It’s the bar that they’ve built from scratch. First-time bar owners, brothers Joe and Nick van der Heide, along with friend and business partner Byron Dunn have opened Parsons Bar, a small bar and kitchen in Potts Point.
The décor is inspired by the 1920s to 1940s era for the “working class Australian”. You’ll find cosy banquettes at the front, exposed light fittings, planter boxes, a solid bar made from recycled materials, a classic Chesterfield lounge and a deck at the back that invites lazy cocktail sipping in summer.
Parsons Bar is named after a prominent figure found in the historical archives of the area yet very little was known about him. He lends his profile to the black and white silhouette displayed in the outdoor dining area.
But it’s not the admirable DIY fitout or the fact that it has taken the owners seven solid weeks to build the bar from scratch that grips you the most. It is the hospitality of the owners that leaves a lasting impression. Step inside and from the initial welcome to the friendly banter over menu recommendations, you’ll feel as if they have welcomed you into their own abode.
Glenmorangie Sherry Wood Finish
You’ll find Joe van der Heide at front of house while his brother Nick is behind the bar and business partner Byron Dunn in the kitchen. The trio bring their joint experiences to the venue with a good dose of old fashioned hospitality.
Parsons Bar channels a European wine bar vibe but is not strictly a wine or cocktail bar. You’ll find eight classic cocktails with a modern spin, a growing well-priced wine list with local and international drops and a good selection of beer.
Camillo Sling & The Parsons’ Mistress and Pork Crackling
The Parsons’ Mistress ($18), a mix of Belvedere Vodka, Elderflower, Beefeater Gin, egg white, fresh mint, sugar syrup and lavender syrup using herbs which are grown on site. Floral, savoury and fresh, this is a well-balanced cocktail with a gentle interplay of mint, lavender and elderflower notes.
The Camillo Sling ($16) is a lighter twist on the Negroni made with Campari, Beefeater Gin, Sweet Vermouth, Cloudy Apple Juice and Soda. The drink is light and summery and easily quaffable as one may lead to another.
You could stay with cocktails but the intimate wine list is worth exploring, in particular the Parnasse Cabernet Sauvignon from Southern France ($7.50 glass) and the excellent Bannockburn 1314AD Pinot Noir from Geelong ($7.50 glass) with ripe berries and a hint of chocolate on the finish. The Wine Ledger lists a compilation of aged wines with back vintages within 10 years.
The food menu is designed to be shared, be it snacks, small plates or larger plates.
Snack on the Pork Crackling ($4) as you study the menu. It comes with a choice of herbed or fiery, the latter hitting the hot notes.
The Crispy Whitebait ($8) is one of the best tasted in a long time. Fragrant, lightly crumbed and well-seasoned, it is fried to a crisp and dressed with lemon and copious amounts of chopped garlic.
If you like it hot, the Pepper Verde ($12) hit the spot. Lightly crumbed green peppers are filled with a generous and delicious filling of chili blue cheese cream oozing with every bite.
Prawn and Shitake Ravioli
The Prawn and Shitake Ravioli ($17) is the star of the menu with the right balance of shiitake and prawn filling, earthy and savoury in a light dill cream sauce and dill. This sensational dish is only available as a trio of ravioli but hopefully a larger serving will be on offer soon. In the meantime, we recommend you order it for yourself.
Chicken Mini Roast
The Chicken Mini Roast ($18) is in essence a roulade stuffed with parsley, spinach, walnuts and currants with a tart basil dressing. The chicken is moist and tender but suffers from too much filling to chicken ratio and the combination of sweetness from currants is not to everyone’s taste.
Pork and Veal Meatballs
The Pork and Veal Meatballs ($15) are not your average meatballs doused with tomato sauce. A mixture of cacciatore, vesuvius and bresaola make up the meatballs filled with mozzarella and served with croutons to mop up the house-made tomato reduction. Peppery and spicy with a lingering flavour make these tasty bites a crowd favourite.
You’ll find a small range of side dishes such as Fettunta which is a “fancy way of saying garlic bread,” according to the chef.
For a sweet finish, the Salted Caramel Fudge ($6) are two little bites of heaven. Cold to the bite at the start start but melt in the mouth.
Parsons Bar which opened just prior to Christmas 2014 is a welcome addition to the Sydney dining and drinking scene. The intimate setting coupled with the hospitality of the owners make is a venue to frequent on a regular basis. Whether you’re dropping in for a drink or two or staying to explore the food menu, you’re in for a repeat experience.
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3 Kellett Street Potts Point
Ph: (02) 8540 6320
Open Tuesday – Saturday 5pm – midnight
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