A cocktail inspired by Charles Dickens? Or experimental beverages that include Weet Bix milk or charred Jerusalem artichoke? These are just some examples of Phil Gandevia’s highly inventive work – he’s an award-winning bartender who modestly describes himself as “the bar guy” at Bentley Restaurant & Bar, but there’s no other person I would trust to include wasabi vinegar and olive brine in a drink and actually make it delicious.
You might’ve spotted him behind the bar at Rambutan, Eau de Vie, The Roosevelt and The Apothecary – at the latter venue, he concocted superfoods cocktails that even a skeptical Ned Brooks (DRNKS, Moon Park) approved of. And for someone who has thoroughly mastered booze, Phil has also applied his imagination and years of cocktail-savvy intel to Bentley’s brilliant non-alcoholic menu, which is one of the best drinking experiences in Sydney: expect a smoked apple and verjus creation that you’ll want to down “shots” of, a frothy wattleseed and West Indian spice buttermilk that’s as good as the desserts it’s paired with and a “wine” that he’s cleverly made out of beetroot. We also cover some of the other Sydney restaurants offering intriguing booze-free matches, like Momofuku Seiobo and Quay.
Phil also talks about the many places his bartending career has taken him – from Scotland to Japan and competition battles where he’s witnessed knockout cocktail-making performances (like Tim Philips creating magic with an egg while dressed in a Day of the Dead costume). Donald Trump also makes a surprising cameo in this conversation.
Plus, how to make tomato water, next-level tea, pyrotechnic cocktails and we highlight Pyrmont’s greatest hits (which include Clementine’s cafe and Momofuku Seiobo’s front-of-house ace, Kylie Javier Ashton).
You can listen to this episode on iTunes or download it via RSS or directly. And thanks to everyone who has kindly spread the word about this podcast or even dropped some nice words in the iTunes store – it makes all the keyboard hunching and long hours of editing worth it!
PS In the podcast, I make reference to previous times I’ve interviewed Phil for Good Food. Here are the articles if you feel like diving into the clippings pile.