Rabbit Hole Bar & Dining, Sydney CBD

Squirreled away like many underground bars, Rabbit Hole Bar & Dining is tucked away in Martin Place, Sydney CBD. I’ve wanted to try this place before, but like most grand ideas, it somehow slipped away. But I got a reminder recently listing the top desserts to try and the one at Rabbit was mentioned…

Rabbit Hole Bar & Dining:

  • Website: http://www.rabbitholebar.com.au/
  • Address: Basement level, 82 Elizabeth St, Sydney NSW 2000
  • Getting there: closest train station is Martin Place or St James, but you can also easily walk from Wynyard
  • Book: suggested, we came on a Wednesday night and most of the tables were reserved already! Luckily a table for two is often easily accommodated. Book via enquiries@rabbitholebar.com.au or 02 8084 2505
  • Open: Mon to Fri (12pm – 2am), Sat (4pm – 2am). Closed Sun.

Head down the spiral stairway and you feel a bit like Alice going down the Rabbit Hole. I suppose that’s the feeling it’s supposed to create. This bar is quite low lit (mood lighting), so don’t expect pastel coloured walls and mushrooms reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland.

There’s some pictures of rabbits on the wall, which is cool, but otherwise it kind of looks like a normal bar.

Welcome to Rabbit Hole
Welcome to Rabbit Hole

What is a bit are the tea cups holding a candle on each table. water is served in a liquor bottle of gin. Nice touch. The teacup is pretty cool and quotes Charles Dickens around the edge:

Minds, like bodies, will often fall into a pimpled, ill-conditioned state from mere excess of comfort.

Currently, on Wednesday nights, they are running a 2 for 1 promotion on cocktails between 5-7pm. Unfortunately they don’t show tell you until later that this only applies to limited cocktails and none sound as cool as the ones we wanted!

So we just ordered off the normal cocktail menu.

Wood and Smoke $22
Wood and Smoke $22

D2D ordered the Wood & Smoke (GIN), which is described as:

First the aroma of smouldering cinnamon will greet you. Then be taken to a warm fireplace with this complex and bitter drink. Auchentoshan 3 Wood, Jim Beam Devil’s Cut and Laphroaig 10yo is mixed with Quassia and Barberry Bark syrup, Acid Phosphate, Fee Brother’s Whisky Barrel Aged bitters and Old Fashioned.
The drinks at RB are definitely different and there’s a scientific-experimental feel to what they are trying to do. D2D’s Wood and Smoke tasted like….wood and smoke, haha. It comes with piece of cinnamon (on fire/smoking), which you can later put out by putting into the little glass of water it comes with.
XO Zombie $19
XO Zombie $19

I got the XO Zombie (rhum), which is described as:

Our twist on the original. Mt Gay XO, Cointreau and Joseph Cartron Cocody are muddled with lime, mint and our house made passionfruit caramel. It is shaken with aromatic bitters, pineapple and orange. Served in a bitter, sugar rimmed glass with a flaming passionfruit.

Things on fire are just instantly cooler for some reason!

The drinks at RB are quite expensive ($20 mark) actually, but you actually get quite a lot because the glasses are big.  There are some other drinks on the menu which sounded quite interesting (including ones in a powder form!), but we have to save room for food…

RH has a lunch, dinner and bar menu. Their dinner menu is in the small vs large format, which seems popular for shared dining these days.

First up:

vivid 008
Crispy and gooey truffled eggs; liquid nitrogen yolk, frozen meringue, blue cheese foam & dark cocoa brioche $25

Let’s be blunt. This was weird.

And we definitely drew the gaze of all the other diners when this came out! Though we appreciated the experimental nature of this, we didn’t quite enjoy the flavours/textures of this dish. It was a bit confusing to have so many different elements, which, even when you ate it together, still tasted strange. Perhaps it’s the “cold” feeling of eating frozen meringue and nitrogen yolk… in the beginning of winter? It also felt rather unsubstantial (admittedly, it is a “Small” dish) for the price of $25.

Interesting stuff – but would we eat it again? Highly unlikely….

Glazed pork belly and tornadoes, vegetable risotto, bacon & garlic caramel $22
Glazed pork belly and tornadoes, vegetable risotto, bacon & garlic caramel $22

The second “Small” dish was a bit more “normal”. That yellow strip on top is a bacon/garlic caramel!! I really liked it – like salted caramel – but D2D complained he had garlic breath. We both liked the soft pork belly and risotto underneath.

What’s that red sauce? No idea! Maybe “tornadoes” is “tomatoes” and it’s some kind of tomato sauce…

We then moved onto dessert, which was the reason I had been reminded of this place:

Chocolate skull on FIRE!

Chocolate skull, rum, spiced black vanilla ice cream, flourless pineapple cake & fire $21

Chocolate skull, rum, spiced black vanilla ice cream, flourless pineapple cake & fire $21

Yeah, another fiery dish! Unfortunately I missed the fire part of the presentation, but basically the waiter pours alcohol over the dish, with a flame, so it’s basically like the Bombe Alaska dessert.

What makes it different is the chocolate skull mask that is the centerpiece of the dish. This melted quite a bit by the time the fire was out, so the photo doesn’t quite capture it but you get the idea. The pineapple cake really soaks up the alcohol so it’s a bit heady for the alcohol lightweights (like me). Theses also gold and blue flakes which was interesting.

All in all, Rabbit Hole Bar & Dining offers some interesting and experimental cocktails and food! However, it can be an expensive meal ($120 all up for the two of us) where the portions aren’t that substantial and the experiments can feel like they’ve gone…a bit awry.

Interestingly, most of the other diners that night didn’t choose the “off the beaten track” dishes and drinks that we got. Perhaps they are the regulars, who have realised and enjoy RH’s more mainstream dishes.

Rabbit Hole Bar & Dining on Urbanspoon

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