Gnome. You may know it as a café in Surry Hills serving some of the best coffee in Sydney along with tasty brunch and lunch dishes. But as the sun sets, the intimate venue along Crown Street is undergoing a little transformation.
Gnome, Surry Hills
Gnome has recently begun incorporating whisky into their menu and is building on a range of impressive single malts that satisfy connoisseurs. Well-priced at $10 a glass, the mantra is to get people to come in and experience the whisky at an affordable price range.
Start with the Jimmy MacTaggart cocktail ($14), a variation on an old fashioned made with Isle of Arran 10 yo single malt with orange bitters and a dark cocoa mist. Hold the glass to your nose and you get a rich aroma of chocolate followed by citrus notes before the flavour profile of the whisky lingers on the palate.
Jimmy MacTaggart cocktail
Tempted as you may be to try another of the same, the Gnogroni, an Aperol Negroni made with Tanqueray Gin, orange bitters, Antica sweet Vermouth and Aperol instead of Campari. The drink is a little sweeter at first sip but as dilution begins the flavours unravel.
The food menu consists of appetising dishes designed to be shared or enjoyed on their own. The dishes also takes a whisky focus such as the whisky pickles with baba ganoush and Persian fetta ($12). The carrots are pickled with Glenmorangie single malt and vinegar. Crisp, crunchy and a good accompaniment to a cocktail, the vegetables have a lingering whisky flavour that makes it delicious.
The baby beetroot tart with triple cream cheese and beetroot jam ($10) is a tasty vegetarian option with sweet flavours from the jam and a little nuttiness from the cheese.
Baby beetroot tart
The crab and white fish with lime served with avocado and toasted sourdough ($14) is zesty, fresh and summery dish that packs a lot of flavour.
Crab and white fish
And saving the best till last, the Whisky Kilpatrick oysters ($15) are a taste sensation. Four freshly-shucked Sydney Rock oysters accompanied with 15ml Ardbeg 10 yo, which you add via a dropper, controlling the amount of smoke. The smokiness of whisky and bacon is a delectable combination.
Whisky Kilpatrick oysters
Single malts are on rotation with a new dram featured each week. Try the Auchentoshan Three Wood, aged in Bourbon casks, Oloroso sherry casks and Pedro Ximenex, a well balanced, smooth, make it a smooth sipping whisky goes well with tart. Benromach 10 yo comes from a small distillery that uses an inland peat with has no saltiness or maritime characteristics, matured in selected oak casks. The unpeated Bruichladdie 10 yo is almost creamy with a lemon curd character, sharp citrus and buttery on the finish.
While Gnome is embracing a whisky focus at night, it remains a place you can casually walk into for a coffee, a bite to eat or try their signature Blood Mary. With cool jazz tunes, the occasional Gotan Project song, you could be in a café in Montmartre with a casual and inviting vibe, where you can even engage with patrons at the table beside you. Or check out the cheeky gnome giving you the bird.
We’ll let you in on a little secret. Keep an eye out on Gnome as it develops and evolves over the next few months. We can’t give everything away yet but as it expands into what will be known as Arcane, there will be a personal collection of 400 whiskies from part time owner and night time operator Dan Woolley, World of Whisky ambassador who is renowned for opening multiple venues around Sydney. And with that, there is reason to be excited.
Gnome Espresso and Winebar
536 Crown Street
Surry Hills, NSW 2010
Ph: 02 9332 3191
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