When one place isn’t enough for a night out, why not hop to it and experience it all? There is no better way to keep a night rolling than to do a bar hop, and throughout Good Food Month Tanqueray Gin have set the bar (I couldn’t help myself) with some gin inspired cocktails and tapas to taste.
As part of the bar hop, certain locations throughout the city have offered up a cocktail and bar snack for $20, giving you the chance to experience a gin concoction while lounging in some of the city’s best bars.
I for one have never really gone for gin as my beverage of choice, so was pleasantly surprised at the delicious creations placed before me. We were lucky enough to have Dennis from Prestige Chauffeurs to takes us on our bar hop adventure, so with transport sorted we were raring to go.
Old Joe’s, Cronulla
First stop on the hop was Old Joe’s in Cronulla. The laid-back bar is located just back from the beach, and with its bright colours and wooden furniture it is the perfect backdrop for a balmy spring evening. We sat out on the deck and took in the surroundings. While it is not directly on the waterfront, Old Joe’s fits perfectly with the coastal suburb. The arrival of our cocktails confirmed the continuation of the summery vibe.
The Betty’s Brunch cocktail was everything I’d want in a brunch, with Tanqueray gin, grapefruit liqueur, watermelon and lemon juice, lemon sorbet and raspberry float. You had me at sorbet!
My slight trepidations about gin were of course unfounded. I like my cocktails fairly fruity or sweet, and this was the perfect combination. It was just the right amount of sweet, not sickly, and refreshing. It got better towards the bottom with the sweet hunk of sorbet and tart raspberry a tasty finish.
The accompanying tapas brought with it my first proper taste of a scallop not of the potato variety. The seared king scallop was accompanied by cinnamon-spiced apple and prosciutto on a rocket and pomegranate salad bed. It sounds strange, but the combination worked surprisingly well. I am not really what you would call a seafood enthusiast, but then again, if I see [sea] food I eat it! I must admit that I enjoyed my first scallop! The sweet cinnamon and apple combined with the crispy prosciutto gave a contrast in texture and flavour, and the pomegranate spiced up the rocket salad.
The staff were laid back and really friendly, making us feel at home straight away. Old Joe’s was the perfect start to the evening, and should I be in the area again, it’s on the list!
Catalina, Rose Bay
Next up we made our way to Catalina in Rose Bay. After the cheerful casual setting of Old Joe’s, I wasn’t quite prepared for the next stop. My first thought was that I should’ve dressed up more, dang it! Oh well. We needn’t have worried too much, the staff were warm and welcoming. We opted to sit out on the balcony. With such a great view, how could we not? Apparently we were the only ones brave enough to sit outside, but that suited us fine. Looking out over the water at the moored sea-planes and city lights was the perfect way to enjoy the experience. Our cocktails arrived with our tapas of salmon tartare.
The Catalina Collins featured Tanqueray gin, pink grapefruit and lime juice over ice, a twist on the classic Tom Collins cocktail. It was probably less sweet than our previous cocktail, but still tangy and refreshing. The lime and grapefruit gave it a fresh zesty taste, perfect for an evening by the water. I was a little confused by the addition of a straw when the rim of the glass had been sugared, but maybe it was just for presentation.
The Salmon Tartare was light and fresh, and went quite well with the drink. Tartare may not be everyone’s cup of tea, due to it being raw fish, but I found it to be fine. If you enjoy seafood, you’ll probably enjoy this.
I was a little reluctant to leave the peaceful balcony and lapping water of Rose Bay, but it was time to hop along!
Mr Moustache, Bondi
Our next two stops were in Bondi. I was curious about Mr Moustache, and it certainly met my hairy hipster expectations. Tucked down a side alley off the busy main street, the place was packed. It was quite small but clearly popular, and it didn’t take us long to see why.
Mr Moustache (or perhaps it should be Señor Moustache) is Mexican themed, so naturally our tapas were tacos. Lovers of all things Mexican, we happily chose a couple of tacos recommended by the friendly staff. We opted for the Gringa taco, which had wagyu beef, bacon and tatemada salsa in a flour tortilla and the Pescada Baja, with beer-battered fish, pickled cabbage and chipotle mayo. And cue fiesta in my mouth.
The tacos were delicious, and everything I could’ve hoped for. Fish taco certainly wouldn’t be my first choice, but continuing with the apparently seafoodie theme of the night and the fact that it came highly recommended, it was the right choice. The cabbage gave it a nice crunch while the chipotle mayo gave it spice. And the beef taco; heaven in my mouth. I am a big lover of melted cheese, so throw in bacon and beef and a tortilla and it doesn’t get much better. My first bite and I knew it was true love.
We sipped on a Tanqueray Highball with our tacos, another grapefruit and gin combination. The grapefruit was apparent, it was quite tart and had packed a bit of zing. I probably preferred the previous cocktail to this, however it was a good partner to our tasty tasty tacos. The staff were super friendly, and were happy to help us with the taco options. the kitchen is open, so you can enjoy your drink while watching them assemble the tacos fresh.
Mr Moustache is definitely on my list to return to; maybe with a few hairy friends. I have a feeling my moustached dad (who has even gained the nickname Marky-Mark and the Funky ‘stache among a couple of my friends) would fit right in.
Icebergs Dining Room, Bondi
Last up we wound our way around to Icebergs on Bondi Beach. They say it’s all about location, location, location, and Icebergs certainly has that. Overlooking the beach and pools, the view is breathtaking. The candle lit bar area was not really busy when we got there, so we settled ourselves in happily. We picked a spot right near the window so we could watch the crashing waves while sipping and supping.
We receive a No 202 to drink, featuring Tanqueray gin, Royal Rogue and orange bitters. As I may have mentioned, I do enjoy a sweet or fruity concoction. This drink was therefore a bit of a shock to the system. It packed a punch, but, if you enjoy martinis (Mr Bond?) then you’ll like this. It was simple but dry. It just wasn’t to my taste, but at least I can say I have experienced gin properly.
Our accompanying tapas was Petuna Ocean Trout Crudo with lemon and roe crisp. It was certainly a pretty snack, complete with gold dusting to add some sparkle. The roe crisp added crunch to the squishy trout crudo, giving a good balance in textures. I didn’t find it to have a lot of taste, and it was a little chewy for my liking. I think in this case it probably looked better than it tasted.
Our waitress was really lovely, and helpful. My companion was delighted to discover that Icebergs does a Pinot Noir night every Thursday, with specials and live music. We caught the end of a performance, and it was a good addition to the ambient setting.The Bar Hop continues throughout Good Food Month at various locations. For a full list of participating bars, check out sydney.goodfoodmonth.com/barhop. Old Joe’s 141-143 Elouera Rd, Cronulla NSW 2230 Phone:(02) 9523 6866 www.oldjoes.com.au Catalina Lyne Park, New South Head Rd, Rose Bay Phone: (02) 9371 0555 www.catalinarosebay.com.au Mr Moustache 75-79 Hall Street, Bondi Beach Phone: (02) 9300 8892 www.mr-moustache.com.au Icebergs Dining Room 1 Notts Avenue, Bondi Beach Phone: (02) 9365 9000 www.idrb.com
I Ate My Way Through dined as guests of Tanqueray