Wipe any memories of the old Goldfish Bowl from your mind. No really, pretend it never happened. The new space is dark and broody; it’s a richly textured environment with a mélange of woven lights, cushions, plush ottomans, curtains and a kinky black sound-absorbing latex ceiling. Smokers are not forgotten either with a comfy Chesterfield in a pervy enclosure behind a metal screen reminiscent of the Beijing Water Cube. Curiously when you take up residence in the supremely comfortable lounge, the screen seems to make passers-by not look at you, so you get a one-way gawk-fest on the busy Kings Cross strip. Secret squirrel haven, with an excellent cocktail list!
Head straight for the cocktails; be adventurous, Ben Walsh’s excellent list lays down a challenge to old employer, The Victoria Room. I would definitely say it is better than their current list, having drunk there quite recently. The Mexican Blazer ($19) of Herradura Anejo Tequila and Bacardi 8 year rum flamed with Madagascan vanilla bean syrup, orange and bitters was my favourite. It is being flamed in the double glass contraption, and ends up being smoky, rich and warming. On the right is a Burnt Orange, Vanilla Bean and Clove Margarita ($17) which is garnished with a piece of orange rind studded with cloves which reminded me of a spiked collar. Excellent, smooth and interesting.
A bowl of Edamame ($9) speckled with Korean chilli flakes were okay, they were a bit messy for my taste, and too many for two people to consume alone.
Slurp ‘em down with Nuremberg Sausages, Sauerkraut and German Mustard ($16), made by the king of smallgoods Pino Tomini Foresti from Pino’s Dolce Vita. The sausages were easily the best thing I put in my mouth at this review.
Hiramasa Kingfish Carpaccio ($18) was nice, but there is a very fine line between enough soy to flavour, and too much for the delicate fish. They were slightly over the line in my opinion, but that's a pretty fussy judgement. It was a nice dish.
Waiter, another drink please... Anyone with Eastern Europe in their background will like the paprika and capsicum notes of the vivid red Roast Capsicum and Paprika Salt Margarita ($17). The Spiced Honey Apple ($17) will cure any niggling sore throats – between the acid and the Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka, nothing will live (no Swine Flu allowed).
We ate the recommended three dishes (according to the bar manager). They were nowhere near enough food if we were considering this dinner.
111 Darlinghurst Road, Kings Cross
Ph: (02) 8354 6630