A mining magnate and his beautiful 22-year-old muse; a man called Hugh with two girlfriends, a bouffant hairdo and three phones, a food critic and her unnamed dining companion – an unlikely cast of characters, but we bonded over a silky smooth (and very adult) 68% Valrhona Chocolate Martini ($24). It’s that sort of bar – intimate, quirky, left-of-centre. New Yorker Amir Halpert lubricates proceedings with an outstanding list of well-done classics. I tried his 1930s Cosmopolitan ($22) and finally understood Sex and the City. Amir’s secret: making his own spiced cranberry puree, resulting in a light pink drink (Ocean Spray has a lot to answer for). Amir was also the first to present Sydney with a Cocktail Degustation ($135/head) launching fifteen odd months ago. Here he pits cunning cocktails against the culinary creations of Chef Roy Ner (ex-Aria). Standout combinations – like Pan-Fried Cone Bay Barramundi, Pencil Leeks and Burnt Butter Sauce ($29) set against a killer Pisco Sour ($17) – result. Match of the night was Roy’s pretty plate of Swordfish Sashimi, Scallop Tartare, Radish, Puffed Fish Skin and Lime Foam ($19) played against a restoratively gentle Gini Hendrick’s ($19) of cucumber, ginger, sake, ruby grapefruit and, of course, gin. Save me a bar stool – it’s my sorta bar.
The Owl House
97 Crown Street, Darlinghurst
Ph: (02) 9357 5060 www.theowlhouse.com.au
Bar Food/Cocktails/Modern Australian $$$