Sydney gets the whole bar restaurant scene spot on. We are so lucky to have easy access to high quality produce and extensive choices of local wine. Just over 6 kilometres drive north of Sydney CBD is a new Mediterranean inspired modern Australian restaurant. Barrel bar and dining is located on Military Road in Cremorne. Owners Stephen Thompson and Tony Binning along with Chefs Zan Stanning and Luke Davenport runs the show. They are all about showcasing high quality local produce to be matched with wines sourced from local and international producers.
Upon entering the premises, a mixture of modern Manhattan bar and Scandinavian fit out is revealed. An impressive display of wines and bar seatings can be seen in front, and an elegant courtyard-like restaurant setting at the back is available.
Their cocktail list looked very interesting so I decided to try the War Head ($18). It was a mixture of apple sours, maraschino cherry, vodka, muddled lime, and apple juice. After my first sip, the drink's name made a lot of sense. It was an explosion of vibrant sweet fruity flavours! The lime and vodka cuts through the sweetness. I enjoyed the War Head and recommend it for those who like cocktails with a mild alcohol after taste.
First dish we tried was a 12 hour cured Queensland king prawns, vanilla and coffee bean jelly, lemon, thyme, coriander, pine nuts ($17). It had the effect of a prosciutto and a tad on the salty side. But the lemon, vanilla and coffee bean jelly, and pine nuts balanced out the flavour. The pine nuts in particular added a sweet buttery flavour that goes well with the cured prawns.
The pressed pork belly, poached Victorian pears, pickled fennel, red vein sorrel, roast macadamia nuts ($19) was another delicious dish. The pickled fennel added a nice flavour accent to the pork belly. The chunky cubes of pork had a caremelised crust and was tender on the inside. The poached pears beautifully complimented the pork.
Their sautéed king oyster mushrooms, lemon garlic puree, parsley sponge, juniper berry powder, mushroom bark, mushroom pangratatto ($14) is one of the best mushroom dishes I've had (possibly the best to date). It was creatively plated like a mini forest. The smoky crackling-like mushroom barks, the buttery silky oyster mushroom and the garlicky mushroom bread crumbs (pangratatto), lemon garlic puree and parsley sponge was a cocktail of textures and flavours that worked so well.
We also had their local snapper, persimmon, charred zucchini, yellow squash puree, crisp corn kernels, lemon & garlic ($31). The snapper was perfectly cooked along with a nice wafer-like crisped skin. The sweetness from the squash puree and crisped corn kernels went well with the snapper. It's one of the most enjoyable seafood dishes that I've had in a while.
The slow cooked beef cheeks, confit leek, turnip, pureed parsnip, braising sauce ($26) was the stand out dish for me. The beef was juicy and tender that it took very little effort to pull it apart. I also enjoyed the caremelised glaze around it. The soft and sweet confit was such a fitting side to the beef along with the creamy pureed parnship and turnip.
For dessert we had a frozen dark chocolate parfait with chocolate shards, strawberry powder and sweet lime gel ($14). The frozen dark chocolate parfait was like a light malt chocolate ice cream and I totally digged it! The chocolate shards added an enjoyable contrast to the parfait. The strawberry powder and sweet lime gel acted as the fruity accent to cut through the full body chocolate flavour.
Barrel Bar and Dining is an amazing addition to the Lower North Shore food and bar scene. Their funky creative twists to classic dishes were superb and the service is excellent.
Ramen Raff was invited by Drysdale Communications as a guest of Barrel Bar and Dining.
Barrel Bar and Dining
3/362 Military Road
Cremorne NSW 2099
Monday - Friday: 5pm to Late
Saturday: 12pm to Late
Sunday: 12pm to 10pm