Next Door is a petite walk-in bar that sits (fittingly) next door to Neil Perry’s refined neighbourhood restaurant, Margaret. With space for just 45 people inside and 10 to 15 outside, it has has the same simple but elegant look and feel as Margaret, with neutral tones and natural timber. The attitude is the same too, with the best native-Australian ingredients used where possible, and cocktails including Gimlets, a spicy Margarita (here named the “Spicy Margaret”), Bellinis and all manner of Martinis served on monogrammed trays. The extensive wine list is borrowed from Margaret.
But that’s where the fine-dining similarities end. The appeal of the more low-tempo Next Door is its relaxed menu – all imbued with Perry’s exacting touch. The snacks might include caviar tartlets and olives, and the list of small plates encourages diners to build their own antipasto selection with the likes of anchovies, woodfired peppers, house-made ricotta and tins of clams, served with fresh bread from Baker Bleu next door.
For a more substantial bite, there is a concise list of mains inspired by classic dishes from around the world: an eggplant parmigiana, mussels marinière, a salt-beef Reuben sandwich, minute-style fillet steak, and Perry’s American cheeseburgers, which have a cult following all their own.
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