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20° & PARTLY CLOUDY ON SUNDAY 21 DECEMBER IN SYDNEY
Spring Street Social is Bondi's next big thing, a hole in the wall hiding an underground club.

What I want to do is write a stellar review of this ripper new venue in east Sydney, but there’s a problem: all I can think of is mousse. Muscovado sugar mousse ($12), to be precise, a dreamy delight of sea buckthorn, crackly flakes of sugared carrots, and buttery almond streusel. The first spoon of the dessert had my eyeballs half out of my head, and that’s where they stayed through to the final mouthful, brain cells bursting like popping candy with all the joy of it.

Spring Street Social is Bondi’s next big thing, and like all great holes-in-the-wall, there’s no signage. The farm-to-table, nose-to-tail, custom-built with vintage brick restaurant is all about the tables for two. Glass jars of dried lavender and brittle blossom sprigs are scattered around the 20th-century cure-all-inspired eatery, and three-legged lampshades cast a soft light over everything from a framed advertisement for Abadin to a swish leather lounge set with a checkerboard table.

High benches along the wall are a contemporary touch, complete with flickering candles and tin cutlery buckets. Lining the shelves of the main bar are glass jars of aged bourbon infused with apples, cardamom, and chicory, all concealed for a moment behind the veil of smoke from Harry’s gun.

Taken from the glass jar, this apple pie-infused Bulleit Rye Whiskey, Martell VSOP Cognac and applewood smoke-infused Chasing the Dragon cocktail ($17) feels an ancient remedy. The Charlton ($17) — Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka and Rhubarb Bitters muddled with cucumber and shiso leaf (a Japanese mint) and cinnamon-infused agave — goes down the quack hole so damn easy.

The menu, by former Carrington chef Katya, offers something for everyone — all great food at great prices. The Salmon Candy ($6), for a start, is wicked and extra excellent washed down with an Anchor Steam ($10) beer. The lobster macaroni ($28) with chorizo and sundried tomatoes is an absolute standout, and go a side of the pepita and feta-drizzled harissa carrots ($8). Dude food is in the way of sangas and sliders, and you’re well schooled on dessert.

Spring Street Social is separated by a neat corridor from the excellent Jam Gallery — another two bars, three stages, a booming bass get-up pumping from under the stairs. The innovative, underground space promises to deliver an inside-out experience when it comes to themed nights. The Day of the Dead evening saw the place decked out really spooky — smashing artwork by Roberto Duran and face paint to boot — but owner Pete Wright says he doesn’t want the place pigeonholed. “We’re not trying to classify ourselves as jazz or blues,” he says. “It’s a performance space, a creative space.”

Both venues are the initiative of the former pharmacist and current farmer, who runs a holiday property complete with petting zoo. The hand-raised Bambis aren’t on the menu, though the same can’t be said (thank goodness) for the black truffles.

“I love beautiful food, beverage, art,” says the ambitious boss who prides himself on taking care of his staff and enforcing a ‘no dickheads’ policy when it comes to patrons. “It’s a creative space, a hub for musicians, a place for everyone — whether you’re 18 or 75.” That is, providing, you’re not a dickhead.

Three words: Go. There. Now.

Published on November 07 , 2013 by

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