That joy when you get a corrupt hard drive recovered and get all your lost photos back. So stoked! I loved the pics I got from CONTACT BAR AND KITCHEN in Woolloomooloo and was so pissed I lost them. They are first off the rank of recovery posts. Apologies to the venue. I visited six months ago and most of the meals are off the menu (for now) but I will mention current alternates in the review. If you haven’t yet heard of CONTACT BAR AND KITCHEN put it in your diaries because this place demands attention.
CONTACT BAR AND KITCHEN is an homage to its name – “CONTACT”. It is a bit of an irony. Firstly the venue is basically a phone museum. The owner is a little obsessed with antique stores and has collected a wonderful collection of old phones. They respect the inventor, Alexander Graham-Bell and celebrate the way this device has changed the world and connected people across the globe. But they also appreciate how this device to connect people has also made people less social. The venue is a space for people to come together, eat, drink and communicate. I know every venue has a similar goal but CONTACT BAR AND KITCHEN is designed to celebrate their philosophy of connecting.
They host courses in cocktails, cheeses, whiskey and more. The menu is designed to share and the place inspires a little discovery and communication – I loved sticky-beaking and taking pics of all the old phones, so many gorgeous types with many phones older than me – this is ancient :). My dining guest for the night, Kat from Sin Sydney, and I, discussed our fave phones, fave dishes, and then ended up gossiping endlessly over their epic cocktails.
CONTACT BAR AND KITCHEN VENUE TOO GOOD FOR ITS LOCATION:
The venue is located on Crown Street, down towards the Domain end. The Ferrari store, Scuderia Graziana, is a few doors up, so add some window shopping before or after (we can all dream people!). It’s not the most ideal location for a venue of this higher end calibre, although the Ferrari store disagrees. They serve breakfast and for the people living in the area it would be a wonderful place to get your caffeine hit and brekky. It’s an ideal distance from the CBD, just far enough away to get away from where you may work and close enough you could grab a bite here in the morning and then walk to work. Same for dinner on the way home. During the middle of the day they host a lot of their courses or corporate functions however are also still open for public lunch.
CONTACT would be ideal down the road on the Woolloomooloo waterfront, Manly, Bondi, Palm Beach or even the Blue Mountains. The open venue is stunning, there is bar seating, indoor semi-private seating and then some wonderful patio seating but the outlook isn’t as good as the rest of the venue deserves. It’s too good for its location, with beautiful surrounds to match this venue it would be a destination venue. I see it as a venue for dining but I would gather the location is ideal for all the courses and the centrality to Sydney.
THE MARVELLOUS MENU:
The menu is a modern multicultural fusion of decadent flavours and ingredients. Influences from Greece, Australia, France, Asia and Italy are spotted throughout the menu, among other cuisines. They offer a simple and refined breakfast menu. You can get a bacon and egg roll, a bowl of seasonal fruit or perhaps a Pearl Barley and Quinoa Warm Pudding with poached pear, apple and yoghurt is more your thing. CONTACT BAR AND KITCHEN then has a quick lunch menu which looks damn enticing. Burger and a drink for $20- or $15- without a beverage. Then there are four delicious sounding healthier salads; the Charred baby Corn and Sugar Snaps with sauerkraut, baby radish and Green Goddess dressing is the one that takes my fancy.
You can also have the a la carte menu for lunch, it is the same menu as on offer for dinner. My current faves now available are the Tuna Tartare on toast with ponzu gel, crispy nori, puffed rice and sesame. Or perhaps the 20+ layers of seasonal vegetables, a twist on the ratatouille? Current mains – I would not go past Gnocchi Mussels: potato gnocchi, mussel butter, bottarga and lemon zest. Although the Tagliolini Truffle Vanilla: vanilla butter, hazelnut and parmesan has me salivating. And for dessert a Frozen Pistachio Mousse needs to be mine!
WHAT WE WERE PREARED:
Again I apologise that the food I am reviewing is not currently available but I would imagine the faves from last winter will return for this upcoming season. Fingers crossed as there is one I MUST HAVE AGAIN!
- Southside: Gin – Lime – Mint – Elderflower Liqueur – Sugar
- Clover Club: Gin – Lemon – Raspberry Purée – Egg White
- Tuna Tartare with Chilli and Avocado Mousse
- Chicken, Wild Mushroom and Proscuitto Terrine with Housemade Pickles and Toast
- Textures of Beetroot with Blue Cheese Mousse, Caramelised Onion Puree and Charred Rye
- Duck Breast with Duck Leg Mash, Spinach, Beetroot Puree, Black Currant Jus
- Homemade Salmon and Razor Clam Ravioli with Razor Clam Gratin and Emulsion, Samphire and Cherry Tomato
- Truffled White Chocolate with Dark Chocolate Jus Mousse, Sea Salt, Tuille and Malted Butter Popcorn
- Cinnamon Baked Apple with Brandy Soaked Raisins, Creme Fraiche Chantilly and Pastry Shard
WHAT WE THOUGHT:
From the first sip of my Clover Club Gin Cocktail I knew we were in for a treat. Everything was near perfection. They made us an entree sampler platter with smaller samples of three entrees. It was so hard to choose between a favourite entree but the Chicken, Wild Mushroom and Proscuitto Terrine just nudged out the competition however the Textures of Beetroot dish was a marvellous creation and I want it again this winter if it comes back, so clever. It’s dishes like that win awards.
I will always order “the duck” on a menu because it is so heavenly when prepared well and the duck from CONTACT BAR AND KITCHEN was just wonderful. BUT – the Salmon and Razor Clam Ravioli was probably the single best dish I ate in 2017. It was one giant ravioli and it was perfection. If I had managed to get the photos recovered before the end of 2017 this would have been close to the top of my list of venues. That ravioli was presented perfectly, cooked by a master and flavoured by gods. Sharing it with Kat made my soul weep. I have this list of dishes I have had throughout my life that I will remember forever and this ravioli made it. (Mental Note: write article on said list).
The desserts were a lovely finisher but the Truffled White Chocolate the owner warned us about. It was a love or hate kind of dish and was going to be removed from the menu soon. I was not in the love camp. Kat and I both found the truffle ill suited to the dessert and while truffle is a form of porn for me, it just didn’t work. I did not finish the dish. But the Cinnamon Baked Apple was a winter dessert wonder. With a nice port or a schnapps or a dessert wine all it needed was an open fire for me to picture myself après dining off the slopes in a chalet somewhere.
CONTACT BAR AND KITCHEN is a Sydney venue that deserves more love. The food is next-level impressive, the cocktails had me swooning, and while the venue is not in the most suitable locations for it’s dining excellence the philosophy and antique phone collection more than compensate.
SCORE BREAKDOWN: 3/3 food, 2/2 service, 1/1 drinks, 0/1 venue & ambience, 1/1 cost, 1/1 toilets and 1/1 bonus
Contact Kitchen and Bar Deets:
PH: 02 8318 1510
88 Crown Street, Woolloomooloo, NSW 2000
Tue – Thu: 7am – 3pm & 6pm – 10pm
Fri : 7am – 12am
Sat: 3pm – 12am
Sun: 8am – 3pm
Closed on Monday
TAKEAWAY: Yes – selection
LOCAL DELIVERY: No
VEGETARIAN OPTIONS: Yes
GLUTEN FREE OPTIONS: Yes – small selection
KID FRIENDLY: Sort Of
*** Spooning Australia was invited to attend this venue and the meal was complimentary ***
For more reviews of Sydney Restaurants – check them out HERE