What does Snoop Dogg and Crow Nest have in common? A love of cognac. The French brandy is the tipple of choice for American rappers and their fans. Featuring in their lyrics alongside sex and contraband. From 2Pac, to Drake to Busta Rymes, yep, they all know something we don’t, until now.
Crows Nest locals Jakob Overduin and James Knight are in on this secret and have opened Hendriks Cognac & Wine bar so that we all can find out what is so special about this fine drink.
Hendriks is nestled in Crows Nest village. It’s a cosmopolitan space where you can sit at the bar, spread out at booth tables or spectate from a footpath possie. It’s buzzing and fully booked. Moody lighting and the contemporary playlist provide the right scene for what is a modern cognac bar. Ask James why cognac, and he’ll tell you it’s more elegant than whisky and that you’re likely to get hooked (not in an alcoholic kind of way) in a, ‘now, that’s a special drink’ experience. In fact, cognac is something many would dismiss as elite. The vision behind this concept was to make it both affordable and accessible to everyone.
The drinks menu is an epic. It showcases 30 of the best Cognacs in the world, including a range of Cognac-based cocktails and an impressive international wine list. Curious about cognac, but not ready to go all in? Start with a signature cocktail, ‘The Henk’ featuring Hennessy VS, Cointreau with fresh pineapple is a perfect intro. ‘The Major’ however, is an adult drink, Hennessy VS with citrus, a basil and chipotle twist will pique your interest to move to the main event, a Frapin VSOP. It’s the hero drop, the soft amber drink tastes like it looks, warm and smooth, really it’s best in its purest form, straight up, drank slowly.
Order ‘littles’ with your opening drinks; the cheeseburger spring rolls are hard to go past. Yep, they are exactly as they sound, super savoury. The cheese menu includes some of Australia’s winning Simon Johnson cheeses. You can even do a cheese and wine degustation which pairs with exotic wines. The 2014 Chateau Maucamps and the 2012 Haut-Medoc Chateau St George, both from Bordeaux are unbelievably priced for their taste and quality, this is no coincidence, they want to be sure great wines ‘drink over their price’. It is however the 2016 French Cahors Heritage, Malbec that is memorable.
You’ll start to get obsessed with the delicious smell wafting in the air, it’s the gourmet jaffles toasting up. It gets a little experiential with steaming hot jaffles such as ‘The Hunter’, oozing with chicken, speck, porcini and comte served with, you guessed it, a drizzle of cognac. It’s pure chemistry with the rich cheese fillings. The house cognac, mushroom and cheese also nails the flavour combo.
The St Agnes V.S.O.P 5 Year, a stronger cognac is the right digestif to wind down the night with something sweet. The banoffee jaffle with banana, toffee, caramel and cream is finger licking. It closes out what has been a truly unique experience, the jaffles are genius, the hospitality is as toasty, you’ll be feeling all warm inside too, quite possibly asking yourself, is Cognac the new gin?
Hendriks Cognac & Wine
5/29 Holtermann Street, Crows Nest
Opening Hours: Sun: 12pm – 8pm, Tues – Sat: 12pm – 10pm