Été French Restaurant in Barangaroo ** Has permanently closed!!
** Dear readers, this restaurant has permanently closed!!
When I think of summer in France, the thought of sunflowers, lavender, thyme and Rosé wine spring to mind as do long, lazy lunches that extend to dinners and relaxing by the Mediterranean sea or some body of refreshing water. Ete French restaurant in Sydney’s new petite Manhattan like and very cosmopolitan dining and entertainment hub in Barangaroo is a delightful summer escape to Provence when you’re craving the taste of France. Everything about this restaurant is cheerful and pleasing from the décor, cuisine, outdoor French inspired summer dining tables and banquets to the ergonomic and rustic custom dining plates and bowls to the name of the restaurant itself – “Ete” which means summer in French. After years of experience working in the reputable Vine restaurant in Double Bay, chef-proprietor Drew Bolton really seems to understand how to interpret French dining to suit the Australian mind set and to the touristy Barangaroo where a taste of something regional and modern is fused with something as familiar and desirable as French cuisine. Since everything here is all about French with a splash of modern, the name “Ete” given to the restaurant indicates just that – a cuisine and restaurant where one can experience all things French with a fresh, vibrant, exciting and very summery expression that will leave a long lasting and memorable impression indeed.
On a cool and windy Autumn night, a taste of summer is just what one needs and Ete seemed to tick all my French boxes. From the moment you step into Ete Restaurant the hint of summer is apparant from the light blue water proof cushioned seating arrangements that stretch across the width of the restaruant’s front façade, to the dried flower arrangements on the long and prettily arranged communal dining outdoor tables to the broad and expansive floor to ceiling windows that give the impression of alfresco dining from within and would allow ample natural light to filter in during the daytime. Inside the restaurant, the soft warm, muted tones of wood in the panelled ceiling, display shelving and furniture provide that necessary summer cosiness. The light and airy rattan French café chairs and the dried leaves and flowers on display that call to mind summer in Provence and is a nod to the region and its love affair with dried flower and herb displays.
Cote du Rhone and wine bottle displays throughout the restaurant offer an additional nod to Provence while an open plan kitchen reveals a glance into the prep area where chefs in their professional white garb rush about arranging and preparing stunningly presented dishes. The open kitchen offers additional Provencal warmth and spirit with the preserved vegetable jars, crockery pots and additional wine displayed on the shelving that outline the open kitchen wall. A stunning zinc bar provides the additional summery hints of warm tones in its display of vibrant and enticing bottles of wine and spirits with a feature, rustic wooden ladder displayed
within to help bring the zone back down to earth. The dining space is light, spacious and airy as are the waiters who surprisingly are not of French background as is typical in French restaurants here in Sydney so no French accents floating around here. This, however, is not surprising in a restaurant like Ete that seems to have its own original and unique vibe and French expression here. As mon mari and I make ourselves comfortable on the plush red banquette seats I notice a lovely yet simple table arrangement and a glass filled with pretty dried flowers set by a flickering tea candle. As we sip on Perrier Jouet Champagne and take a glance at the menu, our pleasure factor is amplified by the exciting, French with a twist menu items we can’t wait to sample and that call to mind our time travelling throughout the Cote d’Azure and that for me is heaven indeed.
While Ete is evidently all about summer Provencale dining and taste with a modern spin, its menu has that consistent taste of summer with additional seasonal inclusions and everything is prepared with that certain je ne sais quoi that elevates each dish above the to be expected and cliché. L’Ete or the summer is reflected in the constant classics the restaurant has on offer like charcuterie platters, classic moules frites (a personal favourite of mine), chicken liver parfaits and freshly chucked oysters. Summer on a plate can be experienced by sampling the Whiting in an oyster and mustard beurre blanc with coastal succulents or Blue Eye with leek fondue and smoked shitake and the Crab with green tomato vierge and Prawns with vermouth emulsion is a taste of summer on a plate. The Quail, Duck and Beef are magnificent choices for a taste of summer with a winter twist and cosiness especially their beef item which is served with butter greens and Cotes Du Rhone sauce. The star of the menu, in my mind, and one that should be offered as a main not only as a starter is the Woodfired Bone Marrow with truffled streusel that leaves you begging for more.
On the evening, mon mari and I sampled the Chicken Liver Parfait in salted plum jelly, octopus with almond purslane and the woodfired bone marrow to start all of which were served artfully and prepared to flavourful perfection. For mains, we sampled and highly recommend the Gnocci Parisienne with roasted squash, golden raisins and pine nuts and the Beef with bitter greens and sauce Cotes Du Rhone with a some delicious frites and the most beautifully prepared brussel sprouts you will want to replicate for your fussy kids at home. For dessert, I recommend the Crème Brulee infused with fig and served with a decadent fig infused ice cream in an equally delightful bowl custom made especially for the restaurant by Samantha Robson who makes the most gorgeous and original, rustic table wear I’ve seen in a very longtime. Mon mari, who never seems to remark on such things, couldn’t help but notice and repeatedly comment on how nice the plates and bowls were all of which elevated the dishes superbly. Something we didn’t order but would recommend on observation alone, is the Chevre with wood roasted and pickled beetroot with hollandaise, the Lamb Rack pressed belly with Jerusalem artichoke and turnip and the superb Assiette Mignardise – a selection of the restaurants finest mini desserts served on the most remarkable and attention grabbing vintage tray stand (see pics below). Equally impressive is the restaurant’s wine and drinks menu that spoils the patron for choice especially in the French wine category with top choices from most regions in France.
Summer comes and goes as do food and lifestyle trends. Restaurants like Ete, however, will be around for a long time impressing us with its down to earth yet innovative French faire with a modern Provencal summery inspiration using our local Aussie ingredients. The warmth, tastes and smells of summer in Provence seem to remain and linger in one’s mind and amplified when tasting a dish which reminds us of the happiness that summer brings. This notion of summer bliss is, I believe, to be Ete’s philosophy and expressed so brilliantly in their dishes and sauces that evoke not just the Provencal but the Australian summer so perfectly and artfully on a plate. In a city as chaotic and ever changing as Sydney it’s nice to know that in the heart of Barangaroo we can escape to summer at Ete Restaurant for a short while and delight in the taste of summer expressed so magnificently in the food, wine and the pretty décor. As the poem goes, “Smell the sea and feel the sky. Let your soul and spirit fly for it is summer and the days drift gently by”. Dear readers, are you entranced by Ete French Restaurant inspired by France?
Ete Modern French Restaurant
100 Barangaroo Avenue, Barangaroo NSW
T: 02 9052 5383