Rabbit Hole Bar & Dining, Sydney CBD ($$)

Address: Basement level, 82 Elizabeth Street, Sydney NSW

Tel: (02) 8084 2505

Website: http://www.rabbitholebar.com.au/

Opening Hours:

Monday to Friday -12.00 pm to late

Saturday- 4.00 pm to late

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Pendulum Communications invited MC and I to Rabbit Hole Bar and Dining’s (RHBD) first birthday party, located underground on Elizabeth Street.

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The entry

Celeb guests included Justine Schofield (of MasterChef and Everyday Gourmet fame), Nacho Pop, Sam McMillan and Brittany Cairns, while fellow food bloggers; Simon from Simon Food Favourites, Bob from Jugernauts, and Tina from Food, Booze and Shoes were also in attendance.

Atmosphere

RHBD has a very quaint almost 20’s feel to it with lots of neutral colours and old fashioned cartoons on the walls.

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There are two bars: one in the main area, and one in another more intimate space around the corner.  

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Main bar

We headed over after work, about 6.30pm and managed to find a table in the room to the left of the main bar area. 

This space had a bar in the middle and featured cushioned seats on one side of the wall and mismatched wooden chairs, large round barrels and stools around the rest of the space, some covered in white rabbit-like fur.

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Smaller bar area

It was quite dark and the only light we had came from down lights, mirrors, sky lights and candles which added depth and brightened up the dark spaces.

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The place has a quirky and private feel and features mysterious Alice in Wonderland-like accents such as rabbit-related cartoons, flowery cushions in contrast to the dark bar and seats, and “DRINK ME” worthy cocktail concoctions!

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The music was quite relaxed and laid back and contributed to the “classy hipster” vibe.

Service

The staff were pretty attentive, walking around to collect empty glasses and to ask if we wanted another drink, and the bar staff were great at pouring the drinks, serving them up with flair and informing us of the ingredients.

Food

Owner Doug Laming has appointed a new chef, Jeremy Metivier who has worked in Michelin star restaurants and who is the driving force behind RHBD’s new French fine dining menu.

The menu included dishes such as:

  • Goats Cheese and Beetroot Apples
  • Scallops on Beetroot Shortbread with Mango and Beetroot Emulsions
  • Mini Wagyu Sliders with Brie Cheese and house made Relish
  • Slow Roasted Lamb with Artichoke Puree, Coriander and Wine Jelly
  • Salmon Gravlax with Cucumber and Aloe Vera “Snow”
  • Chocolate Skulls, with Firm Spicy Pirate Cream and Coconut Cake

Unfortunately, as MC and I were seated on one side, most of the food never made it past the crowd at the front of the room, so we only got to try 3 dishes.

One of the dishes we tried were the Goats Cheese and Beetroot Apples.  This dish was very elegantly presented on a bed of golden crumbs with glossy grapes and peppered balls of goats cheese covered in an almost waxy edible red coating.

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The other savoury dish we tried was the Salmon Gravlax appetiser, mini versions of the salmon gravalax, cucumber lake, orange cream and aloe vera snow dish available from the dinner menu.

These were little morsels of heaven; perfectly sliced salmon with a green cucumber jelly, delicate edible decorations of orange, red and white and beautiful purple flowers to garnish.

An exquisite tasting dish which had a flavour that matched its appearance.

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Finally, for dessert we enjoyed the Chocolate Skulls– spoons of a spicy custard-like cream with coconut cake rounds, chopped summer fruit and dark chocolate skills with a gold dusting.

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These skulls were lit on fire, leaving the custard warm, the chocolate slightly melted and the on watchers in awe!

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Overall, while we didn’t get much food to try, the menu looked quite appetising and the dishes that were on offer seemed to be different and well put together.  I can see how this place would appeal to the office works and corporates in the Martin Place and CBD area with its fine dining dishes and creative cocktails.

Drinks  

As RHBD is owned and run by Doug Laming, a “molecular mixologist” (read: awesome cocktail maker who uses physical and chemical modification of ingredients to create interesting drinks), it makes sense that he would put his skills on display and serve up an array of cocktails. 

Some of the cocktails we tried included:

  • The Smoked Apple
  • Breakfast Bouquet
  • The White Cloud Above Mount Gay
  • The Wood and Smoke
  • You’ve Gone Nuts
  • Stolen painkiller

Although we didn’t have much food, we did have a LOT of drinks!  We wanted to try one of each of the ones we saw so we ended up sharing quite a few between us.

First up was the Smoked Apple. It contained  torrontes and pomme verte layered agar apples, Ceylon tea infused cinnamon syrup, rhubarb butters and cloudy apple juice finished with fresh cider, smoked salt and some apple slices.

It was a pleasant looking dish, served in a short glass and while the smokey flavour wasn’t really to my liking, MC enjoyed the fresh flavours and boldness of the drink.

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We then shared one of the sweetest drinks, the Breakfast Bouquet.

This drink has larios, gin, double creme de cassis, rose and strawberry jam, wild willow water, fresh lemon and a dash of rhubarb bitters.  It is a complex yet sweet looking cocktail which looked lovely, topped with a rose petal and blueberry.

As you drink the cocktail the scent of the rose petal wafts up and leaves you feeling as though you are walking through a field of roses!  Lame but true.

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We also enjoyed a rum and marshmallow foam cocktail which was called the White Cloud Above Mount Gay.

Mount Gay extra old rum is shaken with black pepper, pineapple caramel, fresh lime and more pineapple, and is then poured over marshmallow foam which leaves a white cloud on top.

The drink is another sweet one which, after the previous sweet drinks, we found a little hard to swallow.  While it was interesting to watch it being made, I wasn’t a fan of it as it was a little too sweet.

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The Wood and Smoke was an interesting cocktail which the menu says is made from ingredients including Jim Beam Devil’s Cut, Laphroaig single malt whiskey, quassia (bark chips), barberry bark syrup, acid phosphate and bitters.

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After shaking up a storm, the bartender pours the slightly cloudy drink over ice, where it settles and turns from creamy to clear.  A cinnamon stick is placed in the drink and is then set alight, giving a woody and smoky scent.

While I preferred the sweeter drinks, MC, a Jim Beam and Jack Daniels fan, enjoyed this smoky, cinnamon flavoured cocktail over the rest.

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The You’ve Gone Nuts drink contains Sierra Millenario infused with tonka beans, and shaken with Disaronno amaretto, house-made peanut and cashew syrup and finished with walnut bitters.

The cocktail looks like it is full of lemon juice with a sugar rim but in actual fact, like the other cocktails, it was quite sweet rather than sour.

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Finally, the Stolen Painkiller, a first for me, this powdered cocktail tasted like fizzy sherbert pops.  It contained powdered rum, pineapple, coconut and passionfruit powder and was served in half a passionfruit shell.

The interesting presentation and tangy sour taste was a great way to finish off our cocktail tasting and we enjoyed it, although one of the guys seated next to us wasn’t a fan!

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Rating

I would rate my experience (out of 10):

  • Service-  6
  • Food-   5 (what food?)
  • Atmosphere- 7
  • Value – 7

TCFB dined as a guest of Pendulum Communications and Rabbit Hole Bar & Dining.

Rabbit Hole Bar & Dining on Urbanspoon

 

Streetfest Sydney, Belmore Park

Address: Belmore Park, Eddy Avenue Haymarket

When: First Friday of every month at 5.00pm

Website: http://foodtrucksunited.com.au/

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This article was written especially for TCFB by MC. 

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Walking into the Streetfest at Belmore park I was excited and curious to see what my first food-truck-meets-art-show festival would be like. 

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The atmosphere was very upbeat and party-ish, with a wide variety of street-artists painting their various styles of art, from portraits to abstract art, with brushes, spray cans and markers.  TCFB even ran into an old school friend (from primary school!)- check out her twitter here.

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Overall there was a very urban theme which contrasted with the mixed variety of office-workers, artists and people casually visiting. 

There were two main spaces on either side of the path through the park.  One side had a VIP dance section with ciders and beer available for purchase and the other side had most of the food trucks and a big space in the middle for people to sit down and enjoy their meals.

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Unfortunately there wasn’t much seating available, which was a bit frustrating as we were in work clothes and didn’t want to sit in the dirt/grass.

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We met the Street Fest Event Manager and also the Street Fest founder, who explained to us that the Streetfest is inspired by US (specifically New York and Los Angeles) style food outlets in vans.  The founder recommended several dishes around the venue, including the porkbelly at the Asian Street Food van, the German kransky and the tacos.

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They gave us a couple of food and drink vouchers to try a cider and a plate from one of the trucks and we were off on our way to enjoy the Festival.

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We chose to walk around the area first to see what food was available before deciding what to eat. 

There were quite a few trucks serving up hot food and drinks to the hungry visitors.  Some of the trucks included Jafe Jaffles, Agape Organic, Tsuru, AlCarbon, Street Sliders, Cantina Mobil, Urban Pasta and a Cane Juice stall.

After walking around for some time we ordered from the Nepalese Van.

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We got the Chicken Momo, basically a Nepalese dumpling, which we ordered with chilli sauce. Despite the Momo’s being slightly dry on the outside, they were well cooked and moist on the inside. The chilli sauce was very tasty and did not dominate the flavour of the chicken.

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Shortly afterwards we grabbed some Gaymers Cider, Tropical Flavour, which was served over ice. It was refreshing, slightly sweet without being too overpowering, and had a nice orangey colour to it, almost like lemon lime bitters.

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After sitting on the grass for a few minutes we decided to get some Sliders from another stall: Street Sliders.

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After a 10 minute wait, we received our sliders; one chicken (brick) and one beef (prime) served with chips (MC’s favourite). We had half a Slider each so we could try them both, and both meats were well cooked with a great texture, juicy interior and lots of flavour.

The chips were crunchy, not quite as good as Three Williams, but they were freshly fried and well salted.

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Two sliders and chips, $13.00

During our visit to the Streetfest there was a steady crowd of people coming and going; it wasn’t clear if they were passing through to the station or attending the stalls, but the venue was bustling with people and it was an enjoyable experience.

We are looking forward to the next Streetfest and hope that the number of stalls increases with more variety and hopefully some more spots to sit!

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DISCLAIMER:

TCFB dined as a guest of the organisers.

This is a guest post and reflects the reviewers’ own personal opinions. The Casual Food Blogger accepts no responsibility for anything that is said in or caused by this review or anything contained in, caused by, or arising out of, the content of this review.

On Ramen @ Night Noodle Markets 2013, Hyde Park Sydney

Address: Hyde Park North, Sydney NSW

Website: http://sydney.goodfoodmonth.com/nightnoodlemarkets

Opening Hours:

October 9-12, 14-19, 21-26

Mon-Tue 5-9pm; Wed 5-10pm; Thur-Fri 5-11pm; Sat 4-10pm

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MC and I headed back to the Noodle Markets this week to check out another popular item on the menu, the Ramen Burger.

We got there around 5.45pm, and after grabbing a couple of delicious satay chicken skewers to snack on, we headed over to the Ramen Burger stall.

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Satay Chicken Skewers, $3.00

As you can see from the photo, the queue was quite long as it was a popular choice.

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Now there has been a bit of a buzz about the Ramen Burger recently since it was launched by David Yip from On Ramen in Haymarket.

The dish has been popular in Japan, since invented by a 35 year old New Yorker obsessed with Ramen.

Making the patty involves cooking noodle patties until al dente, then washing them under cold water, infusing them with a ramen sauce, freezing it in a container and then frying them hot until crisp to create a “bun”.

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The vegetables on the burger include onion, lettuce, tomato and corn, and the burger can be made with either tofu or beef.

It comes with a side salad which includes, interestingly, watermelon.

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Beef Ramen Burger, $12.50

Overall, the burger is delicious. I loved the mayo tasting light sauce, with the fresh and delicious watermelon. The patty is crisp and firm, without being crunchy and breakable, and the beef is of good quality, delicious and juicy.

I would highly recommend trying this innovative take on Ramen and definitely suggest getting it while it’s hot at the night noodle markets, open until the end of this coming week!

If you miss the markets, check out On Ramen in Haymarket:

Address:  4/181-187 Hay Street, Haymarket

Tel: (02) 9211 6663

On Ramen on Urbanspoon

Night Noodle Markets 2013, Hyde Park Sydney

Address: Hyde Park North, Sydney NSW

Website: http://sydney.goodfoodmonth.com/nightnoodlemarkets

Opening Hours:

October 9-12, 14-19, 21-26

Mon-Tue 5-9pm; Wed 5-10pm; Thur-Fri 5-11pm; Sat 4-10pm

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Currently in its 15th year, the Night Noodle Markets in Hyde Park attracts about 200,000 people each year.

With over 40 delicious food stalls, which are mostly Asian, the Night Markets is a great way to enjoy the beautiful Spring weather with a drink and a quick and cheap meal with friends in beautiful Hyde Park.

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Rekorderlig Cider invited me down to the markets to enjoy a drink at their beer garden.

A short stroll from Darlinghurst, Chinatown, Circular Quay and the city centre, it didn’t take me long to walk up after work, and when I got there (around 5.45pm), the place was already starting to fill up.

I was impressed by Rekorderlig’s chilled out set up with a “May pole” covered in green vines and flowers, beautiful fairy lights, quirky white trees on the tables and funky tunes coming from the (very young looking) DJ. 

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Rekorderlig stall by day

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Rekorderlig stall at night

The signature red and white chairs, seen at previous Rekorderlig stalls, looked comfortable and inviting and provided a great spot from which to sit back and people watch.

We ordered some drinks from the bar in the tent near the beer garden.

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The staff were friendly despite the fact that they were probably dying from the heat that day as it was about 30 degrees in Sydney!

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I ordered the Mango Raspberry cider, one of my favourites!

As always, it was ice cold, perfect for the hot summer day. This flavour is one of my favourites so I really enjoyed the fresh, crisp taste.

In some interesting news, I learnt that one of the favourites, Strawberry Lime Cider is now on tap and will be heading out to bars across town soon!

I also got the scoop on some exciting new developments next week- stay tuned for more information!

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After checking out the Rekorderlig beer garden I met up with my lovely mum and we walked around the rest of the markets, looking at our options for dinner.

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The place was packed out and the background music, Chinese dragon shows and buzz of happy people chatting in the park made for an exciting and fun environment.

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The Night Noodle Markets are definitely a good place to take friends from overseas to, to showcase Sydney’s multiculturalism, or to enjoy a good meal after work from some of Sydney’s most popular Asian restaurants.

Some of the restaurants with stalls included East Ocean, Din Tai Fung, Jackie M Malaysian, Longrain and Zilver.

The Jackie M stall even has Ms M herself cooking at the front of the stall!

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After a bit of walking around, I decided on a delicious box of fried goodness from East Ocean ($12.00). It included pork ribs, salt and pepper octopus and delicious prawns.

The ribs were soft and delicious, easy to eat and tender with a tomato and BBQ styled sauce.

While I am not a big fan of octopus (I don’t like the tentacles). I didn’t mind this as the thicker parts at the top were easy to eat and the fact that it was fried meant I didn’t notice the suckers on the tentacles as much!  🙂

The prawns were well cooked through and were great with the hot chilli sauce.

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Mum decided to get a chicken curry with yellow rice from Chinta Ria, which she said reminded her of Sri Lankan biriyani.

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The chicken pieces were well-cooked and had absorbed the delicious spices from the curry. They were good pieces of chicken with plenty of meat on them.  The yellow rice was gently flavoured and had a slight sweetness from the sultanas.

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We both enjoyed our meals and had a great time out.

I will definitely be returning to try out some of the other foods available, perhaps even the Ramen Burger!