Is there anything better than celebrating the end of a long day with a glass of bubbly? Yellow Hour, Zeta Bar’s dedicated Veuve Clicquot happy hour, is here to help. Running every night from 5pm-7pm until the 15th of April, you have the chance to experience this renowned French Champagne in fresh and exciting ways. Served traditionally by the glass or mixed into specially created cocktails, treat yourself to a drink on the balcony and watch the world go by below.
First to try, the Pink grapefruit and rhubarb bellini ($15). Absolut Vodka mixed with house made grapefruit and rhubard puree which is then topped with Veuve Cliquot. A fresh fruity mix which isn’t as sour as I thought it might be having grapefruit as a main component. In fact, every flavour aspect comes through and holds it’s own in the drink. The foam adds another flavour layer on top with St Germaine elderflower liquor melded with coconut and emulsified with a touch of egg white.
The Almond and Scorpion ($15) was quite impressive to the eye, with the oversized glass being served suspended on a Veuve Clicquot tray. Taste wise, it was a tangy yet punchy mix of Cognac, Creme de Cacao, house made passionfruit puree and Veuve Cliquot. Served with passionfruit pulp to add that extra tang and texture but left on the side to serve to your taste, it was quite an easy to drink cocktail.
The Zeta 75 ($15) with Beefeater Gin, lemon juice, simple syrup and Veuve Cliquot really came through in terms of flavour. Unassuming in it’s looks, this citrus wonderland could have possibly been my favourite drink of the night. I felt that the gin and lemon played harmoniously with the Veuve Clicquot and really allowed the flavours of the champagne to stand out. The sugar cube, when slightly heated, warmed the lemon underneath and added an aroma to the drink – hinting at what the taste could be like before you took your first sip.
I’m not a negroni fan, but I found that Zeta Bar’s take on the classic with Veuve Clicquot in the mix was a more sweet version of it’s tart inspiration. La Dolce Vita ($15) with port, Campari and Veuve Cliquot was a subtly sour drink with the Campari not having as big an impact as a traditional negroni. The port added some spicy notes to the mix and the Veuve Clicquot certainly leveled out the flavours and added a freshness to drink overall.
Every good drink has a snack that is perfect for pairing with it. The team at Zeta certainly hasn’t forgotten about including a great selection of bites to pair with their Yellow Hour cocktails.
Like Korean fried chicken bites with french fries and sweet and spicy sauce ($16). This chicken in a Korean style batter was awesome. All four pieces were so light and juicy that you could easily devour the whole box yourself. Add in the fries and house made sweet and spicy sauce (perfect for dipping your fries in too) you’re set for some sunset snackage.
For the oyster fans, they do serve freshly shucked Sydney rock oysters ($5ea) with a choice of mignonette dressing or cucumber and mint dressing. We had ours with just lemon however, and this was still quite a tasty morsel. I also loved the plating, having the oysters sat atop a bed of seaweed.
Although it might seem a bit steep to order a $17 serve of fries, the potato shoestring fries with parmesan cheese and black truffle mayo are definitely worth it. The thick, decadent truffle mayonnaise is absolutely to die for and had me involved in serveral “one last chip” grabs to savour the taste. Combined with the parmesan shavings on top, this was one special hot chip dish.
You can’t go wrong with a classic combination of salmon and dill but Zeta have made an example of the pair. Their homemade salmon fish cakes with dill mayonnaise ($15) really hit the spot for something substantial yet are still light enough to not leave you feeling heavy. The filling was made up of a good amount of salmon pieces, with potato and herbs in a mash. The dill mayonnaise only added an extra flavour profile to the already flavoursome dish.
When Yellow Hour ends, they have plenty of great cocktail options to see you long into the night. Like the Coconut Grenade ($25) with havana banana rum, coconut honey, velvet falernum, citrus and bitters. Just like a Pina Colada, only flipped on it’s head, this cocktail is one that has you envisioning life on a secluded island. Tropical ingredients like banana rum and coconut infused honey make your insides happy and spiced spirit velvet falernum has your taste buds trying to guess what flavour is coming across.
Otherwise try the Martinique Smash ($22) with Old Forester bourbon, Agricole rum, cinnamon and grapefruit mix, mint, citrus and pimento bitters. This is a good mix if you’re in the mood for something that is light, yet made with traditionally heavy alcohols. It’s fresh and fun, with the mint and cinnamon waking up your senses and the bourbon and rum relaxing you right into that Friday feeling.
Being so central to everything, you have no excuse but to check out Yellow Hour before it ends next month. With great, cheap cocktails and a range of delectable nibbles you’ll be the new crowd favourite for suggesting Zeta Bar for after work drinks or a place to kick start your Saturday night.
Yellow Hour at Zeta Bar
Zeta Bar, Level 4, Hilton Sydney, 488 George Street, Sydney NSW
Dates: 13 February to 15 April