Bridge Street is buzzing with the addition of Bouche on Bridge
There’s an eerie quietness to George Street with the new road works happening but there is one part of the Sydney CBD that appears to be buzzing, with new restaurant openings at least. It’s here on Bridge, near the corner of George Street that you’ll find the new restaurant and bar by English-born Executive Chef Harry Stockdale-Powell (ex Rockpool 1989, Marque) and business partner Emma Darrouzet, Bouche on Bridge.
French for ‘mouth’, Bouche is a modern European experience located almost directly opposite Neil Perry’s Eleven Bridge (Formerly Rockpool Est. 1989). I hear someone joke at the restaurant opening that Harry and his former colleagues can wave at each other from across the road. Then of course there’s Mr Wong’s down the laneway and if you venture further up the road you’ll find Mike Mcenearney’s new restaurant No.1 Bent St. Bridge Street is alive and kicking.
Enter Bouche of Bridge and you’ll be immediately presented with two options. Head left up the stairs into the main restaurant or right, down the stairs into a 60-seater bunker style wine and cocktail bar known as The Cellar.
A right turn before dinner will lead you underground to what feels like a modern speakeasy bar. Ex Bulletin Place bartender Matt Linklater has been recruited as the Head Bartender and is responsible for the cocktail list. Following the lead of Bulletin Place the focus is on fresh, seasonal produce with some interesting creations including the Crust Buster made with Armagnac, fennel, Liquore Strega and liquorice rum served short and sharp ($20). Linklater is passionate about minimising waste and takes advantage of off cuts such as pineapple skin, spine and pulp to create these cocktails. You’ll notice this with the Ananastic cocktail made with Absinthe, fino, pineapple skins, mint ($18). The Cellar dining menu offers a rotating list of bites including oysters, cured meats and cheeses.
Meanwhile, upstairs Stockdale-Powell has created a Modern European menu using local produce that supports sustainable practices. And if downstairs is all about bunkering down for afterwork drinks, upstairs is all about high ceilings and relaxed, fine dining. The interiors have been designed by Rad Studio (Riley St Garage, York Trading & Co., Mille Vini) and are sophisticated but raw. The original timber and brickwork is intact to honour the building’s 130-year history. There’s white washed walls brick walls with cracks mixed with refined metals throughout.
The thoughtful design continues to the tables where unique hand made crockery has been chosen to really make each dish pop on the plate. When it comes to the food Stockdale-Powell has created a menu designed share and distinguishes the dishes by their origins of either the land, the farm or the sea. He also tries to use as many cuts of the same animal as possible over the course of the day.
From beautifully presented kingfish with beetroot and pomelo to a tasty little serving of beer cheek hot pot everything is very thoughtful here at Bouche on Bridge. The kitchen team keeps produce in-house wherever possible with the bread, cultured butter, cold-pressed olive oil and cured meats all made on site.
Stand out dishes for us include the asparagus with hens yolk and grains. Break the yolk and mix it through the grains like a tartare for taste and texture. The diamond clams with celeriac and beer are another winner with fresh clams bursting with flavour. As you progress through to heavier dishes the Landfall lamb with smoked buckwheat and chanterelles is soft, tender and pairs well with a serve of baked mash. Order a glass of wine from the 300-strong wine list hand-selected by Head Sommelier Seamus Brandt (ex Rockpool Bar & Grill). The wine list highlights the diversity of new world wine as well as the classics.
Moving on to dessert and the innovative flavour combos continue with dishes such as the beetroot, goats milk, liquorice ($18). For a citrus hit try the mandarin, shortbread and fennel dish ($18) and for the chocolate lovers you’ll want to order the giant Ferrero Rocher ball ($16).
Stockdale-Powell says: “Bouche brings together our fine dining food and service experience but in a more relaxed atmosphere. Basically, somewhere we’d go for lunch, dinner or even just a drink a few times a week, not only for a special occasion.” The 80-seater restaurant caters for lunch and dinner six days a week and is sure to be the go-to place for corporate lunches and dinners this festive season.
Bouche on Bridge
6 Bridge St, Sydney NSW 2000
02 8278 9400
Restaurant open: Mon – Fri 12pm – late, Sat 5pm – late Bar open: Mon – Sat 4pm to late