Sitting and sipping in Sydney's best small bars every Monday. Check here for regular reviews.
“I love Assembly Bar!” That’s what a fellow barhopper told me a few days before we were scheduled to go, so trusting her taste, I wiled away my Monday at work pining for a relaxing drink and some delicious food. The particularly windy Sydney weather was threatening to freeze off my nose in the two hours I had to kill before barhop, so after a warming coffee at some café, I wandered over to Kent St early.
Counting the street numbers down to 488, I encountered an attractive “This way to Assembly Bar!” sign, and the design nerd in me approved. Don’t judge me because I judge bars on their logo.
The astroturfed seating area outside was almost too cheerful in its greenness, as well as currently being in a wind tunnel, so I opted to wander in towards the cosy light. Inside, my first impression was of awesome music, red leather couches and wooden pallets – another nod of approval – especially the pallets, as it’s always nice to see a bar stick by it’s name throughout the decor. I found a fellow barhopper at a tall table, and we proceeded to study the rather attractive menu.
The range of wines available was accommodating, and though we were slightly puzzled by the organic, biodynamic sustainable white wine, hell it was delicious so they must be doing something right. The cocktail descriptions were all equally enticing, but the Dark & Stormy was the one that stood out. Served in a generously large jar mug, it was gingery and refreshing.
Food wise, we sampled a candied walnut, pickled beetroot and baby spinach salad, which was tasty but contained some surprisingly hard bits of beetroot, meaning the whole thing was rather difficult to eat with a fork. We also tried the sliders with pork belly, which was cooked to perfection, the fat all squishy and melt-in-your-mouthy. It was too hard to pass up dessert, so we opted for the chocolate fondant – hot and covered in raspberry sauce, it was extremely satisfying before we had to head out into the cold again.
We were seated quite near a tempting spiral staircase that presumably led to an amazing upstairs area, not that we could find out, because a placard across the stairs said that upstairs was booked out for Eric’s birthday. Eric didn’t show. Maybe the sign was leftover from the weekend, but I so would have liked to explore upstairs! Curse you Eric!
In terms of service, the bartenders were good, but didn’t have that personal service level some of the other small bars we’d visited had, having said that, the bar was pleasantly full for a Monday night. That’s a pretty good indication that Assembly Bar has a regular crowd and it’s easy to see why – great central location, easygoing atmosphere, food and drink to match, Assembly Bar not only has my design nerd approval, it gets the nod from my inner barhopper too.-JL