On Redfern Street there’s an unassuming glass door with metal bars. Above it is a bright red and green neon “open” sign that looks vaguely Christmas-y. Behind the door there is red velvet carpet on the staircase.
This used to be Pron Prohm, a legendary, three-decade-old Thai restaurant known for its frozen-in-time ’80s decor. Now it’s Ron’s Upstairs, which is by the team behind Arcadia Liquors, Redfern Continental and its backdoor cocktail bar, Gunther’s Dining Room.
The botanical wallpapers from the previous venue have been refurbished, red carpet still runs around the bar, and the furniture is similar to the faded purple seats and lacquered tables that used to be there. Now though, thanks to a snaking trail of grape vines, dimmed lighting and croon tunes, it all feels charmingly like a mid-winter event in a European lodge.
A rotisserie produces preposterously juicy paprika-rubbed whole chooks with toum-style garlic sauce and a tart chilli dip. And a whole snapper in a brown butter and caper sauce. Order one and fill your table with sides – maybe charred eggplant and labne with house-made pita breads, or half a radicchio grilled on its side and dressed with blood orange, hazelnuts, maple syrup and goat’s cheese.
There are a few bar stools and the taps are pouring organic Sparrow and Vine wines from the Barossa, and there’s The Grifter Brewing Co. by the can. A short list of classic cocktails rounds off the list.