As the sun sets over the Balmain village, there are worse places to be sitting than the front yard of this picturesque cottage.
Throw in a punch bowl of Strawberry Sangria ($32) and you have the makings of a girls’ night out. Watching them through one of the cottage windows, I tell manager Chris Hughes: “I’ll have what she’s having!”
Soon after I had my own glass, resplendent with fragrant red berries – yes, summer’s officially here.
Inside, the kitsch, homely-vibe looks accidental, but is actually expertly crafted by Luchetti Krelle (responsible for Darlo. favourite Hinky Dinks). It’s broken up by an oddity – a large domed wood fire pizza oven – that Chris tells me, somewhat ruefully, is a throwback to the Italian restaurant predecessor.
As I tuck into a De Jamon Pizza ($26) bearing Monte Nevado Jamón Serrano, pear, walnuts, Parmesan and vincotto I’m thankful they didn’t rip it out.
Chef Ellen Young supplements the pizzas with share plates, won by juicy roast Chook ($24) with excellent wild rice pilaf, apricot yoghurt and pistachio crumb.
Throw in a Snow Pea Salad ($13) or her quirky Pumpkin Mousse ($12) and you’ll still fit in the Fairground Plate ($16).
With candied apples, cones, pillowy marshmallows and more, believe me: you want to go to the fair!
The Cottage Bar & Kitchen
342 Darling Street, Balmain
Ph: (02) 8084 8185