At newly opened Hunter & Barrel, margaritas are smoked atop the stone bar. The bartender puts woodchips inside a smoking gun and sets it alight. The flame is sucked into a decanter and released as a billowing train of smoke: dinner and a show, according to beverage manager, Joel Davis.
“The method infuses smoky flavours into the cocktail, and that matches up with the charcoal meats on the menu,” says Davis. “But beyond anything, it’s good theatre.”
Smoked drinks, barrel-aged cocktails and fat-washed spirits are among Hunter & Barrel’s signatures. The progressive cocktail menu is designed specifically to complement the rustic food on offer.
The menu is designed for sharing and feasting. “Put everything in the middle, grab the plates on the sides, and everybody just digs in,” says assistant manager, Emma Stefulj.
Skewered beef rump and salmon are served alongside pickled-cabbage slaw and jacket potatoes. Heartier options are slow-roasted on the charcoal grill. Local beers come bottled, on tap and in tinnies; the lemonade is made in-house; and the dessert menu features a reinvention of the traditional s’more.
On the rooftop of building 303, Hunter & Barrel looks like a modern woodland tavern. Large, wood-paneled windows brighten the space, and a mass of green foliage and twigs suspended from the ceiling is the focal point of the room. Rows of quilted-brown-leather booths face inward, looking directly onto the bar and open kitchen.
The opening at Cockle Bay Wharf is the second for the Hunter & Barrel brand (the first was established in the outer suburbs of Melbourne) and the latest venture from Seagrass Hospitality Group, which brought us The Meat & Wine Co, Ribs & Burgers and Italian Street Kitchen.
“Sydney venues are leading the charge in experimentation. Hopefully we can add to that as well and bring these cool things out into the public eye,” says Davis.
Hunter & Barrel Sydney
Tenancy 303, Cockle Bay Wharf
(02) 9264 9888
Sun to Thu 12pm10pm
Fri & Sat 12pm–10.30pm