Saturday, January 30, 2010

Etch Bar

Any time a new bar opens in Sydney it's a good thing. Particularly when that bar is associated with one of my favourite restaurants- Etch.
When I was given the opportunity to try it out before it was open to the public I jumped at the chance; because anything with the 'North' name, must be good.

The bar itself is actually the brainchild of Justin North's wife, Georgia, so instantly we know it will be done well. She has good taste- she married Justin, after all. (Obviously her talents go beyond this, but it's certainly worth noting.)

The bar itself is at the front of the restaurant. For those of you who have been there before, it's near the counter and is separated from the rest of the space with some white screens which allow a sense of intimacy in the bar without feeling cut off from the restaurant and also make the whole room seem larger.
The decor is divine. Etch already had a lovely, homely feel which adds to it's appeal as it always feels like you're at a friend's dinner party and the bar makes you feel even more at home with it's plush grey and silver toned chairs and couches, cosy, separate seating areas perfect for 4-5 people and assorted candles ornaments adorn the window sill.

We were served a number of cocktails, most of them new creations for the bar addition, but some which are already served at the restaurant. The current cocktail menu can be found on the Etch website.

Each cocktail we tried was light and (dangerously) easy to drink. A floral theme was evident with hibiscus popping up more than once.

The drinks we tried were:
  • Bells of St Clementine- (Aperol, Absolut Vanilla, Absolut Citron, Lemon Juice) this was stunning. The creaminess of the Vanilla vodka mixed with the tang of the lemon juice made it taste like one of those sherbie lollies (but not as sickly sweet as a lolly, of course.) I could live on this drink. (new)

  • Garden Party- (Gin, Hibiscus, Cointreau) Tastes as pretty and airy as it looks. Normally I'm not a fan of gin-based cocktails (despite Gin being the best cocktail base) because I don't like the dryness and the bitey after taste, but the cointreau and hibiscus in this drink cancel it out making it a delight to drink. (new)

  • Pink Ginger- (Radish, Gin, Lemon, Ginger Liqueur) This sounds as though it would be strong and bitter, and admittedly I am a big fan of ginger, but it was surprisingly alot sweeter than it's ingredients would suggest. My friends and I decided that this one tasted most like an Amaretto Sour, but ginger- duh. Definitely refreshing, but not something to order if you don't like ginger.

  • Peachy Keen- (Peach liqueur, Bombay Sapphire, Earl Grey Syrup, Rose) You can tell from the name how delicious this one is. Any tannins the tea might posses cut through the sweetness of the Peach liqueur making them the perfect combination for this cocktail.

  • Full Monty- (Montenegro, Sauterne, Vanilla, Soda) This was a nice, long drink to end the night on. Rich in flavour and comfortable on the palette, it accompanied all our food very well. A good choice for the undecided mind or for those with neutral tastes.

Although I'm sure there will be many more to add to that list once the bar is open.

Current menu favourite- Flower Fizz (Rose, Hibiscus, Sparkling Wine)

As for food, we were treated with a number of different goodies. The great thing about coming to this bar is you know you can get a decent feed as well as a good drink, not just one or the other.

With our first drinks we enjoyed garlic marinated olives and spiced nuts. This was followed by a smokey confit duck liver pate topped with a Madeira Jelly served with herbed toasts.

Confit Duck liver pate with Madeira Jelly

This was followed by Hummus with toasted flat bread. I don't recall eating much of this so it must have been delicious and was gobbled up quickly by my friends! That's always a good sign.

The flat bread had a certain sweetness to it and was a nice consistency.

Hummus with toasted flat bread

Sauteed Squid & Chorizo and Confit Trout with a Beetroot Mousseline came next, but unfortunately I am allergic to seafood so I couldn't try these. Well, I did sneak a bit of chorizo and some of the Mousseline off the top of the trout and beetroot dish as I just couldn't resist that incredible red colour.

Sauteed Squid and Chorizo

Confit Trout and Beetroot Mousseline

My absolute faves came out last. Pork Belly and mini Wagyu burgers. Do I even need to explain? Yes.

OK, let me tell a story about pork. I don't like it as a general rule. Nothing in particular about it, I just decided when I was little I wouldn't eat it. (In sausages, hot dogs, sausage rolls, other kinds of mystery meat are the exception. I don't like eating it in 'solid' form) However, a few years ago, while dining at Becasse (Another of Justin North's fabulous, multi-award winning restaurants) Crispy skinned Pork Belly was served as part of a set menu. I didn't want to be a brat, so I just decided to eat it. I'm SO glad I did. It's evident to me that Pork cooked in a Justin North restaurant is far superior to any other pork in the entire world. Yep. It's science, don't fight it.

So I was thrilled to get to have some again last night as the last time I had it was on Melbourne Cup day.

It's so very delicious, I'm not sure what herbs are used, but initially it's very salty and then as you chew, further flavours are released and...I can't even type, my mouth is watering so much.

Pork Belly

Mini Wagyu burgers are fairly self explanatory, except for the fact that these were- and you know I don't use this word ever so that it doesn't lose it's meaning- AMAZING.

The best way I can think to describe these is going to sound odd. But you know when you're drunk, like, 4am-been-drinking-for-10-hours-drunk and you buy a burger/kebab/slice/hotdog and at the time you feel like it might be the greatest thing you've ever consumed?

These burgers invoke the exact same feeling! The best part though, is that you're not drunk and you're not standing outside Kings Cross Maccas with your stilettos in your hand.

I could have eaten one million of these burgers. They were perfection.

Mini Wagyu burgers

So that completes my rundown of some of the food and drink at the new bar. The official launch is next week so after that it will be open ready for you to go nuts and eat heavenly food and drink beautiful cocktails.

Make sure you check it out, I don't just harp on about these things for the hell of it. I really do want you to eat well and enjoy life like I do!

Etch Restaurant and Bar
62 Bridge Street, Sydney
(02) 9247 4777


  1. Yum!
    I can see it being very popular with the successful combo of beautiful surrounds, great service and yummy cocktails. Just what Sydney craves. Looking forward to it.

  2. So glamourous! How do you get invited to all these fabulous events? Are you an escort? :p

    I cannot imagine someone as beautiful as you barefoot in the Cross eating a kebab!! Just shows how down-to-earth you are :)

  3. Oooh i think i definitely will be checking it out when i come to Sydney in March! So nice.

  4. Sweetness thanks hugs and kisses for the comment on my Etch post ~ I've just got ONE fashion post on my food site ~ haven't tried the cocktails I stuck to champagne but I'm going back to try them soon they look FAB!


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