In times of darkness it pays to let the light in, and Brent Savage is doing just that. Monopole, his much loved wine bar in Sydney's Potts Point, is one of the darkest dining rooms in town, but the Bentley Group executive chef is relocating it to a light-filled space overlooking Australia Square in the CBD.
Like the rest of the hospitality industry, the Bentley stable of restaurants – Bentley Restaurant & Bar, Yellow, Cirrus – has been rocked by the current health crisis, but inertia is not an option. "We're trying to be really positive right now," says Savage.
By day, the new Hunter Street digs will be a French-ish bistro lunch spot for the corporate set serving Savage's take on salad Niçoise and steak frites; by night, a snack-driven wine bar, featuring Hildebrandt's head-turning, globe-trotting drinks list.
For the past eight years, Monopole has established itself as a hubbub of neighbourly bonhomie, excellent food and fine wine on Macleay Street. The planned move to the CBD was on the cards pre-COVID-19, and Savage and co-owner-sommelier Nick Hildebrandt are determined to see through Monopole's next evolution. "We're trying to get on with life and get on with what we're doing."
Savage is confident the charm of the original Monopole will translate to the business precinct. There's more light, yes, but "the bones are very similar." Pascale Gomes-McNabb, the designer behind a string of Bentley Group venues, has once again been tasked with reimagining the new site. A marble bar looking into the kitchen, a la Potts Point, will feature, as will floor-to-ceiling glass doors and blonde-wood tables and chairs.
And there's plans afoot for the Macleay Street site, but Savage is keeping shtum for now. "There's another exciting part of the story after we move. It's part of our whole holistic view on the Group and how we're moving forward."
Monopole Potts Point will close in September, and the new CBD site will launch in October.