Looking at local – Bistro Rex, Potts Point

When you talk to Peter and Josh, one thing is clear and that’s their passion for french dining done extremely well. As Potts Point locals, they have loved the area for nearly two decades and believed that a French Bistro was just what the area needed – and boy were they right.

As soon as you walk in you’re made to feel like you’re someone special, which is exactly what they’re aiming for “We treat our customers the way our dads used to enjoy being treated when they would take our families out to dinner – spoilt, welcome, relaxed and like a king. After all, our customers are spending their hard-earned money with us so we want them to feel that it was money well spent”.

And the beauty about having a restaurant run by Potts Point locals? That their customers are recognised and welcomed as part of the community. And every Potts Pointer knows just how important that community is.

  • Why did you choose to open your businesses in Potts Point?

Why did we open in Potts Point? We are Popo locals who were drawn to the area first to live in many years ago and secondly to open a restaurant in – because that’s what we do – we loved the area because it’s the most cosmopolitan in Sydney and reminded us of many of our favourite European cities (with touches of Soho thrown in).  We also were very saddened by the closure of places like Tabou on Crown St Surry Hills and Bayswater Brasserie and thought it was time to give our area a great all day, 7 days a week French-style hangout!!. It’s also great to be able to stroll to and from work and home!!

  • What do you like most about owning businesses in Potts Point?

We love our regulars!! Potts Pointers tend to be very well-travelled and have or have had extremely interesting lives and careers. As such they’re well-seasoned diners who appreciate what we’re trying to do at Bistro Rex i.e. deliver an experience that reminds them of being in their favourite Parisian bistro or transports them to Balthazar New York.  We strive to be something for everyone – you can pop in and have a beer or Negroni at the bar or you can come and splurge on the wine list, with caviar, truffles and a 1kg Rib eye – flexibility is our aim. The locals use us either as an extension of their dining rooms or for a big night out.

  • What have been the main inspirations for your business?

We were inspired by many of the restaurants we’d run or frequented previously such as Tabou, Bayswater Brasserie, France Soir Melbourne, Balthazar NYC, Paul Bert Paris to name just a few. When we were working with our great designer Ralph Rembel (previously with Freeman Rembel Architects) we asked for some essential design elements that define many French bistros such as a zinc topped bar, mirrors we could write specials on, thonet chairs and banquet seating. He delivered in spades along with his own great ideas – copper clad round banquets emulating copper cooking pots and a very muted French flag colour palette of red, white and blue.

  • What are the most significant changes you have noticed in the area since opening your business?

The area has become a lot more gentrified especially since the lock out laws. There are not nearly so many people visiting Potts Point from other areas as there used to be. This has its up side: quieter streets and down side: less business but we see new types of businesses opening such as more fashion retail. We need a few more bars to reopen on the main drag to add a little more colour/ liveliness to the place and to replace the old strip joints that are leaving. This is happening gradually. I hear so many people’s nostalgic stories of their youth spent in the area that I think there’s room for a relaxing of the laws and more civilised bars and restaurants to open in which to have fun….

  • What are the 5 words you would use to describe Potts Point?

Cosmopolitan, eclectic, sophisticated, well-groomed (people, gardens and puppies!!), liveable.