Alex: I’ve never really been one to venture to a bar to have a meal and if I do end up eating it’s never anything that’s substantial but rather an underlying attempt to sober up my relatively drunken state….Moving on.
That notion however fell out the window when we had the opportunity to visit the quaint, Pocket Bar in Darlingurst! The bar is rather unassuming from the outside, but as you walk in you’re enveloped by dark moody tones with a great upbeat atmosphere and steers clear of any pretentious vibes that a lot of upmarket bars these days seems to have.
As we settled with a cocktail upon arrival and getting comfortable with our candlelight dinner scenario (bit awkward as it looked like I was chatting up my sister, which has now become the story of my life, as everyone thinks we’re married when we make reservations anywhere). We were brought a plate of Jamon $38.50. As I took my first bite it instantaneously took me back to when I was traipsing around the La Boqueria markets in Barcelona. The Jamon melted away when you took a bite but it still had a bit of grit to it which was nice.
Next up was the Black Figs with goats curd and vincotto $15. The cheese was very light and not overpowering, which I find happens quite often with more dense cheeses. The added addition of the balsamic vincotto gave the dish a welcome zing.
A little accompaniment, were the Parmigiano-Reggiano wafers with thyme $6.50. Speaking with the chef he let us in on a little tip, explaining that these moreish crisps activates the back of your taste-buds making you want to drink & eat more.
It was becoming quite clear that this was going to be a purge worthy night as the amount of food we would be eating was bordering on ridiculous, but it was just soooooo good! Another great addition was the Tomato Truffle with garlic bread $12. The tomato was slow roasted and stuffed with truffle paste. The garlic bread wasn’t too pungent and didn’t hit you in the face, leaving room for the truffle to shine.
Lex, the amazing chef of Pocket Bar was adamant that we try the Pickled Anchovies $15 which are quite literally the devil to myself and Bianca. I remember vividly many times where my mother tried to hide them in her cooking so we would eat them but we always managed to sniff them out and avoid them. These anchovies were actually ‘pleasant’, but still not quite to our taste-buds. At least we tried them!
Bianc, seeming to never be able to steer clear of a dish involving some sort of yeasty carb, we ordered the Soft shell crab hoagie with kimchi mayo $12. Hopefully you aren’t embarrassed to eat in public because this one’s a super killer one to eat in front of people! Thankfully though it tasted amazing. Even the lettuce had a really nice crunch that mimicked that of the crab.
I have never tried kangaroo so I was really excited to give it a go. The Kangaroo Tataki $20 had thinly sliced kangaroo with a ponzu sauce and thinly sliced garlic with Australian greens…what’s more Australian than Japanese?! I actually really enjoyed the fusion of flavours and is definitely a must order.
Myself and Bianc are really unadventurous sometimes when it comes to certain foods so when you’re meant to eat crispy school prawns with hot mayo $15 whole she was turned off. I on the other hand quite enjoyed the flavour. Very easy to eat and the hot mayo really amplified the flavour of the prawn.
All the food that we got to taste was really vibrant in colour and were presented in a way that was beautiful but had that homely feel. This was especially evident with the Yabbies cooked in pernod and gremolata $20. The yabbies reminded me of the moreton bay bug that I ate at Est. without being drowned in a buttery broth…which was heavenly by the way.
So you know how I mentioned the bar not being pretentious…It isn’t but this dish made me chuckle, Who doesn’t love a bit of fried chicken skin with caviar $49 The skin was dangerously good, a bit salty but balanced well with all the components. Lex (the chef) made mention that this was his take on Momofuku’s Chef David Chang’s fried chicken dish.
And finally we’ve reached the final leg of the savoury dishes for the night! We finished off with the Lamb rack with salt bush and almond scordalia puree $35 Legitimally perfectly cooked pieces of lamb that had such a delicious aftertaste. It was presented in such a great way as well. Really really impressive.
I mentioned already that this was a purge worthy night from all the food so to make things worse we finished off with a Nutella soft serve with chocolate covered potato chips $7 The best thing about this dessert were those crazy chocolate covered chips. I was tempted when I got home to make my own but then I remembered that I can barely cook toast. 🙂 The Nutella flavour unfortunately wasn’t really pronounced in the dish, it tasted more like a really good milk chocolate gelato. It was still good, just didn’t hit the mark for me as I was really looking forward to strong hints of Nutella.
Well, to say I was impressed with Pocket Bar would be a complete understatement. The food was some of the best bar food I’ve ever eaten, actually scratch that, the food beat a lot of other well known restaurants in terms of quality of food and , I will definitely be back before I plan a night of drinking. If you’re a fan of good upmarket drinking food than honestly look no further.
Until next time!
Love all this bars around the Darlinghurst area. That chicken skin with caviar sounds amazing and their soft shell crab hoagie!