** Update: Check out the NEW Easy Eight, reopened in September 2016 after major renovations.**
We take a first look at Easy Eight Bar & Diner, set to open today in Sydney’s CBD.
Easy Eight, Sydney
There’s a feeling of familiarity upon stepping into Easy Eight, the new bar and diner from the owners of Mojo Record Bar in Sydney’s CBD. The relaxed and welcoming vibe makes you feel as if you’re already a regular, not taking your first step into Sydney’s newest small bar.
Its secluded location in the laneway space near The Baxter Inn and The Barber Shop somehow feels at home as if it was always meant to be there. Inside, a central bar seats about 10 persons, while the L-shaped space is lined with retro styled diner booths, old record covers and black and white framed photos of R&B singers.
“Easy Eight is a modern imagining of a retro diner,” Venue Manager Adam Hadad explains. “The concept is one of a cocktail diner, a neighbourhood style bar in the CBD where people come and feel like regulars”.
Georgia Sweet Tea
Cocktails make up the majority of the drinks list with beer and wine taking a food orientation. There is no singular focus on a spirit, and the 60 person capacity venue is as much a small bar as it is a diner offering an inventive menu.
Cocktails range from $16 to $19 and include the Georgia Sweet Tea, a refreshing and sessionable drink with vodka and tea syrup, lemon juice, kaffir lime leaves topped with ginger ale. The WOW 87 is not to be missed, a Banana Rum Old Fashioned and comes garnished with banana chips. The name gives a nod to achieving level 87 in World of Warcraft game where you’re rewarded with a banana infused rum.
The eclectic food menu by Chef Harry Stockdale-Powell is about “making fancy food more approachable” while retaining a rustic aspect.
House Fries with Mayo
There is a strong focus on smoking produce – meat, fish, vegetables – while injecting a dose of creativity and vibrancy into the menu.
Take this Mini Pumpkin. It arrives with beautiful smoky aromas. Lift the top and you’ll find a creamy and smooth pumpkin puree with sour cream, a touch of spice and pepitas which add texture to the dish. Immediately you realise that this is serious comfort food that will bring you back.
Lobster Mac and Cheese
It would be hard not to dig into the Lobster Mac and Cheese for a most satisfying cheesy and creamy carb fix,
Smoked Brisket with Pickled Mustard Sauce
or order the Smoked Brisket with Pickled Mustard Sauce (taster plate shown), where the sweet and smoky meat has been slow-cooked to the point that you don’t need a knife.
Smoked and Roasted Spring Chicken
The star of the menu is the Smoked and Roasted Spring Chicken, a spatchcock that arrives glistening on a plate with the smoke aromas filling the air. Cut into the chicken and savour the almost buttery texture, the tender and moist flesh and soon you’ll be picking it up by the fingers to experience more of the smokey aroma and flavour.
Slaw with Buttermilk Dressing
Pair it with a vibrant Slaw with Buttermilk Dressing and you’ll have a fully satisfying meal.
Maple Ice Cream
The dessert menu changes and can include Maple Ice Cream with rhubarb and orange served in a waffle.
Fernet Branca and Coke on Tap
A specials weekly sandwich board will feature smoked meat sandwiches, Reuben and Cuban style sandwiches as well as burgers and hot dogs. Easy Eight is open from 4pm Monday to Saturday and is set to open for lunch later in the year.
Easy Eight ticks all the boxes for a small bar that manages the right balance between a diner and a cocktail bar. With its welcoming vibe, solid drinks list and a creative food menu (mains priced from $25 to $35), the question is do you bring all your friends or selfishly keep it to yourself? And with its location among the neighbouring bars, you’d be hard pressed to leave Sydney’s new bar triangle.
Easy Eight opens today, Monday 1 February 2016.
152-156 Clarence St, Sydney 2000
Hours: Mon-Sat 4pm-midnight
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