There’s nothing less fun than playing the “where should we go next?” lottery after dinner on a freezing winter night.
So here’s the two-in-one charm of Dry Land Bar, which recently opened near Baffi and Mo in Redfern: you can order food from a small menu, claim a cosy corner and basically not have to move for the rest of the night – which is what we did last Saturday.
Like the size of the room, the range of eats on offer is compact – nothing overly fancy, but conversation-perfect – unfussy, easy, comforting. Like a nicely baked Mushroom, Jerusalem Artichoke and Fennel Tart ($17) or Cheeseburger ($17), topped with onion jam, tomato and a squirt of your-condiment-of-choice. Or chips that you auto-dip into truffle mayonnaise ($8) as you keep chatting away. (Chris says the Salt & Pepper School Prawns ($15), was a bit samey, though, like eating a packet of chips.)
There’s also dessert, like the Creme Brulee ($12.50) served with strawberries and rounds of shortbread, or Chocolate Mousse ($12.50), plated with poached pears and pistachios on a piece of slate (allowing Chris to wisecrack that perhaps they needed to return that industrial sheet back to the roof).
This is the sort of place I’d be happy to spend a Saturday night (or quite a few hours on any other evening, really). The experience was like a nice version of Groundhog Day: we kept re-ordering the same drinks, kept talking away, were attended to in the right doses, but never felt like we were under “when are they going to leave?” surveillance.
Dry Land is the kind of small bar that is great to take refuge in on a winter night, especially in the mostly undercatered zone of Redfern (yes, there’s Eathouse Diner and The Fern, but walking-distance-wise, that’s about it). Credit goes to owner Roy Leibowitz (Love Tilly Devine) and chef Marc Cartwright (Longrain, Quay), and also props to Adele Winteridge of Foolscap Studio (The Commons, Goodgod), who has added a lot of low-key, personable charm to the diner-style interior.
As we kept telling the wait staff last week: more of the same, thanks.
Dry Land Bar & Diner, 92 Redfern St, Redfern NSW twitter.com/drylandbar