If you live in Redfern, you probably know Bart. He’s described by the owners of Bart Jr the “notorious C-A-T”. Local legend says Bart fathered every ginger cat in the area, and this bar and eatery is named for those kittens.
The menu is short and changes every three weeks. Examples of dishes include buttery prawns with fried curry leaves on toasted brioche finished with bottarga, a salt-cured roe. And caramelised roasted fennel and artichokes buried in clouds of creamy white buffalo ricotta and stringy stracciatella, topped with walnuts and pangritata (fried, herbed bread) and some lightly acidic pickled grapes.
The drinks are outstanding. Don’t skip the Margarita. Made with mezcal, it’s a spicy, smoky drink sweetened with agave syrup and finished with a habanero-salted rim. Like the menu, the wine and beer offering changes regularly. Beers are from local brewers such as Shenanigans and Batch. Wines are almost exclusively Australian and there are natural and biodynamic drops by young winemakers, such as Vinteloper.
The shell of the building is heritage listed, and Bart Jr retains the original walls for some Redfern grunge, though the fit-out is clean and modern. In the afternoon, sunlight floods the room, and at night, lights twinkle from inside.