The Butler Potts Point
123 Victoria Street , Potts Point NSW
(02) 8354 0742
In the 1980s, 123 Victoria Street was occupied by the iconic Butler’s restaurant – a celebrity hotspot run by Danish chef, Mogens Bay Esbensen. In the 2000s, this same spot was reimagined as a fresh and modern bistro that honours its predecessor through its structure, food and service.
The Butler is just one of many Potts Point restaurants and bars, and yet it stands as one of the suburb’s finest – not least because of the panoramic view of The Domain and the city skyline from its covered verandah.
Hamish Watts and Ben Carroll, the guys behind Applejack Hospitality, inherited this space in 2014 and transformed it into a buzzing restaurant and bar. With three incredibly successful venues under their belts – Bondi Hardware, The Botanist Kirribilli and SoCal in Neutral Bay – The Butler was always going to be great. They installed exotic wallpaper inside, a forest-like garden outside and reached out to chef that knew his way around the flavours of modern Australia.
Kasper Christensen is that chef, responsible for presenting share plates infused with contemporary flavours. Hailing from Denmark, it was his affinity with nature that inspired a lifetime of cooking, with an emphasis on using seasonal, locally grown and foraged produce. He holds over 20 years of experience in the industry to his name, with notable stints as the private chef to the Danish royal family, with Peter Gilmore at Quay and as part of the Noma team when they popped up in Sydney. In his newest role, he’s infusing every one of these experiences into each dish, applying those same fine-dining touches to a more relaxed menu.
Every dish is designed to share, so there’s more than one opportunity to try something new. The torched salmon with puffed rice, sesame and nori draws on global influences, as does the fried chicken slider and pork croquette – albeit from completely different countries.
Sensational seafood is celebrated through both the small and large plates, with dishes including charred prawns with salsa verde and shellfish oil; tuna tartare with edamame, quinoa and shiso; octopus with burnt apple, dill and sea herbs, and swordfish, served with an interesting combination of toasted milk, fennel and lemon.
Meat mavens fear not – there is also much for you to enjoy. Slow-cooked Wagyu caps off a selection of larger plates that also includes lamb belly with yoghurt, olive and preserved lemon, and pork shoulder paired with chestnut, prunes and black garlic.
The Butler’s drinks list is equally as extensive – the cocktail list alone has three different types of espresso martinis, as well as a range of bottled concoctions and carafes. After all, if you’re sharing the food, you might as well share a drink too. Wine lovers will also be delighted by the variety on offer; featured bottles come from as far as France but as close as Orange, in the New South Wales Central Ranges.
The Butler’s location and design provided the perfect base for any restaurant, but Applejack has taken it a few steps further, presenting food and drink options that are on par with the panoramic views. You’ll struggle to decide which part you like best, but therein lies The Butler’s best asset: you can experience all three at once.