Retro furnishings, a hidden bar and a diverse new menu — this Redfern spot is eager to please.
It's kind of amusing that this place is called Misfits. The word evokes a certain level of anarchy, and yet, this Redfern bar — from the crew behind The Glenmore, The Tudor Hotel and Australian Heritage Hotel — seems wholly intent on being a crowd-pleaser.
It so often seems that bars follow an imaginary checklist of trendy must-haves and, if so, Misfits certainly hits a few. Pink neon sign? Check. Giant print of a random famous person? Check — in this case, it's 60s British model Twiggy. A rooftop terrace and a secret bar? Check and check — the former is filled with greenery and the latter is hidden behind a bookcase.
Yep, Misfits is a millennial's Pinterest board come to life, right down to the pink walls and retro furnishings. Throw in some board games and subtle references to the rockers of times past (Bowie, AC/DC and Freddie Mercury adorn the coasters), and you'll think there's a bit of an identity crisis occurring. But is it actually extremely intentional? Include as many 'cool' things as possible and every guest is sure to find something they like? It's the bar equivalent of 'playing the field'.
The same goes with the drinks menu. It's seriously long — 15 pages to be precise — and features an extensive selection of spirits, international and local wine (including, inexplicably, 20 different magnums) and craft beer. The cocktail menu is similarly diligent, with twists on old favourites like the cold drip espresso martini, chilli margarita and rhubarb and rosemary pisco sour, plus a handful of new ones. It's not the most unique offering in Sydney, but, again, that's not really the point. And the Smokin' Archie ($16), with Archie Rose gin, Aperol, blood orange and smoked grapefruit soda, does the job if you're feeling somewhat adventurous.
The food menu, which was quite safe before, has recently been jazzed up. It's still divided into snack plates, including a divine 'nduja and provolone jaffle ($10), followed by small and large plates. And, this time round, the kitchen's taken inspiration from many cuisines.
You can start in South America with a sweet and zingy kingfish ceviche tossed in coconut tapioca, cucumber and lime ($21), and cornbread with whipped black butter ($10) — order multiple plates of this, it's too good to share. And if you want to keep this not-sharing thing going, opt for the good ol' American bacon cheeseburger ($18) as your main.
Otherwise, the large plates and sides will serve you and your guests well. The slow-cooked lamb shoulder ($42), a nod to the Mediterranean, is a highlight. It's surprisingly tender and served atop a smoky eggplant purée, with a parsley and pomegranate salad. The roast cauliflower, served with burnt buttermilk, pine nuts and raisins ($11), would've been, too, but it needed to be a little softer and more charred. The crispy potatoes ($10) come doused in Korean chilli butter (are you keeping count of the different culinary regions?), are a great accompaniment to all of the above, too. It's not the most cohesive meal. But it's so moreish that you won't feel an ounce of regret when you're too full to order dessert (okay, maybe a tiny bit).
Misfits clearly decided to go broad — with both its decor and menu. And is it a bad thing? Not necessarily. Redfern already does niche well, and sometimes a safe bet — plus a midnight 'nduja jaffle snack — is all you want from a night out.
Images: Alana Dimou and the Wedding Architect.