Ooh! Harbour Bridge views, new cocktails and Central American flair arrives at Hyde Hacienda

Hello luvva! (and a cruise ship to boot!)

There are some things we don’t want to change in an ever fast paced world. The city is alight with fluro from all the building works, new spots are opening and yet the attraction of simple pleasures: great food, fabulous cocktails and somewhere to go with intoxicating views of the Harbour are constant. So who does all three well?

Hyde Hacienda is a hidden gem. It is inside the Pullman Hotel, you have to enter lifts, or walk up stairs from the Cicular Quay side and know where you are going. It’s a beautiful by day, but we visited at night. The city is sparkling around us thanks to floor to ceiling windows. There is a constant flow of people taking photos, particularly nearing the end of the restaurant (with the best views of the Harbour Bridge) which says it all.

It’s so difficult to choose, maybe order them all?

We are here to check out the winter menu of cocktails and an all American food line up spanning north, south and central regions (all areas this writer has spent close to seven months in – Yes! We love you Argentina!).

Hyde is buzzing, there isn’t a spare sofa or chair in sight with groups of friends and work colleagues winding down for the evening. We order a Main Squeeze which is a refreshing mix of Mezcal, solerno, lime, blood orange syrup, egg white. It’s zesty, smoky and smooth. Rose Above It All has a sweeter palate thanks to grapefruit & rose vodka, crème de violette, chambord, lime juice, sugar syrup with the addition of egg white creating a lovely creamy foam.

Salmon Ceviche

Anyone who loves traditional, real thai prawn crackers (not the awful oily Chinese ones) will be in for a treat… what are these sails of super crunchy, thick flavoursome crackers? Cassava chips! They are paired with a salmon ceviche of avocado and lime topped with corriander leaves. Scoop, drop and savour.

Octopus (on our visit only one skewer per portion) and those yummy arancini balls

The skewer section is a riot of fun in an octopus v pork way. Two skewers of Byron Bay Berkshire pork on a bed of green herb sauce. They are slightly charred and tender. This is challenged by a single skewer of soft, smoky Clarence River octopus which is all the better when we dip into a capsicum salsa which has a chilli kick. Don’t miss the pecorino arancini either.

Elotes, croquette and pork skewers

Spend any time in Mexico and the streets are filled with vendors cooking over charcoal. Elotes is national favourite. Put simply it is corn on the cob charred on the grill, then slathered in a spicy and creamy chili, garlic and Cotija cheese sauce. Here it is more refined, with Manchego. In fact we loved it so much we ordered it twice, the second version being slightly inferior due to lack of the chilli sour cream and lime sauce. The croquette is not as you know it. In fact it looks like a fishcake, flattened, round, suntanned and topped with a circle of whipped sour cream, salmon roe and decadent Yarra Valley caviar.

The hero of the night is a foodie revalation – a twist on an honest to goodness amazing burger! Snuck between two soft buns are layers of slow cooked, rich, succulent, flavoursome porkbelly. The crispy crackling pops and creates a layer of delight. A bite goes like this: first the delicate milk bun, then you hit the herb aioli, merged into melted swiss cheese, the pork belly wow! crackling omg wow! then a touch of freshness from rocket and sundried tomato adds sweetness and acidity. If this was our first dish we mostly likely would have ordered 3 – one each and then another to share!

Cocktails (tick), food (tick), service great (but we were on a busy night so order cocktails ahead of time), and views which make you swoon. It’s got all the ingredients for a good night..and it delivered.

Hyde Hacienda
Level 3, 61 Macquarie St, Sydney 2000 | Pullman Quay Grand Sydney Harbour Hotel
Hours: Monday – Thursday 3pm – late | Friday 12pm – late | Saturday: 11am – late  | Sunday: 11am – 9pm

About the author

Karen’s corporate job back in the UK had included entertaining clients in some of the best restaurants. This ultimately sparked a curiosity 'Just how do they do that?' (she confesses she was brought up on meat and vegetables, so this was all very exciting). Currently a Mr & Mrs Smith 'Tastemaker', she’s flashpacked around the world, learning about wine, experiencing different cultures and cuisines and had a two- year love affair with it all. Originally from England, she finally settled in Australia and continues to be besotted by food, wine and travel preferring to focus on the luxury end of town (thread count does matter).


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