Vanessa: The corner of Crown and Campbell Streets in Surry Hills has been home to many a different restaurant over the past few years, but it’s current occupant, Rosie Campbell’s, is perhaps it’s most fitting to the vibe and clientele of the area. This casual and eclectic jerk diner and rum bar serve up some Caribbean classics in a chilled environment that is ideal for a drink after work or a casual meal with a group of friends.
It was very quiet upon arrival one miserable, rainy Thursday evening but within an hour or so the place was abuzz with patrons. The weather outside did not deter us from ordering up fruity, summery cocktails and a mocktail for moi. Cocktails range in price from $17-$22 which is pretty standard these days.
The menu is designed for sharing and we opted to share a whole bunch of dishes from both the “Smalls” and “Biggies” selection. From the “Smalls” menu we started off with the Chef May’s Patties (2pcs at $11). These oven baked, spiced puff pastry morsels come stuffed with either jerk beef, coconut chicken and seasonal vegetables and are served with a chutney, made in-house.
The Kingston corn fritters ($14) are crunchy and zesty and the pineapple adds a delicious sweet element to each bite!
The pocketful of jerk ($16) consist of coco bread packed with jerk pork shoulder that is shredded and covered in a sweet pepper and jalapeno lime relish. Because my spice tolerance is below zero, I found this one particularly hot to handle, so if you do enjoy a bit of spice it’s a good option!
From the biggies menu, the Rude Bwoy Ribs ($25) were calling out to us. This substantial service of succulent baby back ribs have been braised in a maple jerk glaze and serviced up with nut caramel crackling, fresh lime and slaw. Terrific flavour combinations and a very hearty serve of ribs which are ideal for sharing.
I cannot go past corn in any format so the corn off the cob ($9) on the sides menu was calling my name. The corn has been removed from the cob and tossed with homemade shallot and cracked black pepper butter. The corn was juicy and sweet but I found the butter was too overpowering which left an undesirable taste that lingered a little too long.
The JA Mac n Cheese ($9) from the sides menu is a substantial portion for a side dish consisting of 3 cheese cream sauce smothering the macaroni and topped with a herb butter crumble. A must have!
Of course with our resident “Hamburglar” in tow, we were going to be having a burger of some sort that evening and we opted for the boom burger ($22). The brioche bun sandwiched a topside beef patty, American cheese, tomatoes, crispy onion and Rosie’s island sauce. There was some mixed consensus on the burger but overall I thought this was really tasty and the elements worked well together. Bianca was appreciative of the lack of “crispy water” on the burger. It was unanimous that the jerk chips served alongside the burger were delicious and a true crowd pleaser!
For dessert, we sampled both of the options available on Rosie’s menu. The Coco Cozy ($14) was a surprising dessert as it was not at all what we expected from the description. This was a sweetly spiced coconut macaroon, short crust pastry with vanilla custard. We all expected it to be a traditional French-style macaroon so were intrigued when it came out looking rather flat. The dish tasted much better that it looked visually.
Rosie’s Rum Cake ($14) was my favourite of the two. This is Rosie’s signature traditional warm rum cake served with Chantilly cream, shredded coconut and caramel sauce. Just about all of my preferred things in the one dish! The cake was perfectly moist and soaked up the liquids of the rum and cream. Delicious!
It was around this time of the evening, circa 8 pm, that the live guitarist/singer came on. Whilst it definitely added to the atmosphere and vibe, it was a tad on the loud side for comfortable conversation..but that could just me getting old!!
I think Rosie Campbell’s have priced their menu really well and it’s an ideal location for an informal catch up in a group. I can see this place being a regular haunt among locals!
Photos by Alex
*For Foods Sake were invited to dine as guests of Rosie Campbell’s, however, all opinions are our own.