July 26th, 2013

Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

Review - Ruby L'otel

On a bleak and dreary winter night I returned to Ruby L’otel to find things were jumping.

Sliding between rowdy groups doing ten-buck meals with ten-buck jugs of Aussie beer standards...

...and the trivia tapas crew I let their enthusiasm carry me (kicking and screaming) into a pleasant pub night.

As I munched on Louisiana Crab Croquettes ($12) with a curious Creole tartare, and...

...a pot of chalky Baked Goats’ Cheese ($11) with tortilla chips, Chef James ‘Jimmy’ Grant explained his menu philosophy: “look at what other folk are doing, and try not to do that.

So you won’t find a menu full of the latest pub fads, like tacos or sliders.

What you will find is a plate-sized 400g Angus Rib Eye ($32) served on the bone with the marrow cleverly revealed. It sports a black cherry and roast eschallot jus with hand-cut chips cooked in garlic infused duck fat.

Not being a mainstream beer gal, I took it in with a Czech Cernovar ($4/330ml), which is now on tap, and a fail-safe bottle of Ninth Island Pinot Noir ($32).

It lasted into a better-than-average pub dessert: a whopping slab of warm Chocolate Cake ($7) packing a clever chipotle punch, cherries and pistachios, smothered in a boozy choccy sauce.

*This was my PUB OF THE WEEK on 2GB 873 Fresh! with Luke Grant & Luke Mangan
on Sunday 15th September, 2013: www.2gb.com/article/fresh-sunday-september-15

Ruby L’otel
68 Victoria Road, Rozelle
Ph: (02) 9555 1900

Ruby L'otel on Urbanspoon
Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

Review - Santa Barbara


Ousting trainee shock-jock Sandilands and his colourful Kings Cross mates, The Piano Room replacement is somewhere you might actually want to drink.

WEBSantaBarbara-07 WEBSantaBarbara-08

The crowd’s young, but mostly attitude-free; the booths are fast to fill. The Drink’n’Dine crew (responsible for The Norfolk, Abercrombie and Forresters) have gone for another low-key Michael Delany refit; this time suiting a loose (bordering-on-tacky) Hawaiian-meets-L.A.-Korean vibe.

WEBSantaBarbara-14 WEBSantaBarbara-15 WEBSantaBarbara-16

So kick things off with a Bloody Korean ($10/Sundays) - it’s spicy so a TsingTao ($8) chaser is good idea - then chill...


...as the sun sets over William Street, and bright lights start to rise.

WEBSantaBarbara-18 WEBSantaBarbara-17

Perched (as you are) practically inside the infamous Coke sign, Coke Can Chicken ($20) is clearly a must-do.


Round it out with bings - stretchy ‘Chinese tacos’ or pancakes - with toppings like Peking Duck ($5.50) or Korean Short Rib ($5.50).

WEBSantaBarbara-21 WEBSantaBarbara-19

Throw in a bowl of pineapple/bacon flavoured Maholo Popcorn ($7) and you probably won’t fit much more in.


With much menu left to cover, I returned for some healthier eats - pretty Kingfish Poke ($16) (it’s Hawaii's answer to ceviche)...

WEBSantaBarbara-02 WEBSantaBarbara-04

...Sesame Slaw ($7) and a balancing bowl of tasty Sweet Potato Fries ($9).


It’s cheap, fun, and they do Downtown Iced Tea ($30/jug) by the jug full – do you really need to hear more?

Santa Barbara
1 Bayswater Road, Kings Cross
Ph: (02) 9357 7882

Santa Barbara on Urbanspoon
Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

Review - Hello Sailor

Stumbling into this nautically themed bar from Foley Lane, I found it instantly familiar.

Two minutes later I’m trading tales of Rarotonga across the bar with award-winning bartender Luke Redington, nursing an Army Navy Blue ($17). It’s well balanced and quaffable, but if you want to really revisit your island honeymoon, head straight for the Banana Colada ($17).

Besides being able to sit in a salvaged dinghy, Rambutan’s old portal fish tank has been turned into a nightmare video loop showing the terrors at the bottom of Davy Jones’ locker.

After you’ve exhausted your whole talk-like-a-pirate repertoire, heave upstairs to the seafood shack.

You’ll find plenty of ways to get your fingers dirty, from Oysters ($3.50/each) with eshallots and raspberry vinaigrette...

...to fat Grilled Marinated King Prawns ($5/each), to a bucket of Chicken Wings ($9/dozen) whose overly briny lick was eased with Anchor Steam Beer ($8).

The only thing I wasn’t too fussed on was the saucing, though it’s hard to complain with the full suite of McIlhenny Company sauces sitting on the table.

No such complaints about the Lobster Burger ($17), which arrives sporting a fat juicy lobster tail. It’s even priced (like the rest of the menu) to be affordable on a seaman’s wage.

Hello Sailor
96 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst (enter Foley Lane)
Ph: (02) 9332 2442

Hello Sailor on Urbanspoon