Slightly reminiscent of a European square, Republic 2 Courtyard in Darlinghurst is a perfect place to spend a warm summer’s night. Recently, the hustle and bustle of the square has been in need of a little pick me up after the closing of Christine Manfield’s acclaimed Universal in 2013.
Hailing from Adelaide, Steve Pirone and Steve Waldeck are here to change that with the opening of Civilian, a fresh and simplistic new open-air restaurant. “We like to call it high-end down time,” says Pirone, general manager of the new venue. The fit out (by fellow Adelaide designers Studio Gram) and the name are products of the desire to keep a little of that fine dining experience while creating an approachable atmosphere where diners can afford to spend more than a few evenings a month.
Head chef Aaron Mihelic’s (Fish Face, Guillaume at Bennelong) experience shines through on the Civilian menu. Along with sous chef Jack Bathurst (Sepia, Toko) the pair have created casual yet refined dishes with an emphasis on sharing. Small plates like Hiramasa Kingfish Carpaccio dressed with orange soy, finger lime and wild rice, can be accompanied by larger servings of Confit Pork Belly with apple, wasabi, celery and lemon balm.
“We wanted to do high-end,” explains Ball, “without having to put 50 elements on a plate.”
The menu is made for sharing with smalls, mediums and large dishes but to get the most of the menu; Pirone suggests the ‘Feed Me’ menu, six courses as selected by the chef.
The Civilian Toastie made with provolone, fior di latte, leg ham and onion relish features on the Brunch menu available Friday to Sunday, with the lunch menu boasting the Civilian Cheeseburger, Juggernaut Burger and the Fish and Chips special of the day.
The inside bar is characterised by a seasonally changing cocktail menu led by Max Cristao of Mr Moustache and The Londsdale in London. Standouts include The Big Apple, a spicy mix of Jalapeno-infused Espolon Tequila Blanco, ginger syrup, lime juice, agave syrup, apple juice and The Humming Bird, a sweet concoction made with Havana 7, Crawleys pomegranate syrup, Amaro Montenegro, lime juice, pineapple juice.
Whatever you choose off the long list of dishes and drinks, enjoy it amongst other chatty diners scattered throughout the courtyard enjoying the beauty of a Sydney evening.
Civilian Bar & Kitchen
248 Palmer Street, Darlinghurst
(02) 9361 4162