There aren’t many places in Sydney that boast a $5 tapas menu, but the newly revamped Hummingbird (part of the hip Vulcan boutique hotel) does, between 5pm and 7pm every Tuesday to Saturday. You dine in an intimate room, which is also perfect for solo diner. The room has a log fire warming it up at one end.
You can even dine outdoors in a courtyard that is protected from wind on all sides, in the centre of the hotel.
During happy hour, a fiver will buy you a plate of Spiced Calamari with a great blue cheese dressing (normally $10).
Or you could have a large serve of Beer Battered Fries with a good tomato salsa (normally $7). Both go well with cocktails – the best I tried was a Silver Angel ($14), though the Pineapple and Caramel Margarita ($14) was an interesting proposition. Owner Grant Kells told me that their cocktails “include advanced techniques” that see their bartenders spend an hour of preparation time per day in the kitchen making things like caramel syrup.
To dine I would happily recommend the White River Veal Meatballs ($12) served with tomato, lime and chilli.
I also really enjoyed the Pork and Duck Terrine ($12) with onion jam and sourdough toast.
However the Garlic Mushrooms ($8) were slightly disappointing - they had stewed rather than sizzled.
There was also a distinct lack of spicing on the Grilled Moroccan Lamb Cutlets ($12), and the cut of lamb was not what I would prefer for this type of dish.
The wine list includes a great 2007 Mount Adam Unoaked Chardonnay ($38/bottle, $8/glass). All up, this new restaurant offers up the opportunity to dine quite cheaply if you pick your time carefully.
Vulcan Hotel, 500 Wattle Street, Ultimo
Ph: (02) 9211 9260