Wednesday, 22 October 2008


Published in Time Out Sydney

Rosebud Restaurant & Bar
654 Darling Street
Rozelle NSW 2039
Phone (02) 9555 8999

Rozelle’s end of Darling Street has had an empty spot in its heart left by organic supermarket About Life, when moved to greener pastures (and a larger space) down the road. Locals have been watching this space for some time, hoping for a new lover to call their own. Enter Rosebud Restaurant & Bar. This tall, dark stranger has since taken up residence, across the road from Rozelle stalwart, Lazio.

A quick scan of Rosebud’s website turns up the phrase ‘Think Rosebud, think an exotic fusion of flavours from around the world’. Smarmy advertising slogans aside, this restaurant slash bar slash café is one of many jumping on the bandwagon to take advantage of the new NSW licensing laws so they can multitask as a chic café during the day and a sexy wine bar restaurant by night.

The large airy space certainly looks like the perfect place for a breezy brunch and those with caffeine dependency issues will be happy to discover that Rosebud churns out a particularly good latte. A combination of long Bills-esque communal dining tables as well as cosy tables for two and bonkettes for bouncy toddlers (just be sure you remove their shoes first) fill the warehouse-feeling space and exposed wiring completes the vibe.

Whilst the all-day breakfast looks appetising enough, we’re lured by promises of more exotic fare.

The lunch menu and blackboard specials turn up a number of Italian and Lebanese-inspired dishes such as Spaghetti Vongole, Lamb Shanks and Mezze. The Whitebait and Mint fritters sound like they fit the bill, but perhaps there is something lost in translation. The fritters are disappointingly stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth gluey and the shoestring fries appear to be courtesy of the same chef as a restaurant down the road called Le Golden Arches.

The Mezze platter is significantly more hopeful, a generous serving of classic Lebanese Mezze fare; Lamb Shish, Pickles, Felafel – all the usual suspects are present and executed with a rustic homemade vibe. Particular props go to the Felafel with its green, soft interior hidden beneath a crisp brown crust. Whist the Shish has all the aromatic flavours of garlic, cumin and coriander present, the kitchen appeared to be without our old mate Harold Holt (er, that’s salt).

Rosebud may not have met all expectations of exotic fare and they seem to still be finding their feet as a restaurant. What they do have in spades however, is a great café vibe, killer coffee and a trendy, Inner West family-friendly destination.