By Rafael Ruiz Taboada
When it comes to small bars, I think eclectic, a sense of character and modern menu with rustic if not bold choices. In the heart of Balmain with its village like sense of community, a Cottage with a large front courtyard and oak barrel stands out from the rest. Don’t imagine, there’s nothing like a few drinks under the stars, a place where locals can hang out, have a great meal and enjoy the regular live entertainment for lunch on weekends.
The Cottage offers different unique spaces to cater to all moods and sizes. The upstairs is great for dining for larger groups offering great packages for any special occasion. Setup is flexible with vintage lounges for a more casual affair, as well as proper dining for something a little more formal. The two courtyard areas are great for whether you’re catching up with a mate for a quick bite or having a few cocktails! In summer the front courtyard gets packed with people enjoying the sunshine, and in winter head indoors to feel warm and cosy.
As the owners Rob & Os describes, “Balmain provides a relaxed village atmosphere and friendly clientele that just can’t be matched in the CBD”
The people behind the hugely popular Cottage Bar and Kitchen, Rob Teitzel and Os Misirlizade, fell in love with the building and the history that came with it. Talented men in the business and much deliberation with the help from interior design firm Luchetti Krelle, this wildly successful Balmain dining hotspot emerged.
Head Chef Ellen Young shares a mix of light summer eats and lies heavily in share plate dining, which is reflected in the house menu. Her love of fine cheeses, wood-fired pizzas and along with a handful of vegetarian options is a testament to her creation. Make no mistake – The Cottage works closely with their suppliers to ensure the freshest produce available, presenting mouth-watering homely meals leaving your tastebuds wanting more.
From the menu I couldn’t resist but to try the stuffed mushrooms with dried fruit, almonds, herbs, barley, capers, Bulgarian fetta served with zucchini puree & pomegranates. Followed by golf-ball sized arancini’s with lemon, mint, pea & haloumi. Take note, we sat indoors by the window and with prying eyes looking to our every meal presented. We knew people had food envy. Several burst of flavours hit us and in such amazement, the chicken breast & wing with rice pilaf, dried fruit, yoghurt, pistachio was the prime favourite.
Hidden back amongst the nanna-esque furnishings, a brilliant wood-fire pizza oven pumps out our Ho sin duck creation. This pulled confit duck leg with caramelized ho sin topped with Vietnamese herbs & cashews is one of eight varieties on offer.
For something a bit quirky and can’t make up your mind on the sweet treats. I recommend giving the fairgound plate a go. The sweet maple candied popcorn, house made orange marshmallows, fairy floss, mini ice-cream cones, mini toffee apples & peanut brittle. Warning: will bring back kept memories of being a child – an explosion of sugar.
Beer & cider, wine & bubbles, cocktails to punchbowls – plenty of thirst quenchers to match the food on offer. Local Australian boutique beers – Vale Ale on tap, Monteith’s golden lager to the earthy American style IPA Mclaren and the crisp taste of Batlow cloudy cider.
End of the day, The Cottage Bar and Kitchen is a great looking venue, buzzing atmosphere, substantial eats and a passionate group of people who enjoy working there.
“Homely, Quirky, Kitsch” as quoted sums it all up by Rob & Os.
The Cottage Bar & Kitchen
342 Darling St, Sydney NSW 2041
T: (02) 8084 8185