Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Bridge St Garage: Driving the diner trend

The push for mid-range dining options in Sydney CBD continues with the recent opening of Bridge St Garage Bar and Diner opposite the ASX building, a few doors down from Café Sopra and soon-to-open Rockpool.

Bridge St Garage Bar & Diner, Bridge Street, Sydney
The space was previously a car garage and the theme is carried through the restaurant with retro gusto: car parts, wrench door handles, oil drum cocktail tables, leather upholstered seats. There's no doubt the expensive, garage-inspired, industrial fitout is unique in this part of town.

The front bar
Pitched as a Latin American twist on American diner classics, chef Oscar Gorosito runs a small kitchen for quite a large venue, filled to the brim with suits – of both the pants and skirt variety – during lunch and post work hours.

It's interesting to see the front bar filled with an older corporate crowd earlier in the evening, with the eager-eyed younger crowd filling the restaurant from 7.30pm onwards, presumably after doing the post 5pm hard yards.

O.M.G. Bloody Mary
The O.M.G Bloody Mary is a great place to start, and you'll understand its Gen Y name when the cocktail arrives.

Like a starter within itself, there's more garnish than the Tabasco-spiked vodka and tomato juice drink, including a whole hard-boiled egg; an array of skewered fruits and vegetables, pickled and fresh; and a long sprig of rosemary.

Fresh Harvey Wallbanger Martini
My choice from the short house cocktail menu is more your typical shaken cocktail in a dainty coupe glass, featuring Absolute Elyx vodka, Licor 43, fresh lemon and orange juices, and "burnt orange". Pretty as it is, it's a bit on the sugary-sweet side for my tastes.

The cocktail list actually features a lot of whiskey-based drinks, clearly targeting the predominantly male drinking crowd.

Provoleta - Argentinean-style grilled provolone with chimichurri and herbed sourdough 
While the menu skits across various American diner favourites, there's a notable South American accent but also a modern Australian one.

There are plenty of items on the starters menu to tempt diners as well as drinkers in the bar. We started with provoleta Argentinian-style grilled provolone cheese which came gooey, melted and oily in a miniature cast iron pot.

Not quite the fondue style dish as probably intended, the tangy chimichurri sauce atop the melted curds was the saving grace to the cheese that quickly hardened when cooled, though it at least maintained a pleasing stretchiness.

Buffalo wings
Bridge St Garage's take on buffalo wings was certainly not classic diner style but perhaps a healthier version than the deep fried and hot sauce-smothered version one would normally expect.

Chicken mid wings and drumettes arrived in a light BBQ sauce, with soft, smooth skin as if the wings were poached or boiled rather than fried. It was served a little uninspiringly with a pool of sauce on a white plate, with carrot and celery sticks and a potent blue cheese sauce on the side.

Moa St Josephs
Bridge St Garage boasts a great selection of beers with a few new names to the boutique and craft beers offered around town. The Moa beer range from Marlborough in New Zealand (yes, they produce things other than sauvignon blanc and pinot noir) come in fantastic little cork-topped bottles, popping like little bottles of champagne.

The Moa St Josephs is a Belgian style ale at a whopping 9.5% alcohol volume, with lightly fruity notes beneath lots of hops and malt, and was surprisingly easy to drink.

Coopers Celebration Ale
The Coopers Celebration Ale was one of the most unique and special beers I've tasted in a while. Intriguingly spicy, mid-weight and richly coloured, it's not a beer you'd drink all night long, but it was certainly well matched to hearty food.

Sticky pork ribs
On the mains menu the sticky pork ribs came highly recommended by the waitstaff, served as a pile with a small, token garden salad on a wooden board.

Slow-roasted for 4.5 hours then grilled with BBQ sauce, the mound of pork ribs was tender but taste-wise, probably not going to compete with the likes of Hurricane's. However, they're probably some of the only ribs you can get in the CBD proper.

Rocket and lobster salad
Fearing American diner food overload, I opted for the tempting rocket and lobster salad as a main dish. There was a nice gathering of fresh, white lobster flesh atop the mound of rocket leaves, dressed with a tangy mustard oil.

Rocket and lobster salad
There was also cooked fennel and pear slices mixed into the rocket stack, with thin croutons and a poached egg on the side – which I had with the bacon from the corn bread side, turning it into a bit of a breakfast dish.

Corn bread
There's not a lot of corn bread in Sydney so it was a must-order for us. Surprisingly, it came with a salsa-like sauce and crisp rashers of bacon and unfortunately, the latter was the best part of the dish, with the puck of corn bread rather dry and crumbly.

Mississippi-style green beans
The side dish of Mississippi-style beans was also highly recommended and rightly so. I've rarely experienced green beans that are both tasty and (sort of) healthy: pan-fried with bacon and onion, and drizzled in a vinegar sauce that really lifted the often boring vegetable.

Trio of ice cream
I was tempted into a trio of ice cream and sorbet for dessert, although it turned out there were no sorbets available that evening. Nonetheless, my choices of passionfruit, rhubarb and tongue-tingling chilli chocolate ice creams were all excellent with the syrupy and fruity rhubarb being the favourite.

Creme caramel with white dog moonshine
The appropriately petite creme caramel dessert was a wobbly and creamy rendition, drizzled with a rich whiskey-infused caramel sauce and whipped cream.

Bridge St Garage isn't your standard diner, nor is it your standard Sydney CBD restaurant. I've heard good things about the burger options generally, I'm glad that there's a drive to get more mid-range dining options in the CBD.

Food, booze and shoes dined at Bridge Street Garage Bar & Diner as a guest, with thanks to NAC Media Group.

Bridge Street Garage Bar & Diner on Urbanspoon


Vivian - vxdollface said...

Place looks great, been wanting to read a review on this :) haha holey moley that bloody mary is jacked up on so much fruit!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Great report! I was wondering what it was like inside :D

Rita (mademoiselle délicieuse) said...

Walked past here last week and wondered what it was like after admiring the fitout. The bloody mary looks like it had an accident with a tropical fruit cocktail, but it still baffles me as to why there is a hard-boiled egg amongst it many and varied "garnishes"!

Tina said...

Hi Vivian - Definitely a great fitout. Hopefully the food will catch up soon too.

Hi Lorraine - It's quite an amazing themed fitout.

Hi Rita - Haha, I think the idea was to get an 'OMG' reaction - job done.

spicelab said...

Work on the next block so have been there twice, once for a team lunch.

Personally thought their curious interpretation of Buffalo Wings were vile, but everything else, including the drinks, is solid and very well priced.

Blogger said...

Are you paying over $5 per pack of cigs? I buy my cigs over at Duty Free Depot and this saves me over 60% on cigarettes.


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