Rabbit Hole Bar and Dining is a hidden underground bar/restaurant near the Martin Place area. Situated in the space previously occupied by Bar Europa, they’ve been open for about a year and a half now and have already made a name for themselves serving up tasty meals (check out their wagyu beef burger!) and drinks. I’ve been a couple of times before but this time we’re trying out a pilot of their ‘Cocktail Concepts & Culinary Craze’ – a monthly event that will showcase unique cooking techniques and molecular mixology.
Poached oyster with yuzu jelly, green apple foam & liquid nitrogen kiwi spheres
We kick start the night with some oysters presented with a generous amount of green apple foam. It’s light, fruity and an interesting take on oysters. I quite like the sweet apple notes over the traditional lemon or vinaigrette!
Scampi, bloody mary emulsion, coriander and tomato cous cous & crispy legs
w/ ‘Ay Caramba’ – Yellow Chartreuse, blanco tequila, grilled lime, agave, jalapeno & coriander served spherified
Next is some beautiful scampi that’s been lightly pan fried served with crunchy salt and pepper scampi legs underneath. On the plate is also a white chocolate ball filled with a prawn and lemon curd. It’s a mixture of sweet and savoury flavours but somehow works. This dish is a whole mixture of textures and I quite like how it showcases some unconventional flavours and techniques.
The “cocktail” paired with the scampi is the cheekily named ‘Ay Caramba’ which gives us flashbacks to The Simpsons. It may look absolutely nothing like a cocktail, but rest assured that those juicy little pearls pop in your mouth to create a spicy margarita, finished off with a dash of zesty citrus from the caramelised lime the pearls rest on.
Palate Cleanser – Liquid Nitrogen mojito air
After this we’re given a palate cleanser in the form of liquid nitrogen mojito air. A mojito mixture is blasted with liquid nitrogen and scooped out into a cocktail glass resembling a meringue. It’s light, airy and tastes exactly like a mojito! It needs to be eaten quickly though, as once the temperature starts rising it loses its fluffy and crispy texture.
Glazed pork belly, butter bean puree, radish, pickled carrots & passionfruit
w/ ‘The Rabbit Hole, White Negroni’ – ‘Rabbit Hole redistilled bitter lemon gin’, No. 3 Gin, Solerno blood orange served short on an ice sphere containing a lily
When it comes to mains, we’re served up a beautiful glazed pork belly. This has a huge layer of fat on it but is soooo delicious! There’s squirts of sweet butter bean puree and a thin sheet of passionfruit crisp which add sweet and fruity tones highlighting the pork belly beautifully. Scattered on the plate are also raw onions on the plate which adds an texture but also a strong raw flavour that cuts through the sweetness and it all works really well. Overall this dish is definitely my highlight of the night.
The pork belly is matched up with the deceptively delicate looking White Negroni which packs a punch of strong gin in, despite the floral notes wafting from the glass as you pick it up thanks to the gorgeous ice sphere with a lily encased inside. Best to wait for the ice to melt to dilute the drink a bit!
Spherical gnocchi of mascarpone and savarin, black cardamom and mushroom consommé
w/ ‘Rosemary’s got the Blues’ – Bowmore 12yr, rosemary syrup, fresh pressed blueberries, apple & malic acid served cocktail style
Our last savoury dish for the night is a super soft gnocchi that just melts in your mouth. It’s cheesy flavours match the mushroom broth beautifully, and these mushroom flavours are reminiscent of Asian cuisine.
The ‘Rosemary’s got the Blues’ cocktail is a lovely partner to the gnocchi, with the distinctive aroma of rosemary anchoring the drink, which went down a lot easier than the White Negroni which came before it.
Toffee apple sugar sphere, cinnamon foam, almond nougat & apple
w/ ‘Wonka’s Wasted’ – Fireball whisky, ‘Rabbit Hole’ coffee liquor, vanilla & chocolate bitters served as a bitter foam inside edible glass
After seeing so many varied cooking techniques, I was really excited to find out what would be in store for dessert. Not long after, out came a red toffee sphere resembling an apple with an actual leaf stuck on the top. It’s very delicate and easily cracks open with my spoon revealing foam inside tasting like apple (although the menu description says cinnamon). Underneath the sphere is a mixture of almond nougat, cooked apple pieces and cinnamon, reminding me of an apple pie – delicious!
Our cocktail odyssey ended with yet another whimsical “cocktail” that defies all conventions – the aptly named ‘Wonka’s Wasted’ is a quirky mix of caffeine in the form of coffee liquor, hints of vanilla and chocolate in the thick foam crowning it and all wrapped up in an edible golden shot “glass” (made from sugar). This dessert cocktail definitely made us overdose on the sugar, considering the amount of sugar in the dessert too!
Overall Rabbit Hole Bar and Dining has created a very intriguing dining experience incorporating a wide range of cooking techniques, flavours and drinks. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but is worth checking out for those into mixing cooking with some science.
Rabbit Hole Bar and Dining
82 Elizabeth St, Sydney
Ph: (02) 8084 2505