The chilly weather has arrived, so that calls for hearty comfort food that can get us through these winter months. Across the city, Sydney's best bars are revamping their menus for the cooler days ahead, bringing you dishes that will heat you up — and also pair well with toasty winter cocktails, warming glasses of red and fiery drams of rum. Since the best seat in the house is usually at the bar, we teamed up with Samsung to find the best bar menus to try in Sydney's CBD this winter. We also brought along the new Galaxy S9 and S9+ with its tip-top low light camera to get some snaps of said bar menus to show you what's in store.
Bentley is synonymous with fine-dining in Sydney, with executive chef and owner Brent Savage turning out an ultra-refined menu in his cubist-painting-esque O'Connell Street digs. But the extensive (and pricey) tasting menu isn't the only way to dine here — our favourite seat in the house is at the bar. It's a regular haunt for the CBD after-work crowd and is one of the best spots for a solo drink and nibbles in the city (and a snap of said nibbles to invoke some great food envy via your story).
Bentley's winter bar menu spans from casual to high-end, with the likes of house-made rye served with black sesame butter, hand-cut chips with aioli and glazed wagyu beef buns sat with Western Australia's Angasi oysters with finger lime, slow-cooked beef tongue with fermented saltbush and even premium $240 Italian caviar with accompaniments. Pair your eats with a glass (or two) of wine from Bentley's extensive wine list featuring over 1000 drops on offer and a focus on organic and biodynamic vineyards.
It's tricky to look past a bar menu created by a chef who cut his teeth at Copenhagen's Noma, and the elegant small bites at Smoke nod to pared-back Nordic fare with an Aussie twist. Roo dog or barramundi sliders, anyone? The sea urchin and orange jam toastie is the signature dish you need to try at least once, that is if you can pass up the ham and cheese doughnuts. If you're not too hungry, we wholeheartedly condone the spiced macadamias or house salt and vinegar crisps.
Smoke, as the name would suggest, has tipples to warm the cockles of your heart on cooler evenings, like the Smokey Martini, Autumn Spritz and Seasonal G&T with a splash of apricot liqueur. And if steaming food is your aim, perhaps the prawn melts are a goer, or just give in to your true self and order the baked brie with truffle. We won't judge.
DUKE OF CLARENCE
Hidden down the laneway courtyard that also houses The Baxter Inn and The Barber Shop, the Duke of Clarence is an impressive newcomer to the Sydney drinking scene. The 1800s-style British tavern comes straight out of England, with nearly the entire interior shipped over from pubs and churches in the UK.
Since the British know a thing or two about cold, dreary weather, you can't go wrong with their menu of English bar snacks. Think wood-fired bone marrow (our personal favourite of the bunch) or potted crab served alongside soda bread, along with your requisite scotch egg with spicy english mustard and signature ploughman's plate. With over 500 spirits on offer, including an extensive whisky and gin selection, the focus is definitely on the hard booze here. If you're more into cocktails, try the Custard Ale Flip, a wintry concoction of cask ale, Talisker whisky and marmalade custard, spiced with brown sugar syrup and allspice.
Kittyhawk is a throwback to 1944 and the Liberation of Paris, so it basically feels like you're in a time capsule at an endless party in the French capital. Behind the long oak bar, you'll find wartime posters and memorabilia, plus over 900 spirits that help make some of the best in Sydney. For eats, the bar menu of Parisian brasserie food is available all day and night and includes steak tartare, chickpea pancakes with horseradish creme fraiche and a very special steak frites — made with grass-fed flat iron steak and red wine jus.
It's also got a late-night menu served from 11.30pm onward, which is an ideal choice for those looking for a legit after-hours meal. It includes bar menu items like charcuterie platters, baked camembert with truffle and quince paste; shucked-to-order Sydney rock oysters; and even rose water creme brûleé for dessert. To drink, check out the specialty rum and rye menu (with your choice of the two liquors mixed with bitters and orange zest) or the flaming Old Grogram cocktail with spiced rum, stout vermouth, fresh lemon and cinnamon garnish. Head in on Thursdays or Saturdays from 8pm for jazz night.
Restaurant Hubert's subtle wooden door intrigues from Bligh Street and transports you straight to Paris as you descend the winding staircase into the old-world opulence of a genuine French bistro. It's exactly where you want to be on a cold winter's night, and Hubert offers one of the city's best aperitivo hours, too. Its daily aperitif hour runs from 4–6pm and serves up heaps of affordable and hearty dishes and drinks — including $5 G&Ts, $10 negronis, $5 glasses of riesling, $3 deviled eggs, $5 chicken liver parfait and $10 burgers.
This winter, the bar menu also includes French staples with a twist, like duck liver mousse with maple syrup jelly, roasted snails in XO sauce and fried gruyère with dijon mustard, plus heavier plates like steak frites and wagyu tartare. Don't be surprised if you forget that you're in Sydney altogether — your photos will certainly say otherwise.
Camera tip: if you want to take some snaps of your dimly-lit surroundings, a longer exposure will help capture the light and create a dynamic motion effect. Adjust your settings by swiping your S9 into Pro Mode. Lower the ISO, increase the shutter speed and keep very still as you take your shot.
Instead of spending your winter nights on the couch, discover all the after-dark happenings in your city here — and don't forget to document it all on the new Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+, designed especially for low light so you can capture your best moments no matter what.