I go to meet my friend Monica here on an unseasonably warm evening considering it’s Autumn. I wish we could sit outside on the pretty front terrace but all tables are full, and we want bar food rather than dinner anyway, so I’m sent down a narrow staircase at the back of the building, past a dining room with lovely long pine tables and benches. Downstairs the tiny space reminds me exactly of an old English pub with its low ceiling, small tables and stools, carpet and beautiful walls hewn from sandstone blocks. When my companion arrives we joke that it would be perfect on a cold Winter’s night – it has reached 26 degrees today!
We order fried zucchini flowers with ricotta and lemon, patatas bravas and tumbleweed calamari with rocket. The zucchini flowers are big and generously filled with a light crisp batter. The patatas bravas are to die for – small, soft, roasted potatoes slathered in copious quantities of a sauce which I think is sour cream with loads of garlic, lemon and herbs.
The calamari are not my favourite kind – plump, tender rings with a light crumb – these are more crumb than anything else, a bit like eating Twisties but better seasoned! Actually that’s not very charitable – for what they are they’re very good.
We’re not quite sated so we order the polenta chips which look like long flattened-out fish fingers but on tasting are rather flavourless – nothing that a sprinkle of salt doesn’t improve.
I feel I’ve been a bit hard on this place – maybe it’s because the rather snooty barmaid annoyed me right up front by leaning across me to retrieve something without a word of apology, let alone an acknowledgement of my existence! I actually really want to go here again because I love the building and the philosophy that they talk of on their website, and there are plenty more things on the rather rustic menu that I’d like to try. They also have a lovely looking private dining room on the top floor for up to 16 people which would make a great venue for an intimate celebration. Something to bear in mind for significant birthdays coming up!
32 Burton Street, Darlinghurst
Visited 10 May 2012