It’s easy to forget you’re in the heart of Sydney’s CBD when you’re sitting at a candle-lit table, cocktail in hand, surrounded by the understated opulence of marble tabletops, moody timber furnishings, velvet upholstery and glass pendant lights, tapping your feet to Frank Sinatra’s ‘Just One of Those Things’.
It’s opening night. Someone fetch me a cigar, please.
The latest addition to hospitality group Applejack’s impressive portfolio of restaurants and bars – which includes The Butler Potts Point, The Botanist Kirribilli and Endeavour Tap Rooms, among others – Bopp & Tone pays tribute to the founders’ maternal grandfathers, Keith ‘Bopp’ Evans and Anthony ‘Tone’ Adams, who lived in the optimistic post-World War II era.
Situated at 60 Carrington Street, Hamish Watts and Ben Carroll’s seventh venue is designed in the style of everyday grandeur and lived-in luxury by award-winning interior designer Luchetti Krelle. The Australian menu centres around authentic and generous share plates with Mediterranean influences, predominantly cooked on the in-house wood grill or in the charcoal oven.
The Voice’s Michelle Martinez is delivering a smooth rendition of Etta James’ ‘At Last’, accompanied by Scotty Sax on the (you guessed it) saxophone, when a smiling waitress tempts me with a glass of GH Mumm Champagne, and another insists that I try some pecorino with pepper and wild thyme honey from New Zealand. Delicious!
I’m then led to the other side of the room, where a gorgeous charcuterie and cheese station awaits. The pepper salami is my favourite. A waiter offers me a slice of prosciutto hot off the back of the bright red Omas Vintage Classic Flywheel Slicer presiding over the table.
With a mouth full of olives, I wander outside to the spacious al fresco dining terrace. It’s beautifully decorated with Applejack’s signature greenery, and the bright colours contrast nicely with the timber floorboards. “Brooklyn Valley Sirloin served with Béarnaise and olive croute?” Yes, please. And my goodness, I’ll be back Bopp & Tone, if only for more of that.
Back inside, the bartender prepares a Raspberry Spritz (Absolut Elyx vodka, crème de cacao, verjus, raspberry, pétillant naturel, soda) while I enjoy a bite of spiced eggplant with Woodside goat curd and pistachio. From the bar, I can really appreciate the restaurant’s design.
A long, marble-topped table lined with bar chairs runs the length of the kitchen, from where guests can enjoy an open view of the aproned artists at work. A roaring grill spits flames while the chefs whizz past each other, throwing bottles in the air and pulling funny faces in concentration when it’s time to plate.
The band has left the building, and now the music changes to a more contemporary beat. I lick the remains of Mooloolaba prawns basted in chilli, garlic, oregano and lemon, and cooked in the charcoal oven from my fingers. The room is buzzing. Everyone is having a marvellous time.
On my way back to my table, I take a closer look at the photos lining the walls. Black and white prints of the smiling faces of Keith and Anthony, in uniform, in suits. There’s one of two women on the beach. I can’t help but feel nostalgic, and a sense of familiarity with the times, as though I were part of that iconic past. It’s comforting to know that this corner of the CBD is now home to a little slice of history for all to remember and enjoy.