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FOOD & DRINK

Eight Winning Cocktail and Snack Combos to Order If You Just Can't Wait Till Dinner

Silence your grumbling tummy with one of these bite-sized dishes — and a tipple or two.
By Concrete Playground
June 06, 2021
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By Concrete Playground
June 06, 2021
  shares

EIGHT WINNING COCKTAIL AND SNACK COMBOS TO ORDER IF YOU JUST CAN'T WAIT TILL DINNER

in partnership with

Silence your grumbling tummy with one of these bite-sized dishes — and a tipple or two.

Just like wine and cheese go together, there are so many bar snacks that are born to be paired with an expertly made cocktail. Sydney is home to a clutch of great cocktail bars where the food offering is on par with the drinks, so it's worth ordering a little bite to eat alongside your next tipple. With some help from American Express, we've curated this guide to drinks and small bites that you should check out. From stopping by a CBD bar after work for Sydney's best steak tartare to downing tacos at a beachside diner, these are the cocktail and snack combos you should make a beeline for.

  • 8

    This Darlinghurst bolthole focuses on Italian snacks, like salumi and cheese, joined by an approachable wine and cocktail list. Kick things off with a little luxury and order freshly shucked Sydney rock oysters with a lemon-forward mignonette with a just-stirred negroni. Wednesdays to Saturdays from 5–7pm is prime time to head in and enjoy the bar’s aperitivo hour, where oysters are just $1.50 and negronis (and Aperol spritzes, if that’s more your style) are just $10.

    Image: Nikki To

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  • 7

    This unassuming Japanese-leaning small bar located near Kensington Street’s Spice Alley is well versed in the art of making a great highball. It also has an extensive menu of shochu, sake and Japanese whisky. Blossom Bar has just six indoor seats, much like Tokyo’s hidden high-rise cocktail bars, so it’s not easy to nab a spot here. But, it’s well worth it once you do (there are also more tables outdoors). Drinks-wise, the Kinobi Highball showcases Japanese dry gin, zesty yuzu tonic and cherry and peach bitters. Snack on seared salmon nigiri in between sips — it’s the perfect combination to appreciate the technical skills and well-executed simplicity required to make both Japanese cocktails and sushi.

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  • 6

    When Continental Bar and Deli opened in Newtown, it coined the ingenious idea of canned cocktails. The cleverly named Mar-tinny is one of the bar’s signatures with the classic martini batched and canned on site. You can enjoy it — decanted into an ice-cold martini glass and garnished with a briney olive — at Continental’s CBD outpost. Continental’s steak tartare is also a standard-setting iteration of the classic French bistro dish. It includes the carefully diced and seasoned beef dusted with parmigiano reggiano and served with gaufrette potatoes (that’s a snazzy term for potato chips cut into small grid-like waffle shapes), primed for scooping up the steak-y deliciousness.

    Image: Kitti Gould

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  • 5

    Named after both the cocktail glassware and the fictional duo said glassware was named after, Nick and Nora’s offers up both luxury and glamour a cool 26 stories above Parramatta. The sky-high cocktail bar pays homage to the golden era of glamourous post-prohibition bars so, in this vein, you should order a bright and fresh yet sophisticated Cardinal Sin cocktail. Named after Italian-born starlet Claudia Cardinale, the cocktail is made from a combination of sweetened Bombay Sapphire gin, lemongrass, lemon myrtle sorbet and bubbles. Add in a yellowfin tuna slider, replete with togarashi and habanero sandwiched between toasted buttery brioche, and you have an indulgent starting point to your evening on (well, between) your hands.

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  • 4

    This Shire-dwelling Thai restaurant knows how to shake up a killer cocktail or two. Take the chilli coconut margarita, which draws upon the well-known Mexican drink and infuses it with textbook Thai flavours of makrut lime, coconut and chilli. Complement this flavour profile with the betel leaf served with prawn, chilli and coconut. The herbaceous and peppery leaf acts as a vessel to enjoy the grilled prawns and, joined by the spicy marg, is a surefire way to start your Saturday on a hot and high note.

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  • 3

    You’ll find this friendly neighbourhood bar and restaurant that opened post-lockdown last year straddled between Surry Hills and Redfern. Chef Jeffrey Sue trained under Alessandro Pavoni of Ormeggio, so it’s no surprise the menu uses high-quality local produce with an Italian influence. A snacky example of this is white anchovy crostini served with cannellini bean and dill. It’s best enjoyed with a stirred-down-but-still-spritzy americano with Italian red wine vermouth, Campari, Aperol and a glug of soda.

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  • 2

    You may not have seen Bistecca all over social media thanks to its phones-free dining room policy, but once you visit you’ll be looking to tell people (via word of mouth) how excellent it is. While the eponymous dish of Italian T-bone wood-grilled steak is the drawcard, the menu is also home to a few Italian snacks and sides. Order a serve of pecorino — it comes with a generous dollop of truffle honey that complements the salty umami sheep’s milk cheese well. Add in a classic bittersweet negroni and you’ve ticked off almost all the different flavour profiles with just one dish and drink.

    Image: Dominic Loneragan

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  • 1

    You wouldn’t expect to find a heaving Cuban-inspired cocktail bar above a supermarket and sandwiched in between two restaurants, but La Palma is just that. The rum-focused bar is headed up by the Milpa Collective, the folks behind the nearby Taqiza and Calita, plus Potts Point’s Sonora. The crew knows how to serve up a good time in liquid and food form (and a helping of live music encourages the good time vibes) so ordering a daiquiri is a great starting point. The elegant and simple classic lets white rum shine, with a lime kick and a seasonal fruit hit. We suggest pairing your tropical tipple with a Mar Y Tierra taco — a surf’ ‘n’ turf-style snack with beer-marinated steak, guajillo garlic prawns and a zippy charred pineapple salsa. This flavourful taco and cocktail combo will really kick-start your night.

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Helping out never tasted so good — shop small to support the local stores that make Sydney so great. To learn about American Express and the Shop Small initiative, visit here. Then, head this way to find more must-visit spots.

Top image: Continental Deli CBD, Kitti Gould

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