Saturday, 10 December 2011
Our Melbourne cousins have long since perfected lane way development. Packing alley ways between the city's main streets with funky cafes and independent bars.
In the last twelve months we've seen a number of small bars open up in Sydney, but not many in actual lane ways*. That is until York Lane opened ten weeks ago.
They're certainly putting in the effort at York Lane. Open from 6:30 for early morning coffees, it transitions into a lunch spot, before finally morphing into a small bar for drinking the night away.
The interior is made almost exclusively from recycled materials. The back wall is lined with wardrobe doors, the shelving units are made from Qantas trolley's and railway sleepers are underfoot.
I couldn't quite decide if, as the chirpy barista told us, York Lane was put together on a tight budget. Or it was the product of an expensive interior designer going for the classic Melbourne look. But when it works, why worry?
The menu consists of small tapas plates designed for sharing. We started with the Peking Duck Pancakes. It was difficult to spot any duck through the abundant fresh vegetables when the wraps arrived. Never fear, there was plenty of duck and sticky hoisin sauce nestled at the base of the wraps. As so often is the case, the sauce made the 'pancakes'.
Next up were the were the pea and haloumi fritters. The fritters had been layered on top of each other which made them lose any crunch they might have had. Mild and arguably indistinct flavours made these the least favourite dish.
My selection was the chorizo and bean stew and it was a top choice! The beans were mildly flavoured with onion and thyme. The char grilled chorizo provided both texture and robust flavours to contrast with the beans. The stew was served with toast slathered in butter.
The bbq chicken wings were very moist. Deceptively mild to begin with the heat from the marinade was a 'builder'.
We couldn't resist the pork belly after seeing it being served to a couple of nearby tables. Served at room temperature the pork had a beautiful porky and appley flavour. Pleasingly the crackling had retained a good crunch. Along with the chorizo, the pork belly was a highlight, definitely two dishes to order again.
York Lane are pioneering Sydney's lane way development and they deserve to be applauded. It was a bold move to open in an alley way that is still a long way from being gentrified. York Lane are doing a lot right.
Viva la revolucion!
*I'd originally written "none in an actual lane way" which was of course a silly thing to say, as per Miss Piggy's comments.