Far before I knew such basics as how to tie my shoelaces or mix a dirty martini, I learnt you should never buy salami hanging in plastic. After all, salami in plastic stews in its own juices, whereas a good salami needs to dry and harden to the point where you need a power saw to slice it.
Just having a power saw isn’t enough, however: you then need to wield it delicately so your salami slices are wafer thin. Since I wasn’t allowed to use the family saw until the age of 8, however, I spent my formative years swearing darkly while trying to slice rock hard salami with mere kitchen knives before giving up and gnawing like a meat-crazed rabbit with a carrot. Ok, that last line didn’t make sense.
Anyway, the reason I bring up this childhood trauma is there’s a small bar in Potts Point called Chester White that specialises in salami (they call themselves a cured diner) – and when I walk in and see salami hanging in plastic I restrain the urge to scream.
It’s just as well I do, however, as Chester White has a lot going for it – such as:
- great bar stools that look like they came out of an old barber shop
- impeccably friendly and prompt service (despite the bar being packed, the staff take pains to make sure everyone is welcomed and do their best to seat everyone)
- knives that are held onto the wall by magnets – and which you’re meant to use. I like the idea of having functional décor (which reminds me a bit of the glasses surrounding the drinkers in The Roosevelt that the bartenders use during service). In an attempt to be arty, I Photoshopped the living bejesus out of a photo of the knives to create a five-second masterpiece just for you, dear reader. I realise that you would probably prefer to see what the bar actually looks like, considering this is a review, but it could be worse – at least I’ve stopped talking about salami.
- the music is quiet enough for conversation, and the atmosphere is hip without overdoing it. I do feel like the only person here who has shaved in the past year, but if I were to grow a beard I would probably look like a rabbi, and I would hate to please my mother to that extent.
The main cocktail here is the $15 negroni, but I instead opt for a glass of malbec. I ought to know what kind of malbec it is, since I’m at least pretending to write a review here, but let’s face it – I stopped being professional a long time ago. All I know is that it’s red, liquid, tastes good and looks pretty when I hold it up to the light (but not as pretty as my Photoshop masterpiece).
I’m with two elegant drinking companions who insist on nibbling on salami and prosciutto despite my plastic protests, and I must say the prosciutto is excellent and the truffle salami great even though (or perhaps because) my parents would have disapproved of it.
Ok, I admit this review was just a cheap excuse for me to talk about salami and play with Photoshop.
Chester White, 3 Orwell Street, Potts Point. Open Wed to Saturday. See the Chester White Facebook page