Thursday, October 9, 2014

Tanqueray Bar Hop for Good Food Month: Grain Bar, Gilt Lounge, Grasshopper Bar & The Roosevelt

Despite the name, Good Food Month isn't all about the food. Bar Hop, this year presented by Tanqueray, sees Sydney bars match a Tanqueray gin cocktail with a bar snack, for pre or post dinner snacking or as the name suggests, bar hopping your way around town.

Good Food Month Bar Hop presented by Tanqueray, at select Sydney bars, 1-31 October 2014
With 49 participating venues, you're not short on options for bar hopping, especially in the Sydney CBD, Pyrmont, Surry Hills or Bondi areas.

Rolling into the meat of Good Food Month, bar hopping was high on my agenda last Thursday night with an especially-arranged Bar Hop courtesy of Tanqueray.

Tanqueray Bar Hop transport courtesy of Prestige Chauffeurs
It was rather nice to be picked up from work by a pristine chauffeured car from Prestige Chauffeurs - a family-run business based in the Northern Beaches.

The evening's plan was to hit up four bars around town for their Tanqueray Bar Hop offerings, all very responsibly with thanks to Prestige Chauffeurs picking us up and dropping us at each bar. If that's not bar hopping in style, I don't know what is.

Grain Bar at Four Seasons Hotel, George Street, Sydney
We kicked off the Bar Hop at Grain Bar adjoining the Four Seasons Hotel (in which Sydney's own Pei Modern by Mark Best is opening on 15 October 2014).

Packed to the gills with the after-work crowd, it was a nice and sweet start to the night with the Violette Royale cocktail featuring Tanqueray gin and Creme Yvette liqueur of violet petals and berries, topped with sparkling wine.

Violette Royale cocktail with Hiramasa kingfish with limoncello mayonnaise from Grain Bar 
The girly pink cocktail was matched with a canapé of raw Hiramasa kingfish delicately coiled on a spoon with with limoncello mayonnaise inside.

There's not really any elegant way of eating small morsels from a soup spoon, and so scoffed in one mouthful it was; the creamy mayonnaise being a highlight flavour.

Tanqueray gin martini (left) and Bramble 2.0 from Grain Bar
We managed to squeeze in a cheeky extra round of drinks, including a gin martini (Tanqueray, of course) and Grain's take on the classic Bramble, reinterpreted as a sweet fizz cocktail with great blackberry undertones with the gin.

But nothing beats a good martini to start a night of drinks and food, especially when there's fat green olives in the mix.

Freshly shucked Sydney rock oysters fron Grain Bar
We self matched a little food, being unable to resist the thought of freshly shucked Sydney rock oysters, which are a bargain $1.50 each on Thursday and Friday evenings at Grain (from 5-9pm). Salty with brine and served with lemon and red wine vinaigrette, we demolished these beauties in moments.

Prestige Chauffeurs pick up for next bar on Bar Hop
With our Prestige Chauffeurs car ready and waiting outside for us, it was all a bit posh leaving a five-star hotel after drinks and hopping into a chauffeured car - to head to another bar. I could get used to this.

French 75 cocktail at Gilt Lounge, QT Sydney, Market Street, Sydney
We were dropped off right in front of our next venue, QT Sydney, which boasts three separate bars within the boutique hotel. This evening, Gilt Lounge was our target so it was up the elevator (which customises its song choice based on how many people are in it!), past the quirky lobby, upstairs past Gowings Bar & Grill to the luxe lounge space.

Gilt Lounge's Bar Hop offering is the classic French 75 champagne cocktail, featuring Tanqueray gin, lemon and sugar, topped with sparkling wine and finished with a lemon twist. It's a great, relatively light cocktail that's totally food and canapé-friendly.

French 75 cocktail and snapper ceviche spoon from Gilt Lounge
Gilt's cocktail is paired with their snapper ceviche spoon featuring the fresh diced raw fish dressed with lime juice, super-finely diced red capsicum, baby coriander and shallots on a base of avocado puree - the acidity matching well with the cocktail's light tartness.

Water and spiced peanuts at Grasshopper Bar, Temperance Lane, Sydney
Next we stopped in at seminal laneway small bar Grasshopper Bar, which has recently added outdoor seating and a Chinese-inspired food menu.

As one of the first bars to use jars as glassware, they're forgiven for the water glasses and thanked for the super moreish, salty and spiced peanuts which I felt I ate by the handful.

Golden Axe cocktail
Grasshopper's Bar Hop offering was the Golden Axe cocktail of Tanqueray gin and Amaretto - my least favourite liqueur (for the "almond" flavour) - shaken with passionfruit and fresh apple juice. Thankfully, for me, most of the amaretto flavour was hidden beneath the passionfruit, while it did give the cocktail a nice weight.

Golden Axe cocktail and crispy pastry, duck breast
The sweet cocktail was paired with Grasshopper's fresh take on Peking duck pancakes featuring a beautifully cooked slice of duck breast presented on crispy pastry with cucumber, pickled vegetables and a sweet brown sauce.

The concept was great and the flavours fantastically modernised, but structurally the crispy pastry had nothing on traditional pancakes; basically disintegrating on first bite and necessitating the need to either shove it all in in the one mouthful or let it fall to bits on the wooden board.

Cocktail shaker collection at The Roosevelt, Orwell Street Potts Point
Back in to our chauffeured car we made the jolly drive to Potts Point and The Roosevelt Bar & Diner, which at this late-ish time of the night was full with a combination of couples and noisy groups at the end of their drinking nights.

The Roosevelt's gorgeously-presented Bar Hop cocktail and canapé came as one, the salmon gravlax sitting on a concave glass dish balanced atop the vintage glasses.

East Side Peach cocktail and salmon gravlax from The Roosevelt
The East Side Peach cocktail was probably my favourite and the least sweet cocktail of the Bar Hop drinks. With Tanqueray gin and a beautiful array of fruit and aromatics, namely ginger poached peaches, pink grapefruit, honey, lime and bruised mint, the cocktail was a star on its own.

It was served with house-cured Tasmanian salmon gravlax (we were hitting all the raw fish canapés it seems) with a tiny bit of roast kipfler potato and beetroot in a pretty, artful composition that didn't last long.

Bar Hop completed, it was a comfortable and safe ride home thanks to Prestige Chauffeurs, who have a fantastic service and certainly made bar hopping in heels much easier. The Good Food Month Bar Hop is a great way to discover Tanqueray gin cocktails in Sydney bars, both new and old, near and far (especially if you've got a chauffeur).

Food, Booze and Shoes participated in the Bar Hop presented by Tanqueray with thanks to Leo Burnett Sydney. Special thanks to Sean and Prestige Chauffeurs.

Disclaimer: Food, Booze & Shoes is acquainted with staff at Gilt Lounge and The Speakeasy Group.

Grain Bar on Urbanspoon  Gilt Lounge on Urbanspoon

Grasshopper on Urbanspoon  The Roosevelt on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

Annie said...

tried the tanquery gin last night. was actually really nice since most gins i've had are quite strong


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