Plentiful alcohol, women and fantasy themeing in Kings Cross usually means one thing - but at this iconic venue (dating back to 1979) you’re more likely to find the Queen of Hearts bearing a flaming Bombé Alaska, strange hats, group singing and a surprisingly good meal.
Sparkling La Vie Pinot Noir Chardonnay ($38) will help lubricate your all-important hat/wig/prop selection from the well-decorated walls. My dining companions took the time to assess a range of head-wear, all documented on camera; they were not the only ones doing this!
As you enjoy your selected entree from a list of six - the Chicken Liver Parfait with Roast Honey Figs in particular is great – you are entertained at the table by a roaming magician and the elegant (and nicely made-up) hostess Prada Clutch.
Prada divulges she is one of Sydney’s “three singing drag queens” before ripping into a saucy version of Big Spender.
The crowd adores her, demanding an encore as I try a cheesy Twice Cooked Four Cheese Soufflé.
I am less excited by an entree of Grilled White Asparagus with Baby Beetroot, Rocket, Mint and Carrot Reduction, but rest assured, it's just unexciting as opposed to unpleasant.
For mains I favoured Roast Veal with Porcini Mushroom Gratin with a very orderly smear of beetroot glaze over...
...the nicely cooked Lemon and Dill Crusted Salmon Fillet (though I like the frothy citrus sabayon that almost encircles it).
The only failure was a slightly pedestrian (and a shade overcooked) vegetarian main of Gnocchi with Roast Pumpkin, Fresh Sage and Creamy Tomato and White Wine Sauce. It was however very accessible.
Bread, salad and a well-cooked bowl of vegetables fill out any corners, and when you consider the price - $59.50/head or $93.50/head with unlimited alcohol - it's a very generous menu!
As we finish our lovely 2007 Daniel Dampt Chablis ($55) the whole restaurant is up, dancing with joyous abandon. Grinning staff expertly sidestep as they clear plates; it’s all refreshingly attitude-free.
With each group booking, the hen, birthday boy/girl, or person who books gets a bit of a special treat - lights are dimmed and a Bombé Alaska is brought out, with a long pour of flaming alcohol added at the table before it is whisked away to be dished up for your party. When it is your table's turn, they play a selected song, and as your guests know it's their song, much hilarious dancing and singing occurs. I couldn't help but smile.
My smaller group selected dessert from a 'Lick Me' menu. The best dessert was this Gingerbread Creme Brulee with Muscat Poached Strawberry and Almond Foam.
The Milk Chocolate Fondant was nicely matched with poached rhubarb, rhubarb syrup and raspberry cream, but the pudding itself was a shade dry.
To be different I tried a Grand Marnier Macerated Berry Trifle with Eggnog - a very christmassy combination - I suppose that season is rapidly approaching.
I had much more fun than I had expected, and even my bemused guests seemed taken with the place. We concluded that we'd have never got here any other way, but we were glad it happened. I have a naughty urge to take my partner's and my family there for our next shindig... it'd be funny to see them deal.
13-15 Kellett Way, Kings Cross
Ph: (02) 9326 9510