Nola Smokehouse and Bar
On the north side of Barangaroo’s waterfront near Cirrus, there’s a back alley with a lift. Take it to P1 and you’ll find Nola. It has 270 seats, water views, around 500 whiskies, a 2.5-metre-long open-grill fire pit and a hickory-packed smoker filling the restaurant with that American barbeque smell.
It’s likely much of the early crowd has come from The Swinging Cat, the other venue by co-owners Pete Fischer and Richard Duff. It was the first place Fischer started pouring New Orleans cocktails and serving the boutique, high-end American whiskey he imports.
Helmed by head chef Troy Spencer, the kitchen’s massive fire pit and smoker punches out brisket; apple cider pulled pork; and succulent rotisserie chicken. There are also St Louis-style pork ribs with a habanero glaze, premium steaks from Rangers Valley, and fire-roasted vegetables dishes such as carrots with salsa verde and maple-goats curd.
Beyond bourbon and rye tasting flights, the bar is all about New Orleans classics such as a Sazerac; a rum-and-passionfruit Hurricane; and a Ramos Gin Fizz that uses cream, lemon and egg. Nola also does a few small snacks, such as oysters natural, charcuterie and fries with sweet and spicy barbeque salt.
It’s even styled like New Orleans with the four quarters of the city represented by four sections. There’s a plush French Colonial VIP lounge; a copper bar with dark carpets and room for a jazz band; a wooden, brightly coloured private room; and a dining area painted with pastels, timber and greenery.
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