Paul Hogan gained us international fandom with his Australian Tourism commercial “Come say G’day…I’ll slip an extra shrimp on the barbie for you”. So, why is it that a nation defined by its tong snapping, steak flipping, Weber loving culture, hasnt progressed from BBQ to smoking? The Native Americans discovered it, Southern Texans nailed it. Surely Beer & Barbie should be part of our national anthem?
Let’s face it, the Rocks is normally avoided at all costs by foodies, however, The Tap House is an exception given its dedication to smoke and brew. New rules around outdoor dining have transformed a normally boring dining strip into London Soho like experience diners reclaim the streets.
It’s a busy Friday night, and a DJ is spinning tunes in Argyle Street as beer loving boys ‘n girls are enjoying the warm evening air. Walking into this space is like going back in time to the days of a woolshed worker drinking inside a federation cottage. The myriad of intimate rooms have been turned into dining and drinking spaces, each with their own quirks.
We settle on a high table and look out onto an arched window framed by the phrase, “We think water is best drunk with Barely and Hops”. Following this advice our tasting paddle commences with Brightside Lager with a lovely fruity aroma, a topical ale Hoppy Days XPA, Rockstar Pale Ale then finishing with Pale and IPA ‘with Friends’. All beers are made with all- Australian and seasonally harvested ingredients. Complex, fun and brewed with care.
We start off with a flatbread nicely charred with harissa eggplant, zig-zags of yoghurt, dusted with pine nuts, parsley. Its light and tasty. Our server told us that their favourite thing on the menu was the smoked chicken wings. Whoah! Hello luvva! These glossy, golden orbs of chicken are the best bar snacks we have eaten in 2020. The smoking reduces the water content but retains the flavour, each wing is full of juicy, luscious meat. If this is our last morsel we eat of the year. We are happy. Yup. They are that good. Warning: Please don’t share with a friends.
Our selection from the ‘house smoked meats’ is a Jack’s Creek Grain-Fed Black Angus Beef Brisket MBS-3 and a half portion of chicken. It’s free range, rubbed with glorious amounts of smoked paprika (you can never have enough right?) it arrives looking like the poultry sun kissed super model. If you expect your brisket to be pulled into a pile of protein think again, this is thinly sliced, the smoking is delicate and really benefits the chicken as it doesn’t quite have the power to really take over and ‘claim’ red meat.
Both dishes are fantastic paired with two salads – a fiery smoked sweetcorn and chicken salad is tossed with zuchinni and macadamia bush dukkah. It’s got fire power in all the right ways. The other is a zingy apple cabbage slaw all the better for refreshing mint and poppy seeds.
We round off the meal by going back to the drinks list! Espresso Martini on tap will keep you going and their admirable all Australian wine list show cases gems like the complex 2019, Schwarz wine Co blend of GSM from Barossa Valley.
Thanks to the collaboration between award winning Rocks based Endeavour Brewing Company and Applejack Hospitality – We are reclaiming our national pride. Say G’day to the perfect combo of beer, BBQ, smoked goods and wonderful Australian vineyards. It’s positively un- Australian not to.
The Tap Rooms
39-43 Argyle Street, The Rocks, NSW, 2000, Sydney
Hours: Wednesday & Thursday: 12pm – 10pm, Friday & Saturday: 12pm – midnight Sunday: 12pm – 10pm.