Potts Point is not an area that I venture over to very much, but I really should head over more often since a lot of the restaurants on my list to try are in that area. One of those restaurants was Monopole – but thanks to a surprise dinner from the boy, I was able to cross that one off the list!
Monopole is a sleek wine bar/restaurant combo with trendy dark wooden interiors, a long bar down one side and banquette seating on the other side. There’s some contemporary art touches hanging from the ceilings – a colourful bubble of glass bulbs, as well as interesting looking strips of a dark foamy material (looks like the soundproofing foam in recording studios). The space is narrow and the small dimensions of the restaurant work to give it a more intimate vibe that’s great for dates. Tonight we decide to try their tasting menu, which seems to be good value at $65 a head for 7 courses.
First up we nibbled on a selection of house cured meats with crusty slices of bread. There was the paper thin sliver of Rangers Valley Bresaola which was infused with so much flavour, then the peppery cured Berkshire Pork Neck and finally the salty, gamey cured Duck Breast which I had never had before in cured form.
We enjoyed the Scallop Ceviche which primed our appetites for the next course. The Scallop Ceviche came with an intriguing charred avocado which tasted quite smoky, and contrasted with the puffed wheat which added a textural element. The scallops themselves were smooth and succulent, made all the more appetising with a splash of parsley oil and sweet corn.
Then out came the Seared Kingfish, which was perfectly grilled so that it was still moist inside. I liked the crunchy cornflake-like bits scattered throughout, which had a hint of green tea flavour but were still savoury somehow. This was paired with zesty heirloom tomatoes that were so fresh and barely even tasted like the conventional tomatoes we usually have. The Kingfish also went well with the creamy house-made ricotta.
Our next dish was a bit more experimental in terms of the ingredients thrown in together. The Snapper had a crispy, salty skin which contrasted with the moist flesh and was served with borlotti beans tasted like soft peanuts. Another strange textural element was the warm diced black grapes which seemed a bit jarring with the rest of the dish.
My favourite dish of the night was the Grilled Lamb Rump which was cooked to medium rare perfection, complemented by an addictive green garlic sauce, balanced out with a generous serving of spring peas and broad beans on the side.
Grilled Lamb Rump
The lamb was served with a dish which celebrated beetroot in all forms – there was both roasted beetroot and pickled beetroot, with the red witlof adding even more splashes of dark red onto the plate. I’m not a fan of beetroot generally, so I couldn’t really appreciate the different kinds of beetroot, but I didn’t mind the confit mushroom with it.
Roasted Beetroot and Confit Mushroom
The dessert was a curious mix of East meets West, with a delicate sesame sponge and crunchy sliver of sesame praline paired with a sweet mandarin curd and refreshing sorbet.
Mandarin Curd and Sorbet, Sesame Sponge and Praline
Apart from the beetroot course, I thoroughly enjoyed our meal at Monopole – I think it’s a lovely spot for a date and the tasting menu is decent value considering how well executed the food is here.