February 2024 update: Head to the vinyl-spinning Oxford Street wine den on Valentine's Day for a glass of sparkling on arrival, before a three-course menu curated by culinary director Clayton Wells. The $99 offering features favourites like sheep's curd with heirloom squash, beef tartare and the exceptionally silky rigatoni alla vodka. The passionfruit pav is the correct choice for dessert. Head in as a pair, or book with all your lovers – groups of six will enjoy a free bottle of Taittinger, and groups of seven or more will nab their choice of magnum in red or white. Bookings recommended.
Busby’s is a moody drinking den on the ground floor of Paddington’s Oxford House. Accessible from the street, this place runs the full length of the hotel and complements its other offerings, which includes a pool club and El Primo Sanchez around the corner.
What really makes this place pop is the all-star team involved. Public Hospitality has tapped its culinary director Clayton Wells for the food menu, P&V’s Mike Bennie for the wine list and Maybe Sammy’s Paolo Maffietti for cocktails.
If you want a quick snack, you might go for a hunk of AP Bakery’s fenugreek and sesame loaf smeared with smoked butter. Or a fried potato dish with herbed cream cheese and trout roe. For something larger, a lesser-seen pasta shape – creste di gallo – is the ideal vessel for Wells’s silky vodka sauce.
On the wine front, Bennie has worked his usual magic with a line-up of wines from Australia, France and Italy. And while tighter than the average, the cocktail list is a confident one. Five drinks mix grape-forward liquors (think grappa, vermouth and moscato), each one a nice counterpoint before you jump into the juice.
Though it’s not a purist hi-fi bar like others around the country, Busby’s has made vinyl a big part of the equation. Expect everything from classic soul to the best live albums, as well as BYOR (that’s “bring your own records”) nights where you can spin your favourite wax from home.
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