Monday, August 22, 2011

It's all Hunky Dory at Bruno's

The curiously-named Hunky Dory Social Club had me at ‘hello’. Or rather, ‘Hunky’. What kind of place, with that name, could not be awesome? Spread over two upstairs levels – both overlooking busy Oxford Street – it is a darkly low-touch cool space that boasts one of Sydney’s very few rooftop bars.

Cocktail on the roof at Hunky Dory Social Club, Oxford Street, Darlinghurst
There’s something very movie-like about sipping cocktails on a dilapidated couch, looking up to a brightly-lit billboard and open skies, and out onto the street traffic.

The new cocktail menu was also a treat, with some heavy hitting spirits in the mix of light-hearted titles, including the Heartbreaker (featuring Hennessy VSOP, Grand Marnier, PAMA pomegranate liqueur and blueberries).

Food is available in the bar, sent up from Bruno’s – the restaurant that occupies the ground floor. But for the full menu including mains, we headed down the couple of flights of stairs and took up a spot-lit table in the charming bricked room adorned with imagery of none other than Jesus Christ, aside a crucifix and other religious wall hangings.

Insude Bruno's, Oxford Street, Darlinghurst
With its cosy seating inside as well as a communal table out the front and a couple of tables on the footpath, Bruno’s has an unassuming trattoria feel – not to mention the large, crocheted rounds of black yarn beneath the glass-topped tables.

There’s a varied menu of starters, pasta and pizza. And from one look at a pizza that made it to the upstairs bar, we were definitely getting in on this woodfired cheese and carb action.

Nduja and goat's cheese with pizza wedges
I’m currently, and have been for a good few years now, in a love affair with nduja - the Italian salami paste that is increasingly common in Sydney's Italian restaurants.

The nduja at Bruno’s is by far the spiciest version I’ve tried, causing pain just mouthfuls into my quenelle of sorts. Despite the fiery pain, it’s some pretty good nduja with discernable chilli and meat bits.

The goat’s cheese served alongside is softly soothing; following the same dairy-over-chilli philosophy as yoghurt with Indian curries, I think. There’s not quite enough of the flat bread, which are pizza base style wedges, but we make do by smearing the nduja onto the goat’s cheese and rocket leaves.

Prawn and zucchini tagliolini
We’re immediately impressed with the large-headed prawns poking out of the thin eggy pasta, with halved rounds of rather overcooked zucchini in the mix. The tagliolini noodles have a very distinct eggy flavour and could have done with a little more oil or sauce, but were entirely pleasant nonetheless.

Gigantic prawns are never my favourites, but these had great texture along with their intense flavour. I kept wishing that the zucchini was thrown in at the last few seconds rather than last few minutes, but then we had pizza to distract us.

Prosciutto pizza
The pizza arrives at the table whole; which explains the rather sharp knives we were presented with in the beginning. At first touch with the knife (not the easiest thing to slice up, mind you), the crisp yet chewy base showed no signs of sogginess and every sign of greatness. Which it was.

Despite the extremely salty addition of very good prosciutto, I couldn’t stop eating the fabulous pizza, which was lightly spread with tomato sauce with plenty of stringy cheese. This pizza was definitely up there with the best of bases, though I acknowledge that this one had the benefit of pretty dry toppings.

Which could only mean a return visit to check out potentially soggier toppings on that excellent Bruno’s base. And that’s hunky dory by me.

Hunky Dory Social Club on Urbanspoon

Bruno's on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...

looks good!
i've got to go there one time :D

Kyle Stratford said...

Hunky Dory is just the perfect place if you're feeling nostalgic. I think it's because of the whole 90s-ish feel it gives you with all the party at the rooftop and sitting on the couch and all. I swear, if there's a live band playing, I would think that the whole idea of the place would be from Ten Things I Hate About You or some other movie, lol.

Aside from the whole ambiance, I think the food also tastes great! Who would say no with zucchini and prosciutto pizza? I know I wouldn't! Plus I've been dying to taste goat's cheese. I agree with you when you said that the principle behind putting the cheese on the plate is dairy over chili kind of thing.

Oh I would want to write so much more but it would become another blog post on a comment, lol! Thanks for posting this.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Oh yes we're definitely having a love affair with nduja! Although I recently ordered it and was given the hard version which was a bit of a disappointment. I prefer the soft version.

chopinandmysaucepan said...

The nduja does look like a couple of chilli grenades and I would have loved to test its spice level. The zucchini does look it truly dead and soggy though.

Keely aka The Richest Girl in Bondi said...

Oh I love a rooftop bar - nothing beats the atmosphere. Always great to find a spot that serves great (and not soggy pizza). Hold on tight!

Anonymous said...

HUnky Dory has been on my to do list for ages, I should go check it out. Perhaps when there is more sunshine in the afternoons and warmer weather to take advantage of the rooftop :)

Tina said...

Hi excusemewaiter - Definitely a cute spot for summer!

Hi Kyle - Yes, very 90s movie or sitcom!

Hi Lorraine - Definitely soft and paste like.

Hi chopinandmysaucepan - Porky chilli bombs!

Hi Keely - Nothing worse than soggy pizza. Especially on an open rooftop, I think :)

Hi minibites - Funny, I got a text from them this afternoon saying there's sun on the rooftop - come drink with us (essentially)... :D

mademoiselle délicieuse said...

Haha, you should've torn into the pizza with your bare hands!

Tina said...

Hi mademoiselle delicieuse - Not elegant, but not a bad idea... ;)


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