September 25th, 2012

Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

This Week's Column - Against The Grain


Published in the City Hub, Bondi View and City News.

Walking into the Michael McCann designed Grain is a textural adventure. Everywhere you look, lighting cleverly enhances the already beautiful organic materials. There’s everything from a gorgeous rosewood table, to lustrous cherry wood running overhead, to a sustainable Queensland Blackbutt bar.


If you can draw your eyes away from the fixtures, the bartenders are worth checking out too. They ply their trade in front of a nicely lit set of floating bottle racks – way to make top shelf alcohol even more appealing! They’re under the guidance of bar industry standout, David Ramos Hernandez, who has hipster hangout Low 302 in his curriculum vitae.

Despite the considerable tree-change from the world of small bars to this larger Four Seasons offshoot (it has its own street entrance), Dave seems totally in his element. After a tequila and grapefruit based Paloma (or five) he moved me on to an excellent nightcap, the Café con Leche. His “Spanish flat white” combines Gosling’s Rum, espresso liqueur, Vittoria coffee and cream, in a cup so sensible it had me plotting stopping by for a brekkie tipple.

Four Seasons have also scored Hamish Ingham as consulting chef. Hamish, best known for his Chinese offerings at Bar H in Surry Hills, demonstrates his range as a chef in a ripper menu of bar snacks. It includes red claw yabbies (flown in live from Queensland) and utterly compelling fried old man saltbush leaves. There’s a strong focus on eliminating food wastage and celebrating Australian produce, with ingredients like nettles even creeping into the ‘herbed’ ricotta. This dish is even served on charred house-made flatbread that incorporates the whey from his cheese making.

I can’t wait to see Hamish’s food values rolled out to the wider Four Seasons offerings, which will including an upcoming restaurant in November, and room service. Hotels rarely taste this good.

Grain Bar
199 George Street, Sydney
Ph: (02) 9250 3114

Grain Bar on Urbanspoon