It’s opening night at Hello Sailor in Darlinghurst, and the nautical-themed venue is heaving with patrons.
Hello Sailor, Darlinghurst
Not as if the latest bar to open in Sydney has visible street signage. Hello Sailor is located off Foley Street and is accessed through a narrow entrance with the only clue a tattoo mural of Hello Sailor’s ‘winking lady’.
L-R: Luke Redington, Marco Faraone, Mike Edkins
Inside the dimly-lit Sailor’s Den, nautical memorabilia abounds with ferry rope, recycled timbers, the odd parrot with a Corona, a salvaged timber dinghy lounge and a “porthole” screening scenes from Finding Nemo.
L-R: Hugh Payten Smith, Reece Griffiths, Luke Redington
The bar is where the action takes place, and Luke Redington has created a rotating cocktail list that takes you to a different seaside port around the world each week.
Opening Night at Hello Sailor
Nautical beers also feature on the drinks menu with a wine list (also by the glass) including Italian wine varietals.
L-R: Armando Alvarez, Army Navy
Start with the Armando Alvarez cocktail, light and refreshing, made with Espolon Blanco tequila, St Germain Elderflower, passionfruit and cucumber. Or the Army Navy, a well-balanced mix with Plymouth gin, lemon, almond and orange blossom that is easy to drink.
The cocktails come in all types of drinking vessels that would make a pirate feel at home.
L-R: Piña Colada, The Billy Bob
The Piña Colada is served in a silver tankard and is a delicious mix of Sailor Jerry spiced rum, coconut, pineapple and citrus while The Billy Bob hits the right whiskey spot with Makers Mark, sloe berries, apricot, lime and pomegranate.
Tempted as you are to make yourself comfortable with a few drinks, walk up the stairs from the bar, and you’ll find yourself in a colourful Seafood Shack with a seafood aperitivo bar.
Upstairs at Hello Sailor (before the crowd arrived)
The nautical theme continues with more hanging rope, a wooden interior, porthole windows on the doors, two cosy booths and a long red communal table.
Fresh seafood is aplenty in the kitchen and Chef Fulvio Lancione (ex Spiedo) has created a menu of Italian share plates that goes well with nautical beers such as Liberty Ale from Anchor Brewing Co in San Francisco.
Start with Oysters of the Day ($3.50 each) freshly-shucked and served with eschallots and raspberry vinaigrette,
Calamari and Prawn Frittura
or the Calamari and Prawn Frittura ($11), a dish that reminds you of long, hot summer days at the beach.
Choose the Seared Caramelised Scallops ($3 each) and you’ll get a delightful combination of plump and flavoursome scallops topped with a pancetta rasher on an egg sauce.
The Warm Octopus Salad ($12) with potato, basil and anchovies crostino has established itself as a crowd favourite on opening night.
Fish and chips
The Fish and Chips ($12) of the day is a piece of cod fried in a light and seasoned batter with tartare sauce and crunchy chips.
The Fish Burger ($8) comes in a lightly toasted bun with a side of chips.
Another standout dish is the Cartoccio of Snapper ($14). Unwrap the paper bag to reveal perfectly-cooked pieces of snapper, moist and flavoursome, with tomato, olives and oregano couscous. This a moreish dish worth offering in a main course size.
The Chargrilled King Prawns ($4) are marinated in lemongrass and come with a delicious tomato salsa that packs a little heat.
It’s not all seafood at Hello Sailor’s kitchen. The Spicy Chargrilled Chicken Wings ($9 for 3) are worth picking up with your fingers. The succulent chicken pieces come served with red and golden mini beetroots.
Beef with Thyme
The Beef with Thyme and Olive Oil, ($15) is perfectly cooked, seared and the outside and pink in the middle and comes with spicy chicory and pea sprouts.
Another specialty worth ordering but was not available on opening night is Panigacci ($2.50 to $4), north Tuscan bread cooked in terracotta on charcoal with a choice of fillings such as hot salami, aged pecorino and olives.
The Bar Team
Meanwhile, back at the bar, it’s popular sing-along 80s music, with cool DJ tunes and good times.
Hello Sailor’s Winking Lady
Hello Sailor is a standout addition to the ever-growing Sydney bar scene. The new bar and eatery offers a fun and convivial vibe in which to enjoy good drinks and tasty share plates in a nautical setting. The attention to detail in the fitout is to be applauded. The cocktails are well-crafted and with a rotating list, you’ll want to come back and work your way through it. And if a near full house on opening night is any indication, prepare for queues to start to form outside.
Sydney has welcomed Hello Sailor to its shores.
Photography © by Kevin Burke for Gourmantic – Copyright: All rights reserved.
96 Oxford Street (Entry through Foley Street, between Crown and Palmer Streets)
Opening Hours: 5pm to 1am, Tuesdays to Sundays (closed Mondays)
This article is posted on Gourmantic.com - All rights reserved - Copyright © 2016.