A mining magnate and his beautiful 22-year-old muse; a man called Hugh with two girlfriends, a bouffant hairdo and three phones, a food critic and her unnamed dining companion - an unlikely cast of characters, but we bonded over a silky smooth (and very adult) 68% Valrhona Chocolate Martini ($24).
It’s that sort of bar - intimate, quirky, left-of-centre. New Yorker Amir Halpert lubricates proceedings with an outstanding list of well-done classics.
I tried his 1930s Cosmopolitan ($22) and finally understood Sex and the City. Amir’s secret: making his own spiced cranberry puree, resulting in a light pink drink (Ocean Spray has a lot to answer for).
Amir was also the first to present Sydney with a Cocktail Degustation ($135/head) launching fifteen odd months ago. Here he pits cunning cocktails against the culinary creations of Chef Roy Ner (ex-Aria). This is the first course, a freshly shucked oyster against a Spanish Gibson( $22) (which is a martini with a cocktail onion instead of an olive).
Standout combinations - like Pan-Fried Cone Bay Barramundi, Pencil Leeks and Burnt Butter Sauce ($29) set against a killer Pisco Sour ($17) - result.
Match of the night was Roy’s pretty plate of Swordfish Sashimi, Scallop Tartare, Radish, Puffed Fish Skin and Lime Foam ($19) played against a restoratively gentle Gini Hendrick’s ($19) of cucumber, ginger, sake, ruby grapefruit and, of course, gin.
Save me a bar stool – it’s my sorta bar.
And if you're very clever, you'll visit between 5pm and 7pm for the Classic Cocktail Hour (or two) which sees Amir offer up ten of his classics for a tenner apiece. Chef Roy Ner will even throw in some complimentary bar snacks...
The Owl House
97 Crown Street, Darlinghurst
Ph: (02) 9357 5060