Bianca: Stepping into Hacienda bar you wouldn’t be far off thinking you’d been transported to an upmarket bar in bustling Cuba. I’ve never been but walking out of Hacienda after a recent Sunday session, I feel I need to book a plane ticket stat. Translated from Spanish, Hacienda means ‘large estate or plantation’. Instantly connecting the dots for us re design and concept. With floor to ceiling windows making full use of the view out over Circular Quay and the Harbour Bridge. With muted pastels and low hanging shrubbery from the ceiling. I can easily see this place becoming the place to be seen in the warmer months.
We started with a round of drinks. The Cubano Punch w/ spiced rum $21 is a quintessential summer drink. The Cayo Coco Colada w/rum, coconut cream and mango sorbet $20 is slushie like in texture with the coconut cream muting the strong alcohol kick. Alex, ever the espresso martini fiend couldn’t look past the Salted Coconut Espresso Martini $20. We loved the strong hit from the rum and coffee liqueur but the desiccated coconut made for an odd grainy drinking experience.
There is the choice to go all out with the food but the menu has really been set up as smaller, bite sized shared options.
We started with the Jamon Croquettes –w/ a cheese sauce (5) $18. Perfectly fluffy and gooey inside, with a crispy exterior. The cheese sauce at the base of the plate was an excellent choice to add both creaminess and to really amplify the flavour. It was hard to choose a favourite but these were up there.
The Yuca Fries – w/pink & black salt and served with a red pepper sauce $12. Were a more authentic fry (if you’re going for the South American feel) so using Cassava made sense in that regard but I don’t think you could steer me away from regular potato fries. We loved the sharpness of the accompanying sauce.
Back in the day I’d whip up batches of beef empanadas on the reg and not to toot my own horn… they were pretty amaze. The Empty Empanadas – beef empanada’s with egg guacamole (5) $16 were kinda just that. Empty. They were very tasty don’t get me wrong but an extra tablespoon of filling really wouldn’t go astray.
We were instantly taken with the Pao De Quejo – tapioca cheese bites & capsicum salsa $12. Essentially a small baked cheese roll. The texture was a little off-putting initially but once you get the full cheese flavour that takes a back-seat.
The Vaca Frita – Charred skirt steak with chimichurri $24 is a gorgeously vibrant dish, the steak was a perfect medium rare and sliced thinly to really accentuate the velvety tenderness of each piece.
And perhaps what could be considered a signature dish at Hacienda. The Cuban Reuben – w/ Cuban spiced homemade pastrami, smokey cheese & marickville pickles $18. This is right up my alley. Bread, cheese and meat. That’s the perfect combination. With perfectly succinct ingredient ratios. The pastrami had that slight pepperiness, the mustard really amplified every bite. My only nit-pick is the use of Swiss cheese, I hate it. But, lame for me… it’s a staple ingredient in any good Reuben.
And then we finished with a final round of cocktails. The Old Presidente $20 and the Rye Tai $20, which boasted an immediate alcoholic head spin upon that first sip.
We were kind of smitten by Hacienda, it’s got the cool vibes, beautiful vista, peeps for people watching and good food and booze. What more could you really ask for from a bar?
Photos by Alex
*For Food’s Sake dined as guests of Hacienda but all thoughts and opinions are our own.