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. Light share meals from new Head Chef Aaron Mihelic steal the show: the Herb Crumbed Hen’s Egg ($12) is a crisp and decadent pleasure, while the generous serving of Hiramasa Kingfish Carpaccio ($16) with explosions of finger lime, orange soy and puffed wild rice, had me scouring the plate for missed morsels. Creamy, briny Pemulwuy Oysters ($4/each) are also a refreshing treat, topped with celery, apple and lime granita. Confit Pork Belly ($27.50) is as crisp, sticky and tender as it ought to be, but an (equally tender) Braised Lamb Shoulder ($26.50) gets a little lost in an overly complex dish. All is forgiven after tasting the sides; warm cumin-spiced Fried Cauliflower ($10.50) earthy with hummus and freshened by yogurt, and goat’s cheese and pepita-spiked Roasted Pumpkin ($13). For a sweet finish the Milk Caramel Chocolate Tart ($15) combines a lot of coffee-crunchy-banana elements in an artfully strewn mess, and somehow there isn’t a bad mouthful. Did I mention the $10 cocktails?
Civilian Bar & Kitchen
248 Palmer Street, Darlinghurst
Ph: (02) 9361 4162 civilian.net.au
Modern Australian $$$