I’ve been wanting to check out Bar H for a few months now and finally got to try out this fun establishment last Saturday night with my dear sister & bro in law in town. When we arrived at Bar H the place was packed with diners, it’s a small restaurant with a no bookings policy, we were told it would be an approx 45 min wait for a table. We popped over a street away for some cocktails at Shortgrain while we waited for a table to be ready.
Shortgrain was also packed, as expected on a Saturday, a fun young crowd dressed in their glammed up outfits sipping cocktails, DJs spinning funky tunes in the background.
We ordered a ‘shared cocktail’, Longrain Ice tea (an enervating tonic of thai flavours, pressed coriander roots and a splash of passionfruit pulp combined with vanilla and chilli infused with 2 below vodka as well as vanilla syrup and lime juice then crowned in lemonade), $32 (for 2 pp serve). This was served in a porcelain tea pot with tea cups, each of the cups were filled with thin slices of chilli.
The ice tea had extraordinary flavours, the sweet vanilla & passionfruit flavours were beautifully combined with the refreshing lemon & coriander & the chilli giving it a spicy finish! Loved it! It was quite a large tea pot, so we were able to sip a few tea cups of the ice tea just in time for our call to say that our table at Bar H was ready.
We were seated in a corner table where we could see chef Hamish busy cooking away in the small kitchen. My friends and I were tempted to try the ‘Hamish’ banquet (where the chef chooses the combination of dishes for you to eat), but ended up opting to choose our own dishes.
The tuna sashimi with shitake mushrooms 9pp was an amazing start to the meal. Thin slices of the fresh soft tuna with a lovely soy, vinegar and sesame sauce combined with lovely assortment of shitake and crunchy ‘wood ear’ mushrooms. It was so tasty I could have gobbled the whole plate myself!
Next came the Braised beef shortrib in sesame leaf ($6.50 each), small cubes of smokey beef ribs with refreshing mint wrapped in a sesame leaf (I had never tried a sesame leaf before, they’re heart shaped leafs with a rough texture similar to a mint leaf). DELICIOUS! I did notice Hamish loves his sesame, with sesame featuring in most of his dishes.
The Crisp pork & prawn wontons with sweet chilli sauce ($4 each), were nice and crispy, but not overly exciting.
Tea eggs, pickled bamboo and pardon chilli $10, the tea eggs had a slightly smoked tea flavour, which was overpowered by the pickled bamboo and kimchi vegetables. This was my least favourite dish of the night.
The raw calamari salad with yam bean and coriander ($25) a refreshing salad with lovely mixture of textures of the calamari, thin slices of crisp apple in a light soy, lemon and sesame sauce – it was a modern European version of the traditional Chinese jellyfish salad.
Roasted pork belly with Sichuan eggplant, $34. Thick tender slices of pork belly served on a bed of roasted eggplant, topped with Chinese spinach.
The Fried chilli spatchcock, $36 was to me the dish of the night, an explosion of rich spicy flavours. The spatchcock was coated in a thick, sweet and chilli red bean paste, served with bean sprouts and roasted peanuts – this certainly had a lot of bite to it! I loved this dish, I almost licked the plate! (Be sure to have a glass of water and steamed rice handy when eating this dish as it is spicy!)
Last came the live marron with chilli and black bean ($36). The marron was served sliced in two halves, coated in a thick chilli and black bean sauce on a bed of glass noodles. Beautifully done.
After that beautiful meal, I was dying to try one of their desserts, the 8 Treasure sticky rice with caramel sorbet, but they unfortunately ran out of this dish. That gives me a good reason to come back and try the other dishes on the menu.
I was thoroughly impressed by Bar H – beautiful food, great service and a fun ambience – a lot of happy bellies leaving the place, will definitely be coming back again.
Bar H, 80 Campbell Street Surry Hills NSW 2010