There are enough jars of dehydrated fruits, candied ginger and spices at Grain Bar that one might think you’d stepped into an apothecary, not the salubrious Four Seasons hotel bar. Toss in a few flaming rosemary sprigs and you know this is certainly not your average hotel bar.
Located on the ground floor of Four Seasons Hotel in Circular Quay, Grain Bar is definitely not just for tourists. Instead, it’s the watering hole for a dedicated following of locals looking for a spot to settle in with fine spirits, finely crafted cocktails and a very impressive wine list.
Like the bar itself, a study in handcrafted wood and copper finishes, the cocktail menu is all about craftsmanship. Bar manager Roderick Boerma whisks us away to the rainforest with his sheer enthusiasm for the Australian finger lime. The secret ingredient in Phresh, an Archie Rose vodka based cocktail with egg white, lemon juice and kaffir lime leaf syrup (straight from the leaves, sitting in jars right in front of us), the finger limes sit in silence at the bottom of your glass, bursting with surprise pops of flavour when they hit your mouth. Roderick’s enthusiasm for the fresh Australian flavours he and his team have discovered on their journey to bring a local flavour to the cocktail list is quite catching. I’m eagerly finishing up my Phresh, and then my partner’s when he’s too slow, so that we can move on to the flaming rosemary gin-based drinks.
One of the most popular new cocktails is proving to be “Bananas”, made using northern NSW-based Husk Distillers cane juice rum, the only agricole rum produced in the country. It’s paired with dark vanilla syrup, hazelnuts and banana liquer, torched to give it a crust that’s somewhere between a drink and a crème brulee.
That’s certainly not the most decadent thing on the menu. Grain Bar’s new food offerings toe the line between delicious and outright decadent. Think Sydney rock oysters, served with red wine or Kilpatrick with house made BBQ sauce, seared Albacore tuna with truffle ponzu, crispy melt in your mouth Milly Hill lamb chops and loaded “dirty-fries” that take waffle cut fries to the next level. The black onyx striploin steak is the stuff of power lunch dreams, and a grilled flat bread mezze platter comes with enough creamy Vannella buffalo mozzarella to give you sweet cheese dreams.
When it comes to dessert, the decadence really comes into play. Served in a piping hot skillet pan, the brown butter macadamia cookie arrives straight from the oven, with a dollop of ice cream and salted caramel. Go for the lemon myrtle pavlova if you’re after something lighter, but trust us, the cookie is worth every mouthful.
Open daily, 2pm until late
199 George St Sydney