Head upstairs from Tatler to find 169 Darlinghurst, the handsome cafe/wine bar added by owner Tim Clark at the end of 2015. You’ll be met with distinctive murals by artist George Raftopoulos; and a timber- and brass-heavy fit-out designed by Tony Assness.
But 169 is more than just aesthetically pleasing. Chef Chui Lee Luk (ex-chef at Claude’s, ex-owner at Chow Bar & Eating House) is determined to make you feel good on the inside, too. Her take on healthiness doesn’t include raw cheesecake or green smoothies. She’s more into zucchini-and-broad bean salad mixed with fresh herbs and chewy strands of fermented chickpeas; gravlax artfully topped with juicy spanner crab and Dijon mustard; and salads served mostly raw, moderately dressed and compartmentalised to mix how you like.
Those looking for the fine-dining skills Luk showed off at Claude’s, look to the dinner menu, which includes blood-orange granita with kefir curds, blueberry and cacao meringue; and dry-aged lamb loin with Parmesan cream and pickled pumpkin.
The coffee bar uses beans from Pablo & Rusty, prepared in a variety of modern ways, including through a frothy, nitrogen-powered tap. ACME’s Gavin Wright helped prepare the night-time drinks list, which makes its case for progressive wines with cheeky comments such as, “If rambunctious wasn’t a wanky adjective, I’d use it.”