Sydney's new wine bar is going back to basics.
Potts Point nightlife? Not a contradiction in terms - especially if new wine bar Dear Sainte Éloise, which opens in mid-May, has anything to do with it.
Matt Swieboda and three of his alumni from Darlinghurst laneway bar Love, Tilly Devine are rebooting his Llankelly Place eatery, Waterman's Lobster Co - out go the lobster rolls, in come more of a wine focus and a new menu. "We're looking back to those original Tilly days," says Swieboda. "Something pared-back and nourishing, with beautiful and simple food and lots more vegetables."
The menu, written fresh each afternoon, runs to about eight dishes. Expect small plates such as burrata with smoked oil and charred bread, or cucumbers with lard and horseradish. More substantial fare will include the likes of smoked mulloway with Jerusalem artichokes, octopus with buttermilk and burnt leek, and roast chicken with eggplant and salsa agresto. Ben Abiad is the chef - he's clocked time at Sean's and Mecca, and co-founded Brickfields Bakery in Chippendale.
The name Dear Sainte Éloise was taken from George Orwell's Down and Out in Paris and London, in which the writer prays for "just enough to buy some bread and a bottle of wine". There'll be far more than the one bottle to sustain you at Dear Sainte Éloise: the new venue will offer a globetrotting wine list of 300-plus labels - a joint effort by Swieboda and partners Nate Hatwell (Mercado) and Jasmin Natterer (Sager + Wilde, London). The list will give a voice to "young, entrepreneurial and experimental producers", says Swieboda, while also paying homage to more established winemakers who helped pave the way for the new and natural. The wines of Domaine Pierre Overnoy in the Jura, and Frédéric Cossard in Burgundy are standouts, next to Australian bottles ranging from Mount Mary to Patrick Sullivan.
Inside, the 40-seater will be "more mature" than Waterman's - the pale blues and light timber swapped for earthier colours and a darker, more moody design. There'll be two park-style benches out the front, too, along with a scattering of French wine bar-style tables for aperitivo hour, and the kitchen will stay open until 11.30pm.
"We want to be the last kitchen closed down this end of Potts Point," says Swieboda. "Perfect for late, long nights."
Dear Sainte Éloise opens 23 May.
Shop 5, 29 Orwell St, Potts Point, NSW. Open Mon-Thurs 5pm-midnight, Fri-Sat noon-midnight, Sun noon-10pm.