And still they come

December 2008

More openings to report — you gotta love an optimist. First up, and probably a surefire thing, there’s another in the chain of Belgian Beer Cafés, the Balmain Beer Cafe (82 Darling St, Ph 9810 1663) to join its brothers in The Rocks and Cammeray. The usual ingredients are present: bits and pieces from raids on real old Belgian beer cafes, mussels, chips (with mayo), terrific beer and hearty tucker, all overseen by chef and Belgian Oliver Massart. Dear old Balmain has gone northern European, what with La Boheme (332 Darling St, Ph 9818 0829) offering a Prague/Berlin experience down the road.

Then there’s  Satsuma (1 Dixon St, Sydney, Ph 8024 3588) in the new Mandarin Club, which I mentioned last column and later visited, only to find nothing open but the downstairs bar where I had a beer and a plate of terrific Thai fishcakes, which augurs well for the rest of the food. Now it’s all systems go and head chef Atsushi Nishibutshi is turning out izakaya dishes — small plates of flavoursome food … no, wait, not … Japanese tapas? And sake cocktails on the balcony.

And, finally, although it’s been open for a while, Cream Tangerine on the first floor of the truly bizarre (even after all these years) Swiss Grand Hotel (corner Campbell Pde & Beach Rd, Ph 9300 8471) by a group who seem to have a knack with nifty names — their other venture is The Rum Diaries Bar & Restaurant (288 Bondi Rd, Ph 9300 0440). Cream boasts a collection of  sixties antiques, two open-air cocktail bars (they’re big on tequila) and menus from Mark Lloyd (who did the munger at Rum Diaries) Expect Tiki parties all summer and the cool Bondi Boogie crowd, which will either put you off or turn you on. Gorgeous views over Bondi Beach. They even have a breakfast martini on the menu.

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