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Eating with the AU: One Moncur, Woollhara (Sydney)

Located in a Woollahra residential area, sits the historic Pheonix Hotel, revamped and turned into a unique champagne and wine bar by owners Anthony and Luke. While this may initially sound like an expensive place to spend the night, the One Moncur team have done their very best at catering to all budgets.

Light jazz music adds well to a relaxed atmosphere, amongst the archaic décor which centres around vineyard-inspired pieces hanging above a beautiful marble bar. The owners’ personal designer has done well to stick to their idea of ‘French Provincial meets a modern edge’ with plush, custom-made furniture in front of the bar and cute wallpaper showing bottles of champagne. The front of the venue, however, looked out of place, with a bistro type set-up. Also, the lack of a proper kitchen has head chef Sam Gale working front of house, his small kitchen set-up an extension of the bar. The kitchen seems to add charm to the place though, but has me wondering if they can handle a busy day and still be fast and efficient when it comes to food.

Over 30 types of champagne, by the bottle; an impressive list of quality wines; and imported craft beers, await those who love their drinks. For those that love their food, One Moncur offers a nice range of tapas-style dishes. My guest and I were treated to several of these delights.

Food

When they first opened up, One Moncur started with just oysters and only a small selection of dishes, now there are 23 items on the food menu to ensure drinks aren’t the only attraction.

First up was starter item black figs stuffed with blue cheese, walnuts, dark chocolate and balsamic ($9) and it came with a beautiful presentation of four generously-sized mouthfuls. With a soft and squishy texture – the benchmarks of fresh figs – the treats gave a unique taste with just the right amount of blue cheese and dark chocolate. The overall taste of the figs appealed to neither my guest nor I, but they are more than worth the reasonable price if shared between at least two people.

Everyone’s favourite bar snack came soon after: sliders. The wagyu bresaola beef with cheddar and caramelised onion ($13) sliders were excellent and had us craving some more as soon as the three miniature burgers were scoffed down. The bun is perfect and the soft slithers of wagyu are delicious. The cheddar is great quality but there isn’t too much to taste, what really goes well with the wagyu here is the horseradish mayonnaise that covers the bottom bun and makes for a winning combination of flavour.

An item yet to be added onto the menu was up next - smoked duck breast and heirloom tomatoes on a bed of quinoa ($15) - and was instantly our favourite serving of the night. The high quality duck breast is absolutely delicious and the quinoa is fresh. The servings are complimented by some home-made plum jelly to add to the strong after-taste. The dish is rather messy, with the quinoa easily coming apart with the slightest touch, but if you don’t mind looking a bit uncouth while eating then this is a must-try.

One Moncur’s most popular platter - deluxe charcuterie platter ($39) - gave us plenty of meat and fresh vegetables to try with some amazing artisan bread. The pate here was nothing special but a great selection of danielle prosciutto, salami, wagyu bresaola, and jamon iberico was more than enough to keep us satisfied. The prosciutto was the highlight here, and tasted great with the pickled onions and artichoke hearts. There is more than enough here for two people, and if sharing then it is well-worth the cost.

For dessert we were offered two of their most popular cheeses, and you could certainly tell they were proud to offer some of the finest quality that can be found. A poor amount of the standard lavash flatbread was provided with two very different cheese, one was a rich cheddar from Tasmania, while the other was brillat-savarin. While fine cheddar is always an excellent addition to any cheese platter, the brillat-savarin was extremely addictive, rich and creamy and very flavourful. The taste was not as strong as that of gorgonzola, but tasted very similar to the often-overwhelming blue cheese.

Drinks

Well if you go to a speciality champagne bar and don’t actually try the champagne then you just aren’t doing the opportunity justice. As such, we were given glasses of some of One Moncur’s finest champagne.

A trip to the vineyards of Mally, France, was first up with a glass of Mailly grand cru ($18) . The champagne was very light with just a subtle acidic taste; it was had with our black figs and complimented the taste perfectly.

Our second and last glass of champagne was also a delectable selection from France, this time the village of Bouzy was represented well with a glass of paul bara grand rose ($18). This glass was again very light, but had a much sweeter and more pleasant taste than the Mailly. A highly recommended companion to one of the venue’s prepared meat platters.

With neither one of us being too big on champagne, my guest and I relished in the opportunity to try two of their many cocktails. The moncur bellini ($12) and the mad hatter ($18) were our picks and waved the flag high for their cocktail menu. Moncur bellini was fairly strong, mixing a sweet house-made peach puree with sparkling wine and impressing with a surprisingly smooth after-taste. The mad hatter was our favourite and the taste was much more layered, with a good amount of Tanqueray and Square One Botanical Vodka, combined with: orange marmalade, burnt orange, vanilla bean syrup, and fresh lemon juice. The lemon juice and orange marmalade come together beautifully to give an endearing taste and made for a very flavourful drink. Both my guest and I agreed that the mad hatter was something we’d both come back for.

Sadly, because of schedule conflicts, we were unable to sample One Moncur’s newly added high tea menu. High tea is becoming more and more popular in Sydney’s eating scene, and with the bar already standing out by offering top-quality wine and champagne, an affordable high tea is an excellent idea. Judging by their presentation of the food, and the high quality of their ingredients, I have no doubt that high tea at One Moncur will be an excellent experience.

In not even half a year, One Moncur have already begun transforming and adapting their unique idea to offer something really special. A food menu which is being constantly refined is always a good thing, and even better is that they seem to use only the highest quality ingredients, many of which are present in various items on the menu. Many of their items are organic and treated very carefully, and as a result the dishes we tried were all very fresh and impressive.

Address: 1 Moncur Street, Woollhara, Sydney, 2025

Bookings: 02 9363 0510

Give One Moncur a visit and check out their menus here