Slotting in somewhere between the flagship The Meat & Wine Co. restaurants and the casual Ribs & Burgers eateries, Hunter & Barrel is the latest dining initiative for the Seagrass Boutique Hospitality Group. At every level, their restaurant fitouts - handled by Melbourne-based operation, One Design Office (ODO) - are over-spec’d for the price point; and, housed in the old Chinta Ria rotunda, this hunters' chalet is no exception.
It’s dripping in natural textures, from brown leather upholstered chairs with strategically draped (fake) furs, to wine barrels, dangling shrubbery, and weighty wooden tables. Appropriate to the location in please-all Cockle Bay, the meat-centric menu is geared towards sharing, whether that be from board, skewer, coals or pot (though the stew-based selections may have to wait until winter).
High quality charcuterie on the Hunter’s Platter ($28) provides a good foil for exploring the barrel-aged cocktail offerings presented by Group Beverage Manager, Joel Davis.
Joel learned the hard way that using brand new barrels can make a barrel-aged Negroni quite assertive, but his resulting drink - The Solera Negroni ($16) - is made smooth by cleverly blending barrel-aged and fresh Negroni mixes, at least while those barrels wear in.
When your meat-laden mains land you can either double up on fiery elements with The Smoked Margarita ($28/2) for two, served in a smoke-filled Calle 23 Tequila Blanco bottle...
...or opt for a refreshing pint of Young Henrys Natural Lager ($10).
With sides and salads all conveniently priced at eight bucks, you can assemble quite the feast.
Juicy Coal Roasted Chicken ($22), flavoured quite simply with lemon and rosemary, suits Cast Iron Button Mushrooms ($8) with garlic butter, and Grilled Cauliflower ($8) topped with almonds and a creamy white garlic sauce.
Dripping with herb and black pepper butter, the Coal Roasted Rump ($29) was a flavoursome piece of beef, which only wanted for a slightly longer resting period.
Airy Golden Syrup Dumplings ($10), enhanced by a small jug of pouring cream, were easily the best I’ve tried; leading me to believe this accessible spot is worth noting down for functions and family-friendly eats in downtown Cockle Bay.
Hunter & Barrel
Tenancy 303, Cockle Bay Wharf, Sydney
Ph: (02) 9264 9888