Dove & Olive
It is ‘Thirsty Thursday’ at the Dove & Olive, and in addition to $5 craft beer schooners, everyone seems to be tucking into the $9.90 burger special. This would normally seem par for the course, but since it is 38 degrees outside I can’t quite face a burger and just need something cold.
Run by husband and wife team Luiza and Marcello, Justine Grill sits unexpectedly on a leafy corner of Hunters Hill. Exposed brick, white paint and dark wood fit out a cosy, modern interior that feels a bit like a rural gastropub. To start, Crispy Quail ($25) is too tempting to go past, and sufficiently moreish to result in unbecoming bone-gnawing.
The Two Wolves: Community Cantina
At The Two Wolves: Community Cantina, the décor tells a worldly story: the ceiling boasts strings of flags and hanging plants, and the walls are festooned with action shots of volunteers and religious paraphernalia. The purpose here is to sell food and drink to raise money for The Cardoner Project, a Jesuit and Catholic youth network that sends volunteers all over the world to help out communities in need.
Garnished with a slider, hot wing, and prawn, The Bloody Hell ($25) is without a doubt the most ridiculous cocktail I’ve ever seen. A chilli-infused Bloody Mary, it is but one of ten variations of the classic at the appropriately named Bloody Mary’s, made with in-house blended tomato juice, and with a spice wall for heat customisation.
Civilian Bar & Kitchen
Polished concrete, dark wood, bare light bulbs, and heavy slab tables— Civilian has a ready decor for inner-city cool. Come on a Friday and the Passionfruit Sour ($17)—sweet, smoky with mescal, and topped with thick Italian meringue— is a bargain at ten bucks, and comes with complimentary (and tremendously compelling) truffled popcorn.
Bertoni Farrer Place
Despite sitting at the base of Governor Macquarie Tower in the heart of the CBD, Bertoni Farrer Place remains remarkably casual. Maybe it is the warm Italian welcome, the backslapping enthusiasm of the owners, or the hearty Italian fare, but the end result is a good mix of suits, casual lunchers, and even a bike courier.