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|Lot 1 Restaurant & bar|
Stroll past Lot 1 on Sydney's busy York Street and it's evident that this place has style. The swooping timber accents in the cafe (above) is a signal that something big is going on here. The bar and cafe has been in action since November 2015, however the restaurant next door only opened in March 2016.
Passing trade is a big thing in this part of town and those great coffee aromas from the espresso bar, open to the footpath, snares many new customers.
As you head north on York, take the second door for the bar and restaurant. Even by day it is a moody space, restrained lighting and those gorgeous swirls softening what could otherwise be a grim warehouse look.
Instead, the effect in this heritage-listed building is urban and elegant. The team is accurately billing the place as 'Sydney's newest addiction'.
Certainly Executive Chef Adam Swanson’s modern take on Italian favourites is turning heads, and its CBD location makes the restaurant ideal for business lunches. By night, its proximity to the city centre, ferries and other public transport, makes it ideal for couples and groups dining before an evening out at the theatre or some other event in town.
I found the polished and discreet service fitted the pace needed for business clientele, when I dined here one lunch time recently with a work colleague.
However, we soon realised that the menu, while geared to suit lunch-hour time constraints, was far ahead of the grills and seafood and chips so often on offer.
Here, four perfectly cooked scallops were capped with a foam of cauliflower, the airy lightness underlaid by the texture of a nutty pistachio granella, lifted with a hint of prosciutto. A generous dish, restrained and a perfect introduction.
We also shared another entree, a very beautully presented dish of duck parfait with ruffles of thin apple slices again, with a crunchy 'soil' taht included ground coffee, serving as a foil to the rich creamy smoothnness of the duck.
Staying with the duck theme we moved on to a main of duck with spelt risotto and quince. Lot 1, like many restaurants in Sydney, is exploring a variety of grains, for flavour and probably to assist diners who want less wheat-based foods on their plates. The quince was a delightful alternative to other fruit flavours often associated with duck, its semi-tart kick balancing the rich jus.
Although the desserts were so tempting (see below to see what I mean!) we succumbed instead to a tiramisu martini, laced with marsala, rum and coffee, and topped simply with the ideal 'straws' - handmade chocolate sticks.
Seating from around 120 diners, on three levels, this latest addition to the local dining scene has all the elements to assure it of a place on most people's lists of places to dine - day or night. The vibe is smooth and professional, providing the ideal backdrop for a variety of events and occasions.
Lot 1. The name is simple, but that is surely intentional. The venue and food is quite memorable enough.
Lot 1, 18-20 York St, Sydney, +61 2 9279 3555, website.
Restaurant open noon to 10pm Monday to Friday; 5pm to 11pm, Saturday. Licensed. Bookings preferred.
Espresso Bar opens 6am to 5pm, Monday to Friday; aperitivo 5pm to 6.30pm daily.
(Pictures and review by Sally Hammond)
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