There's been quite a bit of kerfuffle in the world of restaurants lately, about turning away customers who are late (or aren't all present). While almost 100% of the time, I've always called in advance, if I was running a few minutes late, the truth is, on this particular occasion, I didn't.
Yep, name and shame away...
My excuse? "You didn't tell me I'd have to walk up hill in these heels on our date night!" I screamed to Zen, as he was about to do a tight U-turn to squeeze into one of the only parking spots we'd spotted.
Sometimes what I do isn't logical at all. We had already driven up and down the street several times and this spot was just about five blocks away.
But I insisted I'd never had to park so far in Potts Point before so he followed my advice to find a closer spot... Every turn of a corner, was followed with a glimmer of hope. Soon, five minutes past. Then ten minutes. Then fifteen. Hope was slowly fading. We were so fixated on finding a parking spot that I didn't even realize it had reached thirty minutes past our reservation time.
We ended up parking an entire suburb away. Our original idea to cycle into Potts Point didn't seem so silly after all. At least we would've been seated and eating by now.
There's a first for everything isn't there? This is the first and last time I'll ever rock up late to a restaurant without notifying them.
Thankfully our table was still there when we arrived!
Macleay Street Bistro is almost as old as I am. It was established in the 80's, some 25 years ago. The space is sophisticated but cozy... I also hear that after an eight year absence from the kitchen, head chef Clancy Atkinson has returned...
With all that parking drama now aside, we're quick to settle in, ready for yet another indulgent date night.
So we start by sharing the chicken liver pâté ($12). The tower of pate is topped with some pickled red grapes and served with a side of watercress and toast. It's a timeless favourite I will always love, so smooth, rich and delicious. We smother each piece of toast with a more than generous smear of the paste. The peppery sharpness of the watercress and the tangy sweetness of the grapes adds excitement to each mouthful.
Then onto entrees, I have the classic style steak tartare with crostini ($21.50/$36), which turns out to include a complete show with adjacent tables watching on.
Bottles of olive oil, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco sauce are first brought out, then the most perfect arrangement is served. The waiter offers to combine it for me and in an instant, he's mixing it with great speed and gracefulness.
The tartare is sumptuous; the flavours are beautifully balanced and really enjoyable although I struggle to finish it all (especially since I've managed to devour more toast).
Meanwhile, Zen's grilled scallops, with salad of grapefruit, snow pea, peanuts, ginger & chilli caramel ($18) is a much more sensible serving size. The scallops are gorgeously seared and the textures and colours of the salad are vibrant and inviting.
For main course, Zen has the char-grilled Riverina lamb backstrap ($36) with shaved carrot, pea and cress salad, and pea cream, and I have the cotoletta of free range pork, lemon thyme & parmesan with Italian coleslaw ($32).
His lamb is juicy and pink, but as I've never been very fond of lamb, I'm more interested in the pea cream.
Now back to my colossal cotoletta... As a main course on its own, I'm sure I would've smashed this no problems. But because we had such substantial appetisers, and entrees, for once, I'm feeling intimated by food.
The golden crust, the moist succulent pork, the colourful coleslaw... It is all visually captivating but there's just so much of it!
Nonetheless, I power on, taking long pauses between every bite, but still appreciating the finer qualities of such a tender cut of pork.
In fact, I even have a significant amount of the French fries ($8). They don't call me a carb queen for no reason!
To finish, we share the raspberry pannacotta ($15) which is served with macerated summer berries & candied almonds. The pannacotta is strangely too tart for my liking, and the strawberries, too sour. But the candied almonds are the type of stuff that would make all Crunchy Nut lovers weak at the knees. As they say, it is irresistibly tasty!
As you can see, this turned out to be quite the date night - the pate and steak tartare being the highlights - what a Parisian tease! It's a pity the hike back to the car was like a walk of shame. It was a long reminder that sometimes, I'm wrong.
Macleay Street Bistro
73a Macleay Street, Potts Point NSW
Phone: (02)9358 4891
JENIUS and partner dined as guests of Exposure PR and Macleay Street Bistro