Soultrap, a new underground bar has opened in Surry Hills bringing together a small bar vibe with a hat-making workshop.
Soultrap, Surry Hills
Located along Campbell Street at the former site of Play Bar, Soultrap is the solo venture of Christophe Lehoux, former co-founder of the House of Pocket Group (Button, Stitch, Pocket, Crooked Tailor, Pocket Terrigal and Lockwood in Paris) and a contributor of the first wave of Sydney’s small bar movement. He brings to Surry Hills, a cool and welcoming underground bar with a hat-making workshop with jazz and live music to come.
Descend into Soutrap and you’ll find yourself in a warm, dimly-lit space filled with a modern industrial feel and furnishings made from recycled wood.
At the back of the venue, you’ll find the hat workshop housed behind a caged door.
A wall of hand-crafted hats by Christophe Lehoux feature along one wall, all of which can be purchased while enjoying the bar’s offerings.
Soultrap offers a comprehensive beverage menu with seasonal cocktails, Australian beers on draft as well as organic and biodynamic wines headed by Bar Manager Josh Craker formerly of QT Sydney. What gives Soultrap its point of difference is the focus on mistelles, or drinks that are the result of adding alcohol to unfermented or partially fermented grape juice. You can read about mistelles in the Essential Guide to French Aperitifs, Mistelles, Liqueurs & Eaux de Vie.
You’ll find two cocktail lists with different offerings. The Mistelle Melange cocktail menu includes low ABV aperitif style drinks made using popular mistelles from France such as Pineau des Charentes, Ratafia and Floc de Gascogne. These drinks adopt a simple approach of marrying various mistelles with a modifier but are big on flavour.
Gascogne & Cognac
Gascogne & Cognac ($18) combines the best of both mistelles, Floc de Gascogne and Pineau des Charentes with Amer Picon. Served in a short glass with a citrus peel, the drinks starts a little on the sweet side before the citrus note kicks in and leads to a balanced bitter end note.
The Exchange ($18) brings together Ratafia, a type of mistelle made by adding marc or Pomace brandy to unfermented grape juice, Okar Amaro from South Australia with Tio Pepe sherry. The balance of flavours is exquisite with the dry sherry giving the drink a well-rounded note.
The second cocktail menu features a solid list of nine drinks that include creative takes on classics.
Bar Manager Josh Craker
The Soultrap Highball ($18) is a tip of the hat (pun intended) to the Japanese Highball. It combines Dewars 12 yo whisky with apple shrub, Floc de Gascogne and lemon juice lengthened with ginger beer. While it hints at being a sweet drinks, the apple shrub adds a beautiful balance to the whisky cocktail without allowing the ginger beer to dominate.
For a spirit-forward option, Australian Fare ($22) is a take on the Manhattan married with Australian native botanicals. Woodford Reserve Rye is stirred down with Maidenii sweet and dry vermouths and Okar Amaro. It makes one fine sipper and the one with which to end the night.
If you’re feeling peckish, the Mediterranean-influenced menu is all about flavour and casual share plate dining. Choose from a selection of cured meats, cheese, dips and pickles and tinned fish such as sardines picante. It’s the ideal grazing plate among friends as you sip on a couple of aperitifs from the Mistelle Melange menu.
Other options include a selection of Tartines on toasted bread with toppings such as Pumpkin, Feta, Almond Dukka ($12).
The one not to be missed is Soultrap’s take on the classic Pissaladière ($14), a specialty from the South of France. Instead of the usual pizza base, this version is made from sliced croissants that are pressed down, toasted and topped with the classic anchovies, onion, olives and a dusting of Parmesan. It may not look too photogenic but you’ll be hooked from the first bite.
Prepare yourself to be entrapped by Soultrap – just as we are.
Address: 70-72 Campbell Street, Basement, Surry Hills
Hours: Monday – Saturday, 4pm – midnight
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