Address: Aquarium Wharf, 7 Wheat Road Darling Harbour NSW
Tel: (02) 9290 1571
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I was recently invited to Helm Bar’s menu launch and was allowed to bring some friends along.
I brought MDS, Wallace, MC, Dino, Daniel, SenoritaLay and MRyan.
MRyan Photography was the guest photographer for The Casual Food Blogger on the night and took some fabulous pics. Check out his webpage for more!
About the event
The event was a launch party for the menu, open only to Gold Members. Becoming a Gold Member was free; all we had to do was sign up.
Some of the benefits include:
- Complimentary and priority entry to Helm Bar when your card is displayed
- Complimentary venue hire on your birthday, as well as a bottle of Champagne on the house
- 10% off all food and beverage, 7 days a week until 9pm
- Loyalty Points Program where you will receive points for every dollar spent. These points can be redeemed for food and beverage
- Receive regular updates of all Helm Bar’s exclusive events and members only specials
The girls enjoying some drinks
The “function space” was sectioned off with a black tape but, unfortunately, it wasn’t really enclosed. People from outside the sectioned off area came in, and those from inside went out to get more tables and chairs. Not exactly ideal if you are having a function and are paying for food as other people can easily crash your party!
The atmosphere in general was pretty nice though . There is a great view of the Harbour with it’s bright lights, and the open layout makes it feel more spacious and cool. The venue had comfy seats lining the side of the bar, small stools and high bar tables scattered throughout.
The DJ was playing some great tunes and MDS, Wallace and I found ourselves bopping to the beats a couple of times through the night!
TCFB, Wallace, MDS, Dino, Daniel, MC and SenoritaLay
The only issue we had with the venue during the night was with people smoking next to us. Although one side of the bar was somewhat open, the blinds were pulled down and so you couldn’t really say it was outdoors. I would definitely have described it as “enclosed”. The guy who was smoking next to us made our clothes smell and made it a little harder to enjoy the night, and none of the staff members seemed to notice him smoking!
Initially, service was pretty average. This was because all the food was being taken to the front of the event and those of us at the back were missing out on some of the dishes.
I think there were maybe one or two dishes we missed out on, including chicken satay skewers.
After MRyan spoke to some of the staff members, they were really helpful and began serving some dishes to the back first. This meant MRyan could get some great pics, and we could actually try some of the dishes on the winter menu!
Despite the above hiccup, service overall was pretty good as the staff were very helpful, extremely friendly and pleasant.
There was free wine tasting for those in the event, and MDS, Wallace and I tried about 2-3 different wines.
We also got free cocktails, including the Tom Collins – described on the website as “a classic: Tanqueray Gin mixed with fresh lemon juice, sugar syrup and soda to create that traditional lemonade taste”, and the Strawberry Woo Woo– described as “a British classic: Ketel One Vodka with Peach Liqueur, muddled strawberries and cranberry juice.”
Tom Collins, $12.00 and Strawberry Woo Woo, $14.00
However, it was the new food menu that I was interested in!
All of the food was extremely well presented, and MDS and I loved the cute little bamboo style baskets the chicken and paella were served in.
We tried (please note these are only sample sizes and don’t reflect the true portions):
Cajun Style Seafood Paella – w/ chorizo sausage, mussels, calamari, prawns & cajun chicken (normally $26.00).
The paella was hot and slightly spicy, with large prawns and pieces of chicken. The rice was well-cooked and overall, the paella was really tasty.
Peking Duck pizza– peking duck, oyster mushrooms, green shallots,
hoi sin sauce, chilli oil, w/ fresh cucumber ribbon salad (normally $20.00).
Chargrilled Chicken Burger – marinated chicken breast fillet, tomato, lettuce, cheese, aioli & peri peri sauce (normally $12.00 or $18.00 with fries).
The chicken burgers had a delicious sweet chilli flavour to them and the chicken breasts were generous.
Thai Marinated Chicken Drummettes w/ lime aoli (normally $15.00).
The thai drumsticks were fantastic, with juicy pieces of chicken, cooked through (no pinkness) and full of flavour. The coconut milk on top and chilli pieces scattered over it added colour and creaminess.
and delicious Margarita pizzas (normally $18.00).
The pizzas were a decent size and had a good amount of toppings on them. They were served on a nice wooden board, hot out of the oven.
Overall, I was pretty pleased with the menu. It showed some great crowd -pleasing items such as pizza and chicken burgers, whilst delivering food with great flavour and depth, such as the paella and Thai drumsticks.
Overall a very interesting menu, and one that is adaptable to both meal -sized and canape-sized portions.
Overall I would rate my experience (out of 10):
- Service- 6
- Food- 7.5
- Ambience- 7
- Value – 7