The Victoria Room, Darlinghurst: Cocktails in a Bygone Era

The energy behind the bar is palpable. This is my first impression of The Victoria Room after ascending the dark steps from Victoria Street in Darlinghurst.

Opulently decorated in British-Raj style, the Victoria Room with its discreet entrance occupies the first floor above a bottle shop. The atmosphere on Saturday night is stylish with an ebb and flow of elegantly dressed patrons shuffling from the bar to the coveted seating area with dark leather lounges, ornate cushions and old-style lampshades.

The Victoria Room, Darlinghurst
Interior of the Victoria Room

There are couples enjoying an intimate drink and small groups of friends assembled around cocktails. The ambient music is a little boisterous for such olde-world surrounds but not enough that you have to shout to be heard.

The action behind the bar is dizzying with bartenders frantically, mixing, shaking, stirring, and pouring while providing a personalised service.

The Victoria Room, Darlinghurst

The cocktail list echoes a bygone era of the British empire with cocktails divided into Prologue, the first tipple of the evening designed to whet the appetite, The Main Act, with bold spirits and Epilogue, a selection to be enjoyed after dinner. The Victoria Room Favourites and the Cocktail Enthusiasts lists take the drinks into serious territory with drinks such as Zombie and Burnt Fuselage.

The teetotaller among us who has graciously offered to drive when Mr G couldn’t make it opts for the English Rose ($11), a non alcoholic drink made with mint, rose syrup, cranberry and lime juice to cut through the sweetness, elegantly served with a rose petal.

The special cocktail tonight is a Sicilian Summer Highball ($16), made with gin, Florio Amaro with homemade raspberry lemonade  a light and refreshing mix to which my friend takes an immediate liking.

The Victoria Room, Darlinghurst

Though comprehensive, the cocktail list leaves me undecided. With my recent liking for full-bodied cocktails such as those I had at Eau-de-Vie Bar and Emmilou Tapas Bar, I decide to go Omakase, meaning Chef’s Choice in Japanese and ask the bartender for a strong cocktail that is rich in flavour.

“Not a lady’s drink,” I hasten to add.

The Victoria Room, Darlinghurst
Cuban Blazer in the making

He pours Havana Club Añejo 7 Años Rum into a brandy glass, adds Grand Marnier then balances it over a tumbler filled with hot water. He adds caster sugar, sets it alight and I watch the flame dance in the glass. Once it subsides, he adds Angostura orange bitters, lemon and orange zest and covers the glass with a napkin.

The Victoria Room, Darlinghurst
Cuban Blazer

I lift the napkin on my Cuban Blazer ($20) and breathe in. The fumes seduce my nostrils. The aromas from the rum and citrus deliver a strong kick, a prelude to the first sip. The drink is warming and fragrant. I can easily go for another.

The Victoria Room, Darlinghurst
(L to R) Cuban Blazer, Sicilian Summer Highball, English Rose

The Victoria Room, Darlinghurst
Crowd

For those wanting nibbles with their drinks, The Victoria Room offers bar food which includes a charcuterie board ($18), pork rillettes ($17), polenta chips with grated truffle pecorino cheese ($11) and a sweet option of chocolate and hazelnut mousse with crisp biscotti ($16).

The Victoria Room, Darlinghurst
The Victoria Room

Dinner is available in the restaurant section with supper being served on Fridays and Saturdays between 11pm and 2am.  The Victoria Room also pays homage to another British tradition. High Tea served on Saturdays from 12.00pm and 5.00pm and Sundays from 1.00pm to 5.00pm.

I find it a little difficult to gauge the true ambience of the Victoria Room on Saturday night. The exotic and old style setting in which to enjoy a drink deserves a less hurried pace and not so frantic ambient music. I make a mental note to return mid-week.

The Victoria Room
Level 1, 235 Victoria Street
Darlinghurst NSW
www.thevictoriaroom.com

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The Victoria Room, Darlinghurst: Cocktails in a Bygone Era was last modified: December 20th, 2015 by Corinne Mossati

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Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is the founder and editor of Gourmantic. An avid scribe, she has taken pen to paper since the age of five. Her repertoire includes long works of fiction, short stories and travelogues. She is a winner of the GT travel writing competition, has judged the Australasian Whisky Awards and several cocktail competitions. She is also named in the Australian Bartender Most Influential List.

28 Comments:

  1. I like the decor – fun and comfortable – sophisticated but a nice change of pace from the speakeasy style i see so often.

    For the blazer, I always assume with the blazers that lighting them on fire warms them up. I wonder what the purpose is of both lighting it on fire and putting it over a glass of warm water?

    • I didn’t get the chance to ask! In between ordering, snapping a few quick photos in the dark and noting the ingredients (this cocktail was off the menu), it all happened too fast. Next time when I go mid week, I’ll ask the question. Either way, it was a lot of fun to watch then sit in these lavish surrounds and enjoy!

  2. Aaah, I remember VR on Sat nights – looks like it’s still just as busy and gorgeous!

  3. AUS: a visit to a British Raj style bar with blazing drinks by @Gourmantic http://ow.ly/4BYYQ

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  4. Cuban blazer looks a treat, at $20 a pop I’m going to try making it for happy hour tonight :)

  5. How lovely to see you capturing the esssence of the night – will try to have two drinks next time! ;)

  6. Classy decor! Had a look at their cocktail list and I see what you mean by being spoilt for choice. My kind of place for slow boozy evenings.

    • I think sometimes it’s best to leave it up to the bartenders to suggest a cocktail. I got exactly what I was after and enjoyed the show. Definitely worth going back to again!

  7. Make mine a Burnt Fuselage! I love the retro Raj menus. Great pics of the glass warming too.

  8. Love the name, Burnt Fuselage, too. The English Rose sounds lovely for a teetotaller variety. Looks like a great place.

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