New panoramic sky bar, Henry Deane, will have you falling in love with Sydney all over again. We've all had our doubts from time to time. Perhaps you took a trip to Melbourne and chanced upon a warm, sunny day or maybe you just don't like the idea of being forced to rent (or live in sharehouses) your entire life. But when you're drinking champagne, slipping down creamy rock oysters and staring out across our city's magnificent waterfrontage — boats cruising below, twinkling city lights and a sunset so beautiful you'll have to fight back the tears — you'll remember all the reasons why you chose to make Sydney your home in the first place.
Located on the top two levels of the historic Hotel Palisade in Millers Point, Henry Deane is one of the most beautiful bars Sydney has ever seen. Of course, much of that credit goes to interior design goddess Sibella Court, renowned for her work on Palmer & Co, Ms G's and Mr Wong. Flatly ignoring the trend for palm tree wallpaper and exposed brick walls, Sibella has chosen a new style to play with: 1920s Hollywood glamour. Drawing on a palette of dusty pink and dove grey, Sibella has filled the glass-walled salon with pink leather lounges, Malawi rattan chairs, opulent copper furnishings and colourful swirls of marble which stain the tabletops and walls. Now, just add a multi-million dollar view that puts the Sydney Tower Eye to shame. Hell, even a freak tornado makes for a charming view from here.
Henry Deane's menu is dominated by boutique spirits — pages and pages worth. Whisky alone is divided into eleven subheadings; don't even get me started on the gin. But let's flip back to the first two pages: food and cocktails. Forego the beer, you can drink that anytime, and live it up like Rita Hayworth with a coconut and pandan daiquiri ($19) made with Coconut Havana 3-year-old rum, lime and salted sugar, infused with fresh pandan leaves (not the cheap paste) and served in fine crystal glassware with a precariously long stem. Like many of the cocktails here, it's not a loud, cheap drink — the flavours are subtle and sophisticated, mingling in perfect harmony.
The second page of the menu is filled with sexy little share plates. The oysters with merlot vinegar ($4.50) and the scallops with vanilla miso butter served in the shell ($4.80) are an absolute treat — and proof that you don't need a black American Express card to enjoy the finer things in life. With chopsticks in hand, we pick our way through a plate of deftly-carved kingfish sashimi topped with pickled ribbons of cucumber and bok choy with wasabi and bonito dressing ($19), but the real showstopper is the horseradish spiced lamb tartare ($23). Pile it high on the house-made lavosh with a stem of watercress and you're in heaven. The mixed grains with confit potato, bell peppers, roman beans and soft egg ($24) marks a lull in the otherwise impressive lineup — it's the kind of healthy salad you probably should eat, but don't necessarily want to. However, we're soon back on track with a sweet pudding of coconut and vanilla sago sprinkled with macadamia nut crumble and astringent pearls of pomegranate and passionfruit ($12).
Sure, Sydney's hectic housing market might mean you will never be able to afford that Darling Point apartment — but you can always go to Henry Deane's and pretend it's all yours.