People watch away at Mistelle in Double Bay
People watching is a popular sport in Paris. The rules are simple. Wait to be seated by your Maitre d’ who will show you to a little cane table where the chairs face out onto the street. Order a glass of wine and let your gaze wander. This can be a solo sport although doubles is always fun for the running commentary. Double Bay is a long way away from Paris but we’ve found a place you can play this game right here in Sydney, it’s called Mistelle.
You’ve probably walked past Mistelle before if you do your shopping at Woolworths Double Bay. Situated on Kiora Lane it’s the unmissable little wine bar filled with French style cane tables and chairs just waiting for you to play the game. Take a seat and watch the world go by or head inside to the striking wine bar where the French theme continues.
An eclectic French soundtrack fills the room, from classic French cabaret, Edith Piaf style tunes to the relaxed vibe of the XX. The stunning sapphire blue colour scheme is worked through the interior from the velvet banquet seating to the high chairs perched at the long open bar. If outside is for Parisian people watching by day, inside is the sexy meeting point for your Parisian love affair.
Mistelle is the brainchild of Alicia Wadsworth. Hospitality is in her blood, growing up around pubs, she’s moved away from the family business of pubs and made her mark on the wine bar scene. Not without an education along the way. Get talking to Wadsworth for just a minute and you’ll realise she knows a thing or two about wine. Do a bit of digging and you’ll learn she’s a member of the Commanderie du Bordeaux, which represents Bordeaux Wines, a graduate of the Gastronomicom Wine School in Languedox, South of France. She also holds her Wine Spirit Education Trust levels 2 and 3 and a Diploma from the Sydney Wine Academy. Textbooks aside, her passion for wine is contagious.
Named after the versatile fortified wine, Mistelle has a great cocktail list full of classics and a few twists. The Liberte made with lillet blanc, Archie Rose gin, orange and bitters is a nice aperitif or for something a little lighter try an Aperol Spritz.
The beauty of Mistelle is you can spend an afternoon or maybe a happy hour having a few drinks with a cheese board or book yourself in for a long lunch or dinner.
The food is predominantly French inspired with dishes including lobster ravioli filled with lobster, crab, salmon mousse, pea puree and mistelle ($30) and grilled quail served with fois gras poilé ($29).
For mains they have a traditional double baked gruyere soufflé, sand crab, bisque and caviar ($27) and classic 300gm grass fed sirloin steak with café de paris butter ($30).
The portions are all very generous for the price but are almost trying too hard. This is especially noticeable with the desserts. There is so much happening on the plate of chocolat du démon ($15) with swirls and stripes all over the plate but very little flavour.
Whilst food is not the major draw card here at Mistelle it’s well priced and great for either sharing or ordering individual dishes. But what really shines here is the service, Wadsworth’s incredible knowledge and passion for wine and the beautiful atmosphere she’s created. Mistelle is the kind of venue that will appeal to people of all ages. At the table next to us a group of school girls in their uniforms are sharing nibbles and drinking soda whilst across the room a couple in their 60s are eating an early dinner.
Meanwhile, this girl in her 30s can’t wait for the warmer weather to arrive so I can spend my weekends drinking wine at Mistelle and playing “sport”.
16 Kiaora Ln, Double Bay NSW 2028
(02) 9326 1900
Open Tues 5pm – late, Wed – Sat 11.30am – late, Sun 11.30am – 5pm