What struck me as a sports bar heaved a collective (and gutturally Germanic) sigh of relief when the throbbing mass of suits - there for Happy Hour $12 jugs of Heineken (between 5pm and 7pm weekdays) - gave way to couples and casual, relaxed diners.
Pushing through to the dark, cave-like interior, one is rewarded with a spot of Teutonic sophistication - largely credited to stellar Bar Manager Luke Reimann.
That said, his beautiful Düsseldorf co-star Mila represents the new chef’s menu admirably.
Luke’s Blue Cheese Martini ($19), arriving decorated with strawberries and wedge of blue, shows off Crystal Head Vodka in a way that’d make Dan Aykroyd smile. It’s a shoe-in with Gorgonzola-stuffed Zucchini Blossoms ($14)...
...while the Rum Chocolate Manhattan ($22) sets off the Rangers Valley Angus 300-day Grain Fed Steak ($28) a treat.
It’s my first real contender for 2014’s best pub steak.
A hint of dark cherry that Luke describes as “stuff imported from Germany that my aunty makes” elevates the Stagger Lee Julep ($18) into ‘the best mint julep update I’ve tried’ territory, perfect with a Chorizo Artisan Pizza ($19).
This one is Mila’s recommendation, and despite being more Europe than Italy, it wins me completely with chorizo, caramelized onion, and lashings of piquillo pepper mayo.
*This was my PUB OF THE WEEK segment on 2GB 873 Fresh! with Luke Grant & Luke Mangan
on Sunday 16th February, 2014: http://www.2gb.com/article/fresh-sunday-february-16
2A Bligh Street, Sydney
Ph: (02) 9223 0037