Once a '20s gangster battleground, now a shady speakeasy.
January 25, 2015
Back in the '20s, you'd always be caught dead on Kellett Street. Once the battleground of vicious razor gangs — headed by the brothel-owning 'Queen of Woolloomooloo' Tilly Devine and fencer of prohibited goodies 'Queen of Surry Hills' Kate Leigh — Kellett Street saw a good portion of the epic and bloody Razor Gang Wars between 1927-31. Now, the shady backstreet is a Sydney night strip home to clubs, nightspots and eateries — including brand new, just-opened bar/restaurant Parsons.
Opened by brothers Joe and Nick van der Heide, Parsons is housed in the site formerly home to French bistro Cafe Boheme. It's a gutsy move, as Good Food points out, with the street gaining a bit of a reputation for cut-short restaurant residencies — although fellow Kellet Street newcomer The Powder Keg is diving in too. But perhaps it's simply a matter of daylight. "A lot of the places [that didn't make it] tried to focus on day trade," Joe van der Heide told GF. "It's still a night strip."
Parsons is decked out in classic '30s speakeasy detail, with low hanging exposed light bulbs, an openair back room and Chesterfield couches. Drinks-wise, the cocktail menu is full of '30-style gems like The Parsons' Mistress (Belvedere, elderflower, gin, egg white, fresh mint), Blood and Sand (scotch whisky, sweet vermouth, cherry, blood orange) or the Black Cherry Banger (Gentleman Jack, lime juice, simple syrup, grapefruit bitters and cherry soda). You'll find the local likes of Rocks Brewing Co.'s Hangman Pale Ale and The Governor Golden Ale on tap, with a vintage wine ledger on request. Happy hour ($7 pints, $5 house wine and $12 cocktails) runs until 7pm.
Nosh-wise, you'll find bar snacks like pork crackling (served herbed or fiery), olives and house-seasoned nuts. For something shareable, there's crumbed pork strips with house made ketchup and lemon aioli, pulled beef brisket sliders with mustard slaw, cheese boards and charcuterie. For a heftier eat, Parsons is offering up vegetable galette ($15), prawn and shitake ravioli ($17), chicken mini roasts stuffed with parsley, spinach, walnuts and currants ($18) — all topped off with housemade ice-cream from head chef Sciara.
Find Parsons at 3 Kellett Street, Kings Cross. Open Tuesday through Saturday from 5pm until midnight.