A popular tale is that the word “bistro” or “bistrot” originated from the Russian word for “quickly”, which was allegedly shouted by Russian officers or Cossacks who occupied Paris, following the Napoleonic Wars, and wanted to be served quickly. “Bistrot, bistrot,” they would shout!
Bistrot 916 – in Potts Point, Sydney – states that it offers “service rapide” or quick service. It typifies the classic French bistro. Located amongst the charming terraces of Potts Point, this fabulous little French bistro offers a range of classic French fare.
With bentwood chairs, timber tables with pink tablecloths, and lit with pendant lights and candles, the atmosphere is dark and cosy. Waitstaff in white jackets deliver the food and drinks with professional flair. The service is quick but not frenetic. The space is fun and busy, full of couples, families and conviviality.
Dan Pepperell (ex-Alberto’s Lounge, 10 William St and Hubert) has a menu that includes many French classics, with a modern twist. Snails lightly grilled in a parsley garlic butter are served in vibrant green snail shell pasta. Scallops are marinated in tiger’s milk, whilst a boudin noir is wrapped in spring roll pastry – crisp, sweet, rich and earthy served with fresh mint and an apple cider vinegar dipping sauce. There are lamb brains served with smoked eel mayonnaise and an excellent tender grilled lamb tongue served with wasabi and citrus salt.
For mains there are the traditional bistro staples – steak, duck and lobster served with frites, as well as fish and some specials. Finish with cheese, chocolate mousse or a deliciously delicate crème caramel laced with wine from the Loire Valley.
There is an excellent wine list with both Australian and French offerings, as well as a full cocktail bar.
This is simple, elegant well-crafted modern French bistro cuisine served in a casual, friendly accessible venue. Definitely worth a detour.
By Jeremy Ryland
22 Challis Avenue, Potts Point NSW 2011
02 9167 6667
Open: Lunch – Friday to Sunday 12pm-3pm; Dinner – Monday to Sunday from 5pm
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Image credits: Jeremy Ryland