Sunday, 24 July 2011

drink'n'dine

Sydney's weather is still rubbish. With most of us needing a snorkel to get to work this week, it's no wonder people don't want to actually leave the house. If the thought of too much downtime at home sounds a bit too scary, think about places you can head to where you don't actually have to leave: A return to an old-school night out, it's all about the pre-dinner cocktail, a leisurely dinner and a nightcap....all in the one space. All the better to keep your shoes dry!

PorteƱo

That favourite rockabilly posse really have a great thing going over on Cleveland Street. The expansive restaurant houses an asador to keep you warm and some of the city's finest toothsome, deliciously roasted meats (and quite a few vegetarian gems, too). Add to this Gardel's Bar upstairs, the restaurant's new(ish) cocktail bar space, run by some of the best cocktail bartenders in the business. There are plenty of lounges and cosy booths to settle in for the night and listen to some rockin' tunes while you sip your old fashioned and have a punt on the vintage foosball table. (tip: listen out for rare live gigs that take place from time to time).

358 Cleveland Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010
www.porteno.com.au

Concrete Blonde

Potts Point seems to be the hotspot for new restaurants to open, with Gastropark and the like sprouting up of late. Concrete Blonde is the next in a round of new places on the Bayswater Road strip and it's a doosy. Like, proper dramatic. Chef Patrick Dank's globetrotting ways have created a menu inspired by American, Japanese and Mediterranean flavours, with dishes like Kentucky Fried Quail, to Prawns with banana guacamole, tomatillo, salmon caviar, spiced popcorn and jalapeno: there's no shortage of interesting flavour combinations here. Add to that a serious cocktail and wine list, arrive early for a pre-dinner drink (Try the signature Concrete Blonde: kumquat and pineapple sage muddled with a dash of sugar, shaken with Belvedere vodka and a splash of pineapple juice, topped with a lychee foam and popping candy) and settle in for the night. Need to dance it all off afterward? With no shortage of nearby clubs, that'll be no problem!

33 Bayswater Road
Potts Point NSW 2011
(02) 9380 8307

The Carrington

A good night out doesn't have to mean putting on your best stilettos though. The Carrington has just reopened in Surry Hills' Bourke Street and it's been a labour of love for owners Jaime Wirth, Mike Delaney and James Miller, who have been working hard to de-chintz this old faitful pub. Replacing it with something more akin to the pintxos bars in San Sebastian and the kind of proper 'old man pub' that Sydney sadly seems to be losing in droves. Befitting of an awesome pub, the grub is pretty damn fine, featuring dishes by chef Jamie Thomas, with a Spanish-slant. There's slow-roasted goat, platters of chorizo in cider and salt cod croquettes as well as three bars for booze, focused on Spanish varietals and other Iberian classic drinks (Kalimotxos anyone?).

563 Bourke Street
Surry Hills, 2010
www.the-carrington.com.au

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