New owners, Barossa Valley Wine brothers Dylan and Justin Fairweather, have dropped the New York aspirational ‘East’ (this used to be The East Village Hotel), and made this Darlo icon a well-priced dining proposition. Their wine connections make for a more interesting gastro-pub wine list. The 2009 Juniper Estate ‘Reserve’ Chardonnay ($68) hinted at the promise of vines about to hit their fifteenth year.
Well-chosen flowers, curved wooden chairs, terracotta water jugs and a retro cake keeper give the light and airy room a rustic, Laura Ashley feel.
A spoonful of Kingfish Tartare made for a unexpected and nice amuse bouche beginning.
In the kitchen Yorkshire lad Adam Spencer turns out flavoursome and seasonally appropriate entrees like Peas and Ham ($14). Adam’s playful deconstruction of split pea and ham soup featuring quail eggs, salty pancetta crumbs, pea panna cotta and pea puree, is visually and orally exciting; I just wanted more!
Ditto for the tiny trio of Scallops ($15) with clever candied fennel.
A well-cooked main of Pork Belly ($28) had me wishing the tasty black pudding wasn’t hidden away in potato.
Gnocchi ($24) with zucchini, hazelnuts and goat’s curd was curiously tubular, but engaging none-the-less.
Bursting berries in a very summery Moscato Jelly ($12) and...
...negotiating the self-assembly Chocolate Lamington ($12) added to the fun. Arrive before sunset to enjoy a river of bats spilling across the spectacular view.
234 Palmer Street, Darlinghurst
Ph: (02) 9331 5457