Credit: Bar Brosé/Instagram
Whether you’re toasting to a much-needed change of career path (not necessarily your own) or feel like celebrating your democratic right to make adult decisions as to where you would like to eat, drink and dance and when you would like to do it, tonight would seem an appropriate a night as any to give back to Sydney’s near moribund nightlife economy.
Though certain radical factions in our society would have you believe that there’s a strict window of time in which dinner must be consumed and fun must be contained, a new generation of bars and restaurants have been making a very convincing proposition otherwise.
Life after dark, it would seem, is an enriching one: by taking waitlists, queues and crowds out of the equation, the scene is made all the more enticing. Add to that a class of young chefs and restauranteurs committed to creating innovative establishments with character, passion and – above all – flavour at the forefront and you have something akin to a bande à part – one that’s very worthy of your attention, and patronage.
Below, four late night venues within a much-maligned after dark precinct at which you might feel inclined to pour one out tonight or every other night hereafter.
A favourite amongst post-shift hospo crowds, Big Poppa’s is performing a vital act of CPR on a fast atrophying Oxford Street (Palms not included), and it’s doing so to the baseline of Hypnotize. Its Italian inflected menu is prolific, perfect for sharing and undoubtedly delicious: try the nettle gnudi (moreish parcels of ricotta and goats cheese submerged in a sensational sage burnt butter sauce); the lamb shoulder ragu on hand-cut pappardelle; or the Juicy pork cutlet atop a bed of fennel and Pedro Ximénez infused prunes you’ll want to replicate at home.
Cheese plays a significant role on the menu at Big Poppa’s, but it’s the extensive wine list that should have you dreaming well into the night. Otherwise an expertly made night cap can always be found in the downstairs cocktail bar until 3am.
Credit: Big Poppa’s/Instagram
There’s a certain breed of cultural masochist who derives a particular pleasure from queuing for hours at Sydney’s most in-demand restaurant, only to be told they won’t be able to eat for another three hours. Spare yourself an acute case of Hubert’s Heartache™ (and please, give the city’s hosts a break) by waiting out the post-work crowd in a manner of your choosing before waltzing right into this subterranean speakeasy near midnight for a veritable feast of French cuisine without the anguish.
You’re all but guaranteed to get a seat at Bar Normandy (one of seven dining rooms) where the full menu is still offered should the restaurant still be operating at full-capacity despite the late hour (not an unusual occurrence, in my experience). If that isn’t proof positive that the city is crying out for options of this calibre after 8pm, then what is?
Go wild on the menu (the pommes Anna are non-negotiable, however) and you’ll be rewarded in kind.
The late night sandwich (pictured below) at Bar Brosé, the French-inflected offshoot of Rushcutter’s reliably excellent ACME, is reason enough to plan for a delayed dinner. It’s as refined a midnight snack as you’ll likely find anywhere, and the combination of pineapple glazed leg ham, Comté and ‘nduja (spreadable pork salumi) is a winning one – legion converts to head chef Analiese Gregory’s fresh take on French cuisine are testament to as much.
There’s also a fantastic featherweight dish of kingfish, pomelo, candied ginger and crème fraiche should something lighter take your fancy – it’s perfect when paired with a glass of Patrick Sullivan’s ‘Pink Pound’ Pinot Noir, selected from a very user-friendly wine list.
But if you’re going to town (as you very well should be) you’d do well to also order the slow cooked pork jowl with turnip and umeboshi, a pickled Japanese salt plum. Finish with a glass of Heiwa Shuzo ‘Tsuruume Yuzushu’. Magnifique.
Credit: Bar Brosé/Instagram
Frankie’s Pizza By The Slice
Come for the eponymous pizza; the atmosphere; the fact that it’s a lone, wild star in an otherwise desolate drinking and dining precinct.
Stay for the promise of an unpredictable night, and the guarantee that it won’t be your last.
Tile and cover image: Bar Brosé/Instagram