With Sydney’s largest collection of gin – currently sitting at 95 – in the hands of star mixologist, Grant Collins, I really didn’t expect to be raving about the food. Head Chef Elijah Holland – who’s cooked at ARIA and Jonah’s Whale Beach – very nearly steals the show. He’s a mad-keen forager, dotting beautifully plated British and Dutch-inspired dishes with Mona Vale violets; fennel flowers from Terry Hills; and plants gathered across the Northern Beaches. Collins does throw down the gauntlet with his Gunpowder Plot ($18). Arriving in a cloud of tea smoke, it’s a spectacularly well-balanced concoction of gunpowder tea-infused gin, dandelion bitters and lemon juice with egg white froth. Working in harmony with Collins, Holland teams Oysters ($9/2) with gin and tonic sorbet; then shows his own flare for fire with smoked spuds in Quail Scotch Egg ($16) and a Smoked and Roasted Half Chook ($27). The latter is juniper brined, cooked on the bone for flavour, and then transformed into a veritable summer garden of deeply smoky bird, artichokes and lentils. At the subtler end, The Nettle Gimlet ($17), served in a traditional glass, begs sipping to savour its beauty; while deep red hibiscus tea-infused plum, faintly-pink rhurbarb and ginger sorbet, and fizzing pineapple meringue murmur: pay attention to the perfect Eton Mess ($15).
The Powder Keg
7 Kellett Street, Potts Point
Ph: (02) 8354 0980 thepowderkeg.com.au
Bar, Modern Australian $$$