Friday night in Surry Hills. We got a parking spot right at the front of Bar H without even having to try - it was a miracle on Campbell Street. "If parking was this easy there is no way we are getting a table".
As we approach the entrance we can see several of the bar seats already taken and the tables quite full. The very friendly host tells us a couple by the window looks like they are finishing up - we can stay by the bar and should have a table in about 10. Jackpot!
We wait by the bar and admire the oh-so stylish interior. Bar H is a relatively new addition to the Surry Hills casual dining scene. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner - but our visit here was for the sole purpose of kicking back and enjoying a friday night vino. The wall behind the bar doubled up as a design feature - it was a floor to ceiling wine rack (pictured above), and Demos promises me he'll build me one of those one day along with our shared walk in closet.
Bar H boasts an excellent wine selection - offering several local and imported wines. Perusing through the wine list we spot one of our favorites - an Austrian Blaufrankish wine, as well as several Italian and Spanish varieties also. From memory only 3 or 4 red wines are available by the glass but there was a wide array of whites, sparkling and rose bottles to choose from. We didn't notice a cocktail section but that was okay - we just had vino on the mind. We decided to try a bottle of 2009 Alamos Malbec, an Argentinian wine from the Mendoza region. This was one bold bottle of wine - literally the kind that would make you forget about the deadlines you missed during the week and how late you will have to work back come monday. It was full flavoured, spicy and left a very strong hard hitting aftertaste. I don't think that is a proper way to describe a red wine but in one word - it was fantastic.
Blurry after the first few Vino's - the H mantra "Good food depends almost entirely on good ingredients"
Now a vino session isn't complete without some snacks. Having a look through the very exciting menu - we were actually tempted to just have a full course dinner. I wanted to try the evenings special which was Pan-fried Squab, cooked medium rare and served at room temperature with a salad. The menu was designed for sharing and included Sydney Oysters, caviar, charcuterie, salads and large main dishes such as a Mulloway fillets served with pancetta - which our neighbouring diners ordered and looked delicious.
Our snacks arrived - Grilled sourdough with lardo and garlic and a bowl of green olives marinated in chilli oil and spices. The sourdough was melt in your mouth delicious. I ask our host what exactly lardo was and she explained that it was thinly sliced pork lard. Yes, lard. It was delicious. The olives oozed chilli oil juicy-ness and the star anise flavour lingered in your mouth subtly - we couldn't stop picking on them.
The chef's selection of meat cuts arrived next and we were presented with a plate of everything we love. Thin slices of Jamon, Prosciutto, Saucisson and Bresciola, along with pieces of small pickled gherkins, candied fruit, pickled carrot shavings and a big slice of bread - no lardo on this slice though.
We worked on the slices in a counter clockwise manner sampling and savouring each variety. The serving was very generous and good to share. Even though I would've loved to devour it all on my lonesome, there was enough to go around. The saltiness of the meats really complimented the wine and we found ourselves lost in a moment of silence just eating and drinking. One of life's simple pleasures. The candied fruit were a nice touch when combined with the meats, serving to break up the saltiness and change up the flavour. Having never really ever tried combining fruit with meat, especially fruit of the candied variety there was a fleeting moment of apprehension but it worked well in the end.
Even if you aren't looking for somewhere to come and have a massive meal, Bar H is a nice place to come to and have a drink or two and catch up. The layout is really comfortable and the atmosphere is great. Dark colours, dim lighting and good company will make for a fantastic night out over a nice glass of wine of which there are many to chose from.
We weren't seeing stars by the end of the night - just playng around with a new lensbaby toy.
Open Monday to Saturday for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner