Small Bar + Kitchen
Small Bar + Kitchen marks a hat-trick of lively wine bars, big on flavour, however small in size.
Small Bar + Kitchen is the youngest in a family of three popular small bars where there’s never a dull moment and rarely a spare seat. Located in the village centre of Kirribilli, Small Bar + Kitchen caters to the after-work locals seeking a chic place to loosen the tie and have a few quality drinks that won’t turn into ten.
It’s a good thing we called ahead, as we’ve secured ourselves a highly coveted table inside. We start our evening with a round of the proffered mulled wine, a perfect suggestion for such a wintery evening. Served in a wine glass with a segment of orange, it's warm, elegant and a great first impression.
The well-conceived bar menu offers up bounties from the sea, land, dairy and paddock. There’s a clever assortment of well-priced share plates, perfect for taking the edge off dinner. The baguette with truffle butter and pink salt ($6) cannot be ignored in present company and proves delightful and rich in its simplicity. The bar-menu staple of classic hand-cut chips is dressed up with a kicking harissa mayonnaise ($6.50) and is sadly short-lived, so we order another.
At this point we are thankful that the bar stools are fitted with bicycle pedals (!) so we continue to enjoy our order guilt free while whirling away under the table. The sweet potato gnocchi ($12) is our third selection, and a quick vote reveals it’s won dish of the day. Meltingly soft quenelles of sweet potato in brown butter and wild pine nuts with flecks of sage hits the spot as a flavoursome, satisfying dish. The fried calamari ($14) is well seasoned in lemon zest, chilli and parsley but sadly a little limp, while the jerk-spiced chicken ($14) is surprisingly lean and moist, dressed in a colourful and zesty papaya slaw.
The three dessert options are ideal for those who can’t decide and just want one of everything; however, we opt for the coconut tapioca with double cream, passionfruit and sponge, which is a class act.
A delicious accompanying glass of the 2013 David Hook Pinot Grigio ($10/glass) is a fresh and savoury white with subtle hints of kiwi and green melon. The Lark Hill Viognier ($10/glass) is surprisingly sweet and an enjoyable dessert in its own right. Unlike Small Bar’s sister in Crow’s Nest, the Kirribilli branch offers beers on tap, and we show our appreciation by ordering the Rocks Brewing Company Golden Ale ($7.50) and the delightfully dark Indian Pale Ale ($8.50).
Small Bar + Kitchen marks a hat-trick of lively wine bars, big on flavour, however small in size. Kirribilli’s latest is well worth the detour.