About a month ago, a new bar, Rosé Royale opened in Sydney’s Potts Point. This bar is different from all the other bars in Sydney, or even the world! It’s point of difference? It’s completely dedicated to rosé wine.
The fridge filled with rosé
I had the opportunity to chat with Jérôme, the Frenchman who has opened Rosé Royale after 22 years in Australia:
“Yes it’s all shiny and new. [Open] on 23 November this year. We are the first Rosé bar in the world – made official by the press, media and social media, which is great for us. It’s an idea we had about 6 months to a year ago.”
But Jérôme isn’t like many others who decide to open a bar. He has plenty of experience in hospitality, “30 years probably” . He explains to me that he worked in his uncle’s bars and nightclubs on the Atlantic Coast and in the Pyrenees from the age of 15.
But more recently, before opening Rosé Royale, Jérôme worked at Slide, on Oxford Street in Sydney, a dinner and show establishment. He was there for 5 years.
Before that, in a completely different environment at the Lewisham Hotel in Sydney’s Inner West. A pub which hosts live music by metal groups. And before that? From 1999 to 2001, he was Manager of the Theatre Bar at the Sydney Opera House.
Why did you decide to open your own bar dedicated to rosé?
Because in all the restaurants, even the biggest, be in Felix or Hubert, there are 15 reds, 15 whites and et 2 rosés so I decided to change the trend and to also follow the trend of the worldwide rise of rosé. Last Summer in the United States, it was total madness for rosé so I decided to have a bar in which the principal attraction is 3 large refrigerators filled with rosé from all around the world. It’s a fridge which will evolve. We are starting with 30 rosés for now, coming from Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Turkey, the United States and of course France. But next week or the week after, I will have an Austrian rosé. I’ve also been told a lot about South African rosés.
What are the differences?
There’s the soils, the different seppages used. The Shiraz Rosé has a much pinker colour compared to the Kalecik Karasi Rosé from Turkey which has a much more golden colour which is closer to the wines of Provence. The rosés from Anjou, Sancerre, Bordeaux are more so in the pink and wild strawberries colours.
I have a few books on the rosé. They all have a scale of about 6 different colours which goes from gooseberry to light peach.
Image taken from https://shinewine.wordpress.com/2005/11/01/nuancier-des-vins-rose-de-provence/I noticed that the trend of Australian rosés has changed recently. They are becoming more like French rosés.
Yes, drier. Because before it was sugar syrup and bright red in colour.
Yes, it’s true.
Oui. C’est vrai. Exactly, they were more in the gooseberry colour on the scale and thicker in consistency with a tannin which was far more a sugar tannin than a wine tannin.
It was more like a cordial.
Yes, but it has changed. For about 6 or 7 years, I have been going regularly to Mudgee. They make very, very good rosés which are starting to get away from the thick reds and become closer to Provence and its rosés, which are softer in colour and drier in taste.
Roses everywhereAnd sparkling rosé?
Pink champagne, sparkling rosé from the Loire. In Australia, there are a few houses, such as Chandon which does a sparkling in which they put rosé.
They use red grapes in the sparkling wine method. Use red grapes, leave the skin on after seppage. At the very beginning of the fermentation you leave the skins and then you remove them after seppage. If we don’t remove the skins then we end up with a sparkling red, which is the most horrible thing you can find in Australia!
All the guys say that rosé is for girls…
I have a few rosés which will prove the contrary to these men. I have already converted a few in the last 2 weeks who had also said “I don’t drink rosé” I made them taste one or two and they changed their minds.
The bar is well stocked for cocktailsI don’t know if it’s just the pink colour that puts them off!
I think it’s also because of the idea that many have of Australian rosé. But even, in the Australian wines, I use a Shiraz Rosé from the beginning. Australians will tell me that it “packs a punch” in the sense that it had a lot of taste, value on the tongue and transforms from the idea of cordial as you said. I changed the mind of 3 or 4 men over the last few weeks. I am very proud of this wine. It’s a South Australian wine, the Paxton from the Adelaide Hills.
You can see tha the colour is still in the deep red but the taste is very defined and not at all sweet.
It’s almost orange like the rosés from Anjou?
And the Rosé Royale menu?
All cocktails have been named after Royalty and Royal things.
The XVI has been made because I am a Jameson drinker so I had bartenders create something that comes out of the smoke.
You’ve got the Pompadour. Madame de Pompadour was a famous mistress [of King Louis XV]. The cocktail is served in a little milk jar on top of a fairy floss. It’s beautiful and pink with a gold-rimmed glass.
The Bloody Marie-Antoinette is, of course, a Bloody Mary with a bit of a twist.
We use a lot of Lillet Rosé which is a wine liqueur which exists in White, Red and Rosé. Many cocktails with a twist of Rosé. The Kir Rosé where we use Rosé wine as a base ingredient and either elderflower or cherry liqueur. The famous Aperol Spritz. The bellini that we do is also with Rosé and Pavan liqueur and a bit of a lavender.
And of course we have our frosés, which are slushies – it’s basically wine + juice pulp turned into a liquid sorbet. We have a tropical version with rosé, pineapple and passionfruit. And the other is rosé, grapefruit and watermelon. We have a famous rosé sangria which is a share bottle with fruits in it. Then after we have rosés from all around the world starting with the sparkling, Australia, New Zealand, and all of the above.
The baguette with rosé butter
We have share plates basically we made and designed inspired by the different wines from the different countries. That’s what inspired me to do some shared plates. People can have bits of. Of course, there is the charcuterie platter with the cured meats and liver pâtés and things. Cheeses, mostly from France and Italy with truffle, double cream. The extravaganza.
Lots of things people can share like the back strap inspired by New Zealand rosé which is stuffed with kumara potatoes and silver beet. We also have a Provençale Tarte Tatin, which is based on a Provence wine, which is an upside down tart.
Then we have inspired by the Bordeaux Rosé and wine from that region in France, something like smoked duck breast with 3 kinds of melon macerated in rosé port wine from Portugal.
The beef cheeks are very popular. Served in 2 petit cocottes, in which you find the truffle mash in the truffle oil and beef cheek, macerated and cooked in Rosé wine so it’s really melting in your mouth. You find the hint of rosé.
The extravaganza would be caviar, prawn and foie gras which is raison toast with caviar butter and disc of foie gras. With a little grapefruit vinegar on the top of it.
Then there are cheeses and desserts.
And that ice-cream that we see on Instagram?
We have a rosé ice-cream, which has little hints of white chocolate and pomegranate. Very instagrammable. We did it as a soft-serve but I think down the track we are going to go into an ice-cream because soft-serve is such a difficult thing to get right every time that the ice cream would be better. The ice-cream with a bit of rosé Chantilly on top. Chantilly made with Lillet Rosé will get instagrammable pictures but will have more consistency.
Who designed the menu?
I designed it. Everything has been designed from a business point of view. Not wanting to compete with French restaurants, so side plates and those sorts of things but also things that come from my background and that I can make myself.
Where in France are you from?
My Mum is from the Centre of France, where the pâté aux pommes de terre comes from. My Dad is from the Basque country, where the chicken basquaise and the espelette chillies are from.
What’s your favourite wine on the list at the moment?
On the list. My two favourites would be the Château Les Mesclances Saint Honorat Rosé or the Bouchard Ainé et Fils from Bourne. It’s a Pinot Noir Rosé. It’s definitely not the most expensive on the list but it’s my favourite. It’s the closest to wine that I am going to get very soon called the Sancerre Rosé. It’s on my to-do list.
Château Les Mesclances is the oldest winery in Provence to be recorded to have made rosé wine in the Roman time. They dug for the cellars and they found a forest, in which there was some liquid that after tasting they realised it was rosé.
You think of Rosé and you think of summer so what happens in winter?
That’s why I designed the place to be an indoor garden with all the trees and the green walls and to make people feel comfortable in the middle of winter. Leave their coats at the front and enter that garden which has got candle lights, greenery and topiary.
I’ve got a beautiful rosé I will do a rosé mulled wine. There is a lot of rosé that can be drunk in winter. I found one in New Zealand – a white pinot noir which is drunk at room temperature.
I will make sure that people will associate Rosé with anytime. Rosé all day, Rosé all year. Rosé, Rosé, let’s Rosé. That’s my motto.
Anything else we should know?
We aim at staying for a long-time and then going everywhere all around the world after that. I think that was something that was needed and lucky enough I’ve done it here to start but I think it is something that can really go everywhere because rosés are so different from every country. There’s a lot to learn, there’s a lot to taste and I think my Rosé Royale model will go far. I’d be happy to have a Rosé Royale in Brisbane, Melbourne and then Los Angeles, New York, anywhere.
For more information, you can visit the Rosé Royale website at: https://www.roseroyalesydney.com.au/
Dear readers, have you been to Rosé Royale yet? Whether you have or haven’t what is your favourite rosé?