Tag Archive for: Pubs & Bars

The Daniel O’Connell, North Adelaide

04 Jun
June 4, 2014

I first met Phil Whitmarsh, Head Chef at The Daniel O’Connell, what seems like eons ago. We met through the twitterverse, as you do. He started following me, and I reciprocated. I was quite flattered that a UK chef would bother following a humble Sydney blogger. Then one morning I received a tweet asking me where’s the best place to have breakfast in Kings Cross, he was visiting Sydney.

Mind you, this was either a Saturday or Sunday morning, and by the time I saw Phil’s tweet (I sleep in on the weekends), he had surely finished up with breakfast and most probably lunch as well. To add to that, I probably hadn’t eaten breakfast in the Cross for at least a decade. The last time would have been at the end of a very good night out, and along the lines of a kebab. In any case I tweeted off some suggestions, which I had on good advice were excellent choices, and Phil seemed happy.

The Daniel O'Connell The Daniel O'Connell Read more →


The Darwin Ski Club, Darwin

26 Mar
March 26, 2014

There is one absolute must do when visiting Darwin, or any part of the West coast of Australia.  You must watch the sun set over the Timor Sea.

Unless you live on the East coast of Australia, the novelty of this would be probably a little lost on you.  There’s just something magical about watching the sun sink beneath the water, or at least appear to do so.

ski club darwinOne of my favourite discoveries from my trip to the Northern Territory is the Ski Club in Darwin.  So laid back and welcoming.  They are more than happy to have non members from out of town pay them a visit, just be sure to sign in at the bar.

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The Como Grill, Como

18 Mar
March 18, 2014

I remember when the historic Como Hotel burnt to the ground.  The disbelief and feeling of loss by the whole community was quite amazing.  There was a great love for this beautiful old hotel.  It was part of the area’s history and landscape.

The original hotel was over 100 years old when that fateful fire ripped through her.  It started its life as a German Club, I believe for German railway workers.  It then became the ‘local’ in 1887.

The local in those days wasn’t very local.  There was nothing around it.  Day trippers would row across the Georges River to the Como Pleasure Grounds for a day of picnicking.  When the railway line eventually went in it opened up the area.  Land was subdivided into residential blocks and Como became a viable suburb not just a weekend destination.

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Hidden Bar Tour of Sydney

05 Feb
February 5, 2014

When I travel to other cities I often see what small tours may be on hand.   Not sightseeing tours, I am quite capable to getting myself around a foreign town and discovering the local prominent attractions.  I seek the knowledge of locals for the lesser known venues worth seeing.

This could be hiring a personal guide for the day and working out a bespoke itinerary.  I usually do this when I want to see specific things not on your typical tourist trail, in a country where I don’t speak the language and want to be able to learn as much as I can.

The other type of tour I like to hook up with, is one that takes you around local bars.  There are benefits of joining these types of tours.  Firstly you get introduced to establishments you would never know existed, unless you really did your homework beforehand.  Secondly, generally any queue that may be there is missed and a table/space is waiting for your group.  These tours are great for those from out of town, but just as fun for locals who may want to know a little bit more of what is in their own backyard. Read more →

The Morrison Bar and Oyster Room

19 Nov
November 19, 2012

It was a failed attempt to dine at Mr Wong that led us to The Morrison.  We had arrived at Mr Wong at 6.45pm on a Saturday and our party of 4 were advised that we would be lucky to get a table by 9pm.  They do not take dinner bookings for groups less than six.  Sayonara Mr Wong, and it was off to find an alternative dinner venue.

The Morrison is fairly new to Sydney’s dining scene.  It has been around three months since Fraser Short and Sean Connolly set up shop at the refurbished Brooklyn Hotel site.

We were lucky they were able to accommodate us, but we were told we had to vacate the table by 8.15pm.  Not a problem as long as they can feed us in one hour 20 minutes.

Menus come on clipboards and aren’t extensive, but their famed  oysters aren’t listed.  For oyster options you are advised to ‘see the board for oysters’  Not quite sure where ‘the board’ is, but didn’t ask as we weren’t interested in oysters.  I do love my oysters but we had overdosed the night before at the Sydney Cove Oyster Bar.

Due to our time constraint we ordered quickly.  The decision was made to order a few items from the ‘Shell and Bone’ section to share. Read more →

O Bar & Dining

21 Sep
September 21, 2012

After 44 years the Summit is no longer.  An evolution has taken place on level 47 of Australia Square with the launch last week of Michael Moore’s O Bar & Dining.

Sydney’s finest including Kerri-Anne Kennerley, Lizzie Lovett, Layne Beachley and Kirk Pengilly and James Kerley and Laura Dundovic  gathered atop the famous Australia Square building to celebrate the opening of O Bar and Dining.

Guests enjoyed a delicious range of canapés and sampled items from the new restaurant menu including quinoa crusted crab and chickpea cakes with lemon yoghurt, buttermilk organic chicken with buckwheat crust and apricot mustard and kingfish pastrami with coriander, citrus and cumin as they moved throughout the vast, circular space, famous for its revolving floor that provides 360-degree views. The new venue now features two bar areas, one a part of the building’s stationary centre floor, the other a large lounge bar that makes up part of the revolving outer section. Read more →

Zigi’s Wine & Cheese Bar + Cooking Classes

13 Sep
September 13, 2012

It’s early on a Friday evening and I am finishing my working week at a quaint and cosy wine bar in Chippendale.  The entrance is in a small lane off Abercrombie Street. Not exactly a venue you would stumble across without knowing it is there but the Owner Zigi Ozeri has boosted his chances by covering the surrounding lanes with chalk messages to draw you in.

Wine and cheese are always calling me, but it is thoughts of two very special cheeses that have brought me here tonight.  I want to taste the cheeses I helped make the previous Sunday.  I will divulge more about Zigi’s cheese class a little later.

It really is a cosy venue. About 15 can fit into the main bar room.  There are also rooms upstairs which are available for group hire.  And there is a possible expansion in the works, with a large section being opened so that more substantial meals can also be served.  At the moment, cheese, nibbles and wine are on the menu. Read more →

Helm Bar

13 Jun
June 13, 2012

I think Helm Bar is in a bit of a sneaky location, away from the other bars and restaurants on Cockle Bay Wharf.  It really is king of its location next to the Sydney Aquarium. Read more →

Dan Hong’s El Loco Mexican Cantina

15 Nov
November 15, 2011

I really do think that everything Dan Hong touches turns to gold.  You could say he has the Midas touch when it comes to restaurants and food.  I really enjoy Lotus, not yet visited Ms G’s, but it is on my “to do soon” list.

I have been to El Loco now quite a few times.  I like it so much I even became a member.  Well, that was a bit of an accident actually.  I subscribed to their newsletter and when they opened doors I received an invitation to become one.  Nothing special anyone can, and it entitles you to a groovy key ring that you flash to purchase the member’s only Dang Hong special burger and half price margaritas on a Thursday. Read more →

Pie Crawl! Coopers’ Pie n’ Pale Challenge

12 Oct
October 12, 2011

First of all, those closest to me will probably faint at the above photo. For those that don’t know me intimately, I don’t drink beer.  I didn’t start to enjoy coffee until I was in my mid 20s, so there is hope for me yet.  Over the years I keep trying but it isn’t my cup of tea.  I have been known to drink beer, once taking a swig from my Dad’s draught in Japan when I was hot and thirsty and other times I am not going to mention here, let’s just say I hope those that witnessed the events were too drunk to remember.

So why am I holding a cold glass of Coopers Pale Ale?  Oh and by the way I did more than hold, I had a few sips as well.  I was drawn by the pie that accompanied this pale amber liquid.

During Crave Sydney International Food Festival, Coopers Brewery is holding the Coopers Pie n’ Pale Challenge.  Various establishments around Sydney are putting their best gourmet pie forward via a $20 pie n’ pale special.  Could you get any more Australian than a pie and beer for lunch or dinner?

Beside chowing down on a great meal deal during the month of October you can also be part of the action by voting on your favourite pie for the People’s Choice Award via an iPhone Ap.

When I think of pubs, I instantly think of pub crawl.  They were popular when I was young and stupid many many moons ago.  Now I am older and more mature, I thought what about a pie crawl?  Who better to join me trying various pies around town than the one and only  Josh Vs Food, the resident stomach at Belly Rumbles.  Bonus Josh also drinks beer so was able to enjoy some of Coopers on offer.

With iPhone Ap downloaded, our first stop on our pie crawl was the Pyrmont Point Hotel.  As soon as I saw they had a Nepalese Billygoat pie as their offering, I knew I wanted to try it.

The pie is what I class as a pot pie and served with saffron rice and tomato relish.  At first both Josh and I were wondering why there was rice on the side, but once we broke away part of the pastry topping it became apparent.  The filling was very liquid, even more so than what I expect a curry to be, a spoon would be needed to eat the soup like mixture.  Once the rice was added you were able to scoop it up with your fork and pieces of the crisp fennel studded pastry shell.  The filling was spicy with whole cloves and cardamom and had a mild heat to it.

The Grand Hotel

Next stop was The Grand Hotel, part of the Merrivale Group.  It is a quaint little pub with lots of rich warm wood, I imagine it would be very popular with city workers for lunch.

The idea of our pie crawl was to share a pie at each establishment, otherwise it would of been just way too much food.  The chef at The Grand was extremely generous and two pies turned up for Josh and I to try.  The pie offering at The Grand is a massive one, definitely a fantastic deal with a beer included.

A beef pie topped with sautéed peas, chunks of bacon and shallots sitting on top a generous serving of mashed potatoes, with mustard and gherkins on the side.  This is what I call a man’s meal.  The beef filling was extremely tender but slightly sweet with carrots.  The pastry was excellent with a lovely  flaky lid,  very enjoyable.

Talking to staff we find out that the pie has been extremely popular with their lunch time crowd, I can see why, such a generous offering.  Sadly Josh and I hardly do it justice by not eating it all, we had one more pie to try.

Arthouse Hotel Sydney

Waddling away from The Grand we head to our third and last destination on our pie crawl, the Arthouse Hotel Sydney.  I am no stranger to the Arthouse, have dropped in for a drink many times, but I have never actually eaten there.  The pie n’ pale deal is available in the main bar area but Josh and I find ourselves in The Dome restaurant upstairs for our pie tasting.   

It felt a little strange sitting in The Dome’s fine dining establishment to have a pie, but here we were with the white linen and silverware.  Actually I will be heading back to The Dome to try out their regular menu, quite taken by the ambience of the establishment and their extremely helpful happy staff.  Plus I was very impressed with their pie.

The Arthouse offering is a Northern Territory Buffalo pie.  Josh and I were both in agreement, the best pie of the day. The filling of big tender buffalo chunks, carrot, potato and mushroom was delicious.  The pastry is amazing, when talking to the Chef I find out that it is made with crème fraiche, the pastry is so light, flaky and tasty.  The pie is served on large crisp fluffy chips with a light gravy.  The Arthouse got our vote as our favourite pie.

There are 25 establishments involved in the Pie n’ Pale Challenge.  There are a couple of other pies that caught my attention, Paddington Inn’s “rabbit pie with celeriac puree and gooseberry jam” as well as the Welcome Hotel Rozelle’s “the drunken piglet”.

To find out more details have a look at the Coopers site and download the iPhone Ap.  The Ap has all the information about the pubs are offering and where you can find them, it also allows you to vote for your favourite.  One word of warning, some of the pies have been matched to the wrong hotel in the Ap and advertising.  If you are going to an establishment for a particular pie I suggest you ring ahead to confirm their offering.  The Grand Hotel is listed as having a chicken pie which is not the case.  I also found the Ap to be a little buggy but made voting easy.

Your vote will go towards the overall judging which will include votes by Colin Fassnidge (Head Chef, Four in Hand), Mikey Robbins (comedian), Joanna Savill (Editor, Sydney Food Guide) and Glenn Cooper (Cooper’s Executive Chairman). Beside voting to have your favourite pie come out in front you will go in to the draw to win a luxurious harbour cruise for yourself and three friends.

So do tell my dear Belly Rumbles reader, what would be your ultimate pie filling?

STOP THE PRESS:  Happy to announce that the eventual winner of the pie comp was Belly Rumble’s favourite pie, the Northern Territory Buffalo pie from The Arthouse.  Congratulations guys!!!

Sara xxx

Sara & Josh went on their pie crawl with many thanks to Katie from Frank PR, Pyrmont Point Hotel, The Grand Hotel and Arthouse Hotel Sydney.

Dome at the Arthouse Hotel on Urbanspoon

30 Knots at The Grand Hotel on Urbanspoon

Pyrmont Point Hotel on Urbanspoon