Bohemian spirit lives on at et al

Parisian cafe culture collides with this summery, funky and lively eatery set in a Potts Point laneway

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Lamb tartare with peas (top); burrata with shaved zucchini and hazelnuts; and charcoal grilled scotch fillet.

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Coconut sorbet with berry compote and toasted marshmallow.

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The summery interior of et al in Potts Point.

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Roast pork belly with charred apple purée, pine nut and raisins.

THE bohemian vibe in the Llankelly Place dining precinct harks back to a time when Potts Point was a thriving artistic quarter.

An elegant but fun jazz playlist set the tone as the Wentworth Courier was seated at et al, an intimate 40-seat eatery offering a more casual experience than its previous incarnation as Impromptu Dining.

A flamboyant writer penning their latest novel would have looked right at home sitting in the outdoor courtyard while sipping a glass of vino.

The retro-chic decor has a Parisian cafe culture quality, with the buzzing laneway setting creating endless people-watching opportunities.

White and forest green stripes colliding with contrasting chevron flooring made the look summery, funky and lively.

Et al is the work of classically trained chef Daniel Backhouse (Bathers Pavilion, Berowra Waters Inn) and seasoned manager Stephen Craig, who spent 10 years at the helm of Colin Fassnidge’s Four in Hand Dining Room in Paddington.

Craig’s service style is thoughtful and efficient but not overbearing.

The bistro-style menu features classic, nostalgic dishes with a lively, modern spin, such as lamb tartare with peas and fried egg puree.

The salmon ($16), cured overnight in salt, grapefruit zest and vodka and served with a zesty mix of avocado, shaved fennel, grapefruit and sesame seeds, embodied summer in a dish.

Though not a fan of zucchini, I loved the burrata ($15), perfectly soft creamy cheese with shaved zucchini, tempura flowers and hazelnuts.

The fresh and fragrant Cone Bay barramundi ($28) was pan roasted, with baked eggplant and confit cherry tomatoes, dressed with basil pesto.

The crispy potatoes ($8) were — hand over heart — the best potatoes the Courier had ever tasted.

Backhouse explains his secret

— they are parboiled, then smashed up and fried, then finally smothered in house-smoked golden syrup.

Craig has crafted a short, sharp and worldly wine list, which cements et al as the perfect place to while away a warm afternoon among friends. The 2015 Etienne Boileau petit chablis, from Burgundy, was just what we needed to wind down after a long day at the office.

Crisp, light and fresh, it was a perfect fit for the balmy weather and lighthearted feel of the place.

Like the wine list, the food menu is brief, allowing Backhouse to nail each dish, but with enough variety to suit every taste. The dishes are also designed to be shared — the 600g scotch fillet with black garlic butter and fried potatoes is carved into easy slices.

The food at et al is fine-dining quality without the pretension or hefty price tag. It’s an excellent spot for a date night, as well as dinner out with friends.

The retro-chic decor has a Parisian cafe culture quality, with the buzzing laneway setting creating endless people-watching opportunities