. Although the main ingredients had a mild, subtle flavour, a scattering of fennel seeds brought these out, without stealing their limelight.
Another simple dish that people can often get so wrong is steak tartare. And yet The Butler’s version, with hand-cut, perfectly seasoned steak, might possibly have been one of the best I’ve had to date.
Perhaps my favourite dish of the night, which we only ordered as an afterthought, were the Creole spiced lamb ribs. Although the meat looked somewhat dry, it was far from it, and fell easily off the bone. Beneath the stack of bones was a lovely mix of walnuts, olives and fennel that nicely balanced the spices.
There is only one choice of dessert per night at The Butler, which changes as and when the chef decides. Having read about how amazing the chocolate mousse is, we had high hopes that it would still be on the menu, but alas, it was not. Our dessert was instead a cherry trifle, which I must say tasted a lot better than it sounded, with tart, fresh cherries to counterbalance the sweet custard.
Our bill, for more than enough food, a round of cocktails and a bottle of wine, came to AUD238 (approximately HKD1500) for four, which was less than I had anticipated for such a beautiful restaurant with a spectacular view and excellent service. The Butler presents its own refreshing spin on French cuisine that ties in with the restaurant’s motto: “mangez bien, riez souvent, aimez beaucoup” (eat well, laugh often, love a lot). It will without a doubt go on my list of recommendations for anyone visiting Sydney in the near future.
123 Victoria Street
Tel: +61 2 8354 0742