Come for the view stay for the food and cocktails at The Butler in Potts Point.
Take a stroll down Victoria Street in Potts Point and you might walk straight past The Butler. A subtle, freestanding sandstone building, most passersby would be completely unaware of all that awaits inside this bar and restaurant.
We step inside on a quiet weeknight into what feels like an intimate bar and waiting room. People are perched at the bar enjoying wine and cocktails. We make our way through the bar to an indoor balcony and gaze down at a dining room fit for one of Jay Gatsby’s summer parties. The atmosphere is calm and relaxed with pops of green ferns and dusty pink. The 1950s style Caribbean influences transport you to another time and place. Floating timber beams are swamped by lush greenery that hide an open kitchen and another bar in the centre of the indoor dining room.
Gliding down the stairs, the wait staff lead us outside to a patio with a view that takes our breath away. We are gifted with seats that would make real estate agent’s eyes light up. The 180-degree view of the CBD skyline is magnificent. On fit out alone we’re pretty much sold on The Butler before we even glance at the menu. Could we be more impressed? Yes. New head chef Amber Doig seals the deal with her new menu.
Originally from Christchurch, New Zealand, Doig has brought her Ibero-American heritage to Australia after refining her craft in New York City. Training under Alex Stupak, the founder of the famed Empellon restaurants in the States, Doig has reimagined The Butler’s share style dishes for the first time since it opened in late 2014.
We order two cocktails from The Butler’s list of eight specialties. The Club Fresco ($18) is light and reminds us of sunshine and garden parties. The combination of Beefeater Gin, rhubarb and ginger is elevated with pomegranate and a light and fluffy egg white foam.
At $19 the King Kona is the most expensive cocktail on the list. Fit for a jungle party, the smack of Blanco tequila and Aperol is more than enough to get the Conga line started. The fruity combination of grapefruit, lemon and passionfruit conceal any trace of alcohol. Almost too well, this goes down a treat.
The food menu includes a selection of small and large plates and a number of sides.
We begin with Sydney rock oysters ($4.50 each). Bathing in Guajillo oil and a pre-squeezed squint of lime, the oysters are a creamy sensation. Diced snippets of pickled cucumber take them to the next level. We have two each, and could easily order another dozen.
The ruby tuna tartare ($25) fully transports us to Central America. A united delight of tomatillos, turtle beans and pasilla chilli, the tuna dish is unanimously buttery but with the unexpected hint of Latin American spice.
Our final small plate is another seafood selection, the smoked cod croquettes with sauce gribiche ($16). Although the four are large for an entree, the cod doesn’t really taste smokey. Nevertheless, the dollops of sauce gribiche provide the croquettes with a nice creaminess.
Before we share our first large plate, the wait staff return with a list of wine recommendations. We are tempted by a glass of citrusy Maxwell Chardonnay ($11.50).
Bathing in a pool of beurre blanc sauce, fillets of baked barramundi ($32) rest amidst an aromatic jungle of red radishes and greenery. Pops of pink radish hide a bed of white cabbage and zesty layer of smoked tomato and pomegranate sangrita. Barely holding itself together, the baked barramundi is perfect on its own. However, the creaminess of the blanc sauce and the al dente cabbage elevates the tenderness of the filleted fish.
The slow cooked free range pork belly ($28) arrives next, four pieces sliced and rested one on top of the other. Speckled with pepitas and black garlic, the pork is tender but the crackling is a little too salt whilst the pumpkin caponta a little too sweet. We make a mental note to order the share style lamb shoulder for main next time. Several portions whizz past us to neighbouring tables and we have serious FOMO.
The Butler offers a selection of sides including flash fired cauliflower ($12). A substaintial size, the cauliflower is both crisp and delicate with shards of brown butter almonds and dollops of queso fresco.
For the sweet tooths, The Butler has a refined set of desserts and a selection of Espresso Martinis. We order ours with a twist of rum ($18).
For dessert we share the lime panna cotta ($15). The sizeable serving of citrus is accompanied by flakes of meringue and pops of raspberry syrup. Resting gracefully on the side, a snowball of coconut sorbet is creamy and delicious. The perfect way to wash down our Caribbean adventure.
The Butler has created a diverse menu that complements the eclectic design of the bar and dining room. Striking views, delicious cocktails and an approachable, tasty menu make this restaurant a wining combination.
Open Mon–Tues 4pm-late, Wed-Sat 12pm-late, Sun 12pm-10pm