“Is this it, I wonder?” Lena and I are looking for Caribbean restaurant Rosie Campbell’s, a hot ticket on weekends when they offer bottomless daiquiris and rosé as well as a multi-course Carribean feast for those smart enough to make a booking. It’s a bit underwhelming from the outside, but all of that changes once you step through those doors.
We’re early because I live in mortal fear of being late, and apparently, we’ve beaten everyone here. (Plus, we’ve lost focus because there are so many ding-dong darling dogs out today, and I’m obliged to pat them all.) We confirm that this is indeed the place, and once we see some other people going in, we join the queue and are led to our little table.
At first, I’m a smidge annoyed to be sitting at a tall pub table right in front of the bar, but later I’ll realise that this may be the best seat in the house. We’re close to the refills, the cocktail staff are lovely and chatty, and we’re out of the flow of traffic. We sit.
Soon enough, it begins. We start with the pineapple daiquiri before moving on to the coconut and then the original. The consensus? Both of us prefer the coconut first, then the pineapple and last, the original. I won’t lie to you; I was really expecting basic bitch, premade, syrup-based, overly sweet, cheap rum tipples. These are not that. Every last one is made to order, shaken by the lovely bartender, August, like she’s mad at it, and poured with aplomb into a proper glass to be garnished with nasturtium. The thing I love? The glasses aren’t so small that you’re constantly waiting for a refill (and you won’t wait, service is brisk) but not so large that the drink gets warm as you savour it.
They might also have some specials on hand, concoctions that aren’t on the menu. Tip: Be nice to Ivanka. We particularly enjoyed the peach with housemade puree (no sugar added) and raspberry, too. The flavourings aren’t fake, and they’re made in-house, so sit and enjoy a few without fear of that dreadful sugar rush that comes after. The rosé (we HAD to try it) was good as well, and coming from Lena, who is a true rosé aficionado, that means something.
And the food. Again, bottomless tenders are not typically known for the quality of their cuisine… passable sure, but memorable? Not usually. That’s why I was so delighted with the dishes here. Caribbean flair is everywhere, from the jerk (spicy-sweet) chicken tacos and fritters, ridiculous watermelon salad (you will moan it’s so good), Kingston (Jamaica) prawns and the dish that was our hands down favourite… you’ll never believe it when I tell you, but it was the RICE. Our sweet server Anthony told us it has something like 10 ingredients, and I’d love to know every one of them so I could recreate it at home… but instead (I’m lazy), I’ll just come back to Rosie’s.
So, here’s the scoop. Bookings are essential. The venue is intimate, and you’ll love that about it. The Bottomless Daquiri Lunch runs on Saturdays and Sundays with a start between 12 – 3. You get two hours of Caribbean flavour, live music vibes and delicious drinks. It’s also super cute and Instagrammy inside.
Book with your bestie, or grab a group for one of the large tables. You can also sit outside if it’s warm.
Rosie Campbell’s – 320 Crown Street, Surry Hills (02) 7209 5469 Hours: Tu/We/Th 4p-12a, Fr 12p-12a, Sa 1p-12a, Su 1p-12a Bottomless Daquiris and feast offered Sa and Su only (2-hr blocks)