Finally, the night had come, heading off to see Paolo Nutini, one of my music gods, a man with the vocal chords of an angelic harp mixed with the scratched tones of Bob Marley, he truly is the modern retro soul legend that James Brown would stand and cheer for. Tickets were purchased close on six months ago and anticipation was building but we needed to eat and have a few pre-performance beverages prior to seeing Nutini – called Lady Donna and her man to see where we could eat. They suggested BAR RACUDA, a small boutique venue literally across the road from the entrance to the legendary Enmore Theatre. SOLD
I arrived at six on the dot to find Donna and Michael were the first in the bar, it still looked packed because this venue is small, it is boutique and I repeat small! If you are in a group there is another section out the back that is quite private, would be great with six friends on a Saturday night. We had a tall table near the front of the bar that looks out a large window onto Enmore Road, you can suss what’s going on across the road and this was good for us as we saw when people were being let in for the concert. The decor is rustic shabby chic with elegant old patterned wallpaper in browns, sublime old tin lime green lampshades (I WANT THEM) and what I thought (admittedly I did not have my glasses on!!!!) was designed old painted upside mop heads on the wall – Donna explained they were melted candles hahaha. Wish I took a pic of them!! The place has a feel of an old saloon, it needed swinging barn doors, smoke filled upper air or just some more hipsters.
Originally I was not here to write a review, I wanted a catch up drink here and then for us to head out for a meal, but we settled on some snacks from the bar. It was enough. Firstly, the place serves cocktails but I did not order any, we were drinking some sauvignon blanc, $50 a bottle, I went to order the second bottle and they were sold out – went for a Chilean sauvignon blanc this time at $40. Not bad.
The meal snacks were actually pretty decent, the halloumi in citrus oil and pine nuts was divine and my favourite (probably a lack of cheese due to paleo at home) and the sausages were moorish – they were a very spicy sausage – sorry I cannot locate their menu online to give you better explanations. But the sausages are great, as was the sauerkraut that came with it. The red capsicum bruschetta was too messy, required plate plus knife and fork – definitely not a hand-eating bruschetta, that being said, it had nice flavours.
I would definitely not go here for a meal, I would definitely go here for pre-show drinks again. I give them huge kudos at being able to pull out any meals, from what I could observe (I could be wrong) they prep it from a corner at the back of the bar, I was amazed they were making anything more than pre-heated pies from that corner – again I could be wrong on this and they could have been bringing the more “heat-required” dishes from another kitchen. What we had was decent but the choices are limited – I am pretty sure they were about $12 a plate, great for some alcohol accompaniment. I will have that halloumi again!
The only letdown I experienced was the service, the bar was not that busy, pictures on their Facebook show much busier weekends with tables even out the front. I just saw chaos behind the bar which was becoming quite messy, bottle tops and other refuse just thrown on the counter. We got the impression it appeared to be new owners and no real methodical practices in place – but this is us just guessing. On a Tuesday night running out of our brand of wine? Taking 5-10mins to get items from the bar? My only other thought was that they weren’t prepped for having this many people in the bar on a Tuesday night, but this is something this bar needs to be all over, anything with this prime real-estate directly opposite a hugely popular music venue needs to operate in compliment to make the most of the freely supplied clientele.
While the venue is not perfect, the name, BAR RACUDA, is and while I will not go out of my way to visit on weekends it will become my place for pre-drinks for all Enmore concerts.
PAOLO NUTINI was way better than expected, his live version of IRON SKY made me openly weep, only a small handful of musicians can make me do that, Daniel Johns (Emotion Sickness), Matt Corby (Brother – must be LIVE) and Jeff Buckley (Hallelujah). Nutini proves himself and enters the JK Hall of greats.
BAR RACUDA Score: Service 2.5 spoons, Food 3 spoons, Cost 3.5 spoons and Venue, 4 spoons. Total………………….