Saturday, 7 November 2009
Last Saturday night I went for dinner to the Boot Leg Bar in Paddington (Sydney, not the home of First Great Western trains), with a couple of friends. It's tiny place that is easy to miss, with the sign outside mysteriously just saying Bar + Italian Food. As you enter you immediately notice how small and narrow the place is. There is a long sleek bar dominating the front of the restaurant, with tables at the back and sunk into boothes for dining.
We had a couple of drinks at the bar before moving to our table. The furniture is pretty retro, and I was fearing the chairs would be hard and uncomfortable but needn't have feared. I have become so used to diverse Sydney menus that I was initially a bit disappointed studying the four or five choices, plus the specials on the board. Then I brought myself to my senses, a good focused menu is often the making of small places. Being Italian the menu was almost exclusively pasta and gnocchi. The staff were attentive and friendly, explaining a couple of the more obscure dishes on the menu.
I went for the lasagna which was amazing. Rich, without being heavy, and very tender. A lot effort had obviously gone into making such a simple dish. At our table we also had the spaghetti with prawns from the specials board and the grilled fish, both got good reviews. An interesting dish we saw at other tables was the pasta with meatball (singular). A softball sized meatball was served on a bed of pasta that oozed with mozzarella when cut open. It looked fun to eat if nothing else.
The Sydney Morning Herald have given the bar a rave review, loving it's New York vibe. I'd have to say I didn't think it had an NY feel. But I wouldn't disagree with all the positives. My only gripe was how close together the small tables were. My elbows would definitely have been clashing with the person next door had the adjoining table not been empty.
We had a rude shock when we stepped outside the calm sophistication of the restaurant that cocooned us for two hours, and into the madness that is Kings Cross on Halloween.