Small Bar – Sydney, Australia – Bringing A European Touch To Sydney by Nastasia Campanella
At nine a clock on a Saturday night, it’s not very often that you’ll find me sitting on a church bench. Tonight though, my friend and I have congregated at Small Bar. Our bible is a list of tasty nibbles and we’re praying the wines and beers here are good ones. Small Bar was the first place in Sydney to open under the official “Small Bar license”, and its bringing a little European touch to Sydney. We almost walk right past the place as we approach it. Small Bar has been opened since December 2010 and it looks like Sydneysiders haven’t really cottoned on to its existence yet. We enter the sandstone; heritage listed building and were disappointed to find the best seat in the house was taken [a French style window seat in one corner]. The skinny bar has a long church pew lining one side of the room with tables set up in front. Along the other side is the wooden bar and there are wine bottles and posters from what looks like World Youth Day on the wall. It reminded me of bars in Rome, with old furniture and a rustic finish.
Small Bar seats 100 and is split over three levels – our favourite is the amazing little nook down the spiral staircase. There are sandstone walls giving the underground area a little sophistication, glass topped tables and cosy arm chairs give the place a lounge room feel and I imagine the fireplace will be perfect in winter. The tea light candles give a touch of romance and the music was a mix of great hits from the 90′s [my guess is that it was a mix from owner, Chris Lane's iPod]. Totally suited me! I mean, where can you go these days and hear The Verve’s, Bittersweet Symphony?
My friend and I order the Bruscetta [$10], – diced tomatoes and finely chopped basil nicely laid over thinly sliced Italian style homemade bread with a side of freshly grated parmesan cheese. Next were the Dutch Croquettes [$9]. They were beautiful balls of mashed potato with tasty melted cheese and diced beef. The batter on the outside was crunchy, while the inside was creamy and smooth. We’ll be back to try the French Pate served with apple and macadamia nuts on Sourdough – the perfect mix of sweet verse sour and the warm spinach dip. My only complaint was that we weren’t given plates – instead, being left with napkins to drape over our laps so we could munch away without getting our pants dirty. Perhaps though, this did make for a very low key, relaxed mood – you know, picking bits with your fork and popping them into your mouth? Nice, but plates work better for me.
Food ranges from $7.50 to $15, but the kitchen does close at nine. Drinks however, flow all night. We opt for the white wine that evening. I sipped on an Echo Ridge Semillon 2006 [Hunter Valley], [$8], – a fruity, yet dry drop. My friend had an equally fruity Pond Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2009 [Adelaide Hills] [$7.5]. The most expensive wine here is $14 a glass, while beers range from $6.5 to $12.5. This place doesn’t serve cocktails so girlies, if that’s what your after, head somewhere else.
Small Bar is still very much in the baby stages of life. It is a nice place to go for a first date or a quiet catch up drink. In my opinion, the rustic, European influenced decor is the bars main attraction and I recommend those interested in history and quiet winter nights beside the fire come here.
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