Foley Lane. You may know it as the narrow laneway just off Taylor Square or the backlane of the discrete entrance to Shady Pines. Foley Lane is also one of the latest small bars to open in Darlinghurst and an establishment set to make a name of its own.
Bearing no signage, it is not a speakeasy or a prohibition-style bar. The 1920s white art deco building is its unique identifier – and locating it is part of the fun.
Owners Julian Marchetto and Nathan Moses have created a welcoming small Sydney bar serving original cocktails and Spanish-inspired tapas with Chef Nelson Burgos ex Mamasita of Melbourne.
Inside the wedge-shaped space with art deco tiles, attention to detail is evident from the shape of the bar that follows the curvature of the room to the comfortable high stools and the banquettes that line up one wall. Here, a lot has been thoughtfully considered from hooks under the tables to support handbags to the foot rail beneath the banquette to leverage you up if you are vertically challenged.
But the one striking feature of Foley Lane is the welcome and attention you receive from the team.
Opened on June 5th, Foley Lane is already attracting a loyal clientele. On a weeknight, groups of friends are gathered at the bar sharing a bottle of wine with food, couples are meeting after work for a drink and people of various age groups look at ease as if they have been long time regulars.
Macadamia nuts spiced with paprika
The cocktail list makes use of premium and some unusual spirits and the drinks are priced around $18-$19 mark.
Cocktails are named after the neighbouring streets, adding a community touch to the venue which you can’t help but appreciate. The Crown St Espresso is a special take on the espresso martini which gives a nod to the cafés along Crown Street.
Bartender Alex Woods preparing the Taylor Square Spice
The Taylor Square Spice ($18) is set to become the signature cocktail. Made with Singleton 12 yo single malt, spiced apple and home made paprika syrup, you get the smooth whisky flavour at first followed by a little sweetness from the paprika syrup and it ends with a lingering kick from the chilli. Delicious, warming and wickedly addictive, don’t let this drink sit too long or the ice will dilute the flavour.
L-R: Taylor Square Spice and the Spanish Inquisition
For a lighter and zesty alternative, try the Spanish Inquisition ($18) made with Spanish Gin, Cava and St Germain Elderflower liqueur. The drink is served in a St Germain beaker which you pour into a champagne flute. Fresh and spritzy, you can easily drink a couple.
If cocktails aren’t your drink, you can order the Sangria ($35/L) or beer, or opt for the range of wines from Spain and Australia. Many available by the glass such as the 2007 Coto De Hayas Crianza D.O. Campo De Borja ($10/$46), an easy drinking blend of Grenache and Tempranillo from Spain.
Chicken Tostada – Avocado – Coriander ($4.50)
The tapas menu is well priced which encourages you to try various dishes.
The chicken tostada is a burst of fresh flavours with chicken pieces on avocado with tomato, parsley and lime juice with a little kick from the chilli.
Braised WA Octopus – Lime mayo ($9)
The braised octopus with lime aioli is a surprise dish. Served cold, the octopus has been slow-braised for three hours in water and its own juices before garlic, olive oil, paprika and sherry are added. The octopus is incredibly tender and flavoursome. If you’re sharing this dish, you may be tempted to order another. This is one of the favourites.
Roasted Mixed Mushrooms – Goats Chevre – Macadamia Gremolata ($8)
Combining button, oyster and brown mushrooms with macadamia and ashed goats cheese, the dish is a contrast of textures with the smoothness and creaminess of the cheese, the crunchy nuts and the earthy flavours of the mushrooms.
Morcilla – Poached egg – Mahon – Truffle oil ($12.50)
If you’re feeling adventurous, try the morcilla, or blood sausage, which comes served with a poached egg, shavings of mahon Spanish cheese and a hint of truffle oil. Break the egg and let the yolk run and coat the sausage releasing the flavours. This is another of the favourite dishes on the night.
Catalan style mint flan ($8)
For dessert, you can’t go past the crema catalan, smooth, silky and creamy with a delicate hint of mint to balance the sweetness. It hits the right spot.
Churro– Manjar ($2.50)
Or you can opt for churros which you can order by the piece. They come served with rich caramel sauce made with milk, cream and jam that you’d want to eat with a spoon. And they happily oblige and offer it to you.
Condes de Albarei Licor Café de Galicia
For a digestive, try a glass of Condes de Albarei ‘Licor Café de Galicia’ as a shot or simply on ice. This is a Spanish coffee liqueur made from albariño grapes that have been fermented on coffee beans and is unlike popular coffee-based spirits. You get chocolate notes, followed by the smoothness of the caramel before it ends with a slight bitterness of the coffee.
Foley Lane ranks high among the new generation of small bars that know how to create an inviting environment that combines a good choice of drinks with delicious food. The vibe is relaxed and the owners are welcoming and passionate about their business. You often see them chatting to patrons, explaining the dishes and ensuring everyone is well looked after. The music is upbeat but not intrusive on conversations. Drop in for a cocktail, sip on a glass of wine or have a cold beer on tap then stay for a bite to eat. And once you do, a return visit will always be in order.
371-373 Bourke St
UPDATE June 2013: Foley Lane is now serving Boozy Brunch on weekends.
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