The White Hart
Ever since I saw a photo of the Breakfast Mojito, homemade mojito toothpaste + imbibe of rum + mouthwash + candied mint – deconstructed mojito with an invigorating feel, I’ve wanted to check out The White Hart in Neutral Bay! With Grant Collins looking after drinks, Danny Russo doing food, James Young: wine and design by Paul Kelly, it sounds like somewhere worth checking out. The Breakfast Mojito did not disappoint, The Boy and I found brushing our teeth, gargling blue alcoholic mouthwash, squirting a syringe of rum into another cylinder of alcohol and popping candied alcohol in our mouths. Everyone else around the bar watched on with interest.
I ordered a very proper British breakfast as well. Mine was milk with vodka in a cute little silver teapot, that you add kahlua in another silver little pot to, poured over alcoholic “coca pops.” On the side some alcoholic marmalade to spread over miniature toast. I got to pop some ipod headphones in to listen to ye old English news and read a printout of an old English newspaper. I love these deconstructed, experimental drinks. Mine ended up being fantastic value as there was numerous pours in there, I couldn’t even finish it after topping up my cups to drink from about 5 times! The drinks were made with love by Grant Collins himself and you can tell that he is passionate about his creations. Made with care and explained in detail, The White Hart bar is amazing.
Now, onto the rest of our experience. First of all, there is a no booking policy, however, we saw reservation signs on tables when we got there (extremely early as suggested by the person we rang). We were told there was a wait for a table (despite some being empty?) So we happily went to the bar and had our fantastic deconstructed cocktails. Then a member of staff told us we had a table waiting for us in the lounge. The tables in the lounge are extremely low and we wondering how we would be able to eat off it. After finally flagging down a waitress we asked for the food menu. We were given the drinks menu. We asked for the food menu again and were given the “snacks menu.” After inquiring if there was another food menu (which I knew there was) we were told yes, but only for the restaurant section. We politely asked for a table in this section (as we were there for dinner, which we told the first member of staff who greeted us at the door) and got a table immediately. We realised that wait staff were not exactly interviewed for intelligence.
Finally, we were seated in the restaurant with a food menu! It’s English pub style food (but far pricier). I ordered the fish and chips with mushy peas and tartare and the Boy chose the roast beef. My chips were slightly undercooked and mushy and I was left with a greasy feeling in my stomach. The fish was however, deep fried perfectly, but there weren’t enough mushy peas (which tasted like butter was added) to counter the deep fried chips and fish-ness. The Boy’s roast looked like that served in an RSL. Heated up roast vegetables and the wateriest gravy I’ve ever seen and where was the flavour?
The sloppy service and food contrasted so greatly to the bar that I felt as if we were in two different places. The noise level is so loud in the restaurant section that with a table between the two of you, you can’t hear your company talk. It would be terrible for a first date. You feel like the people in the bar are pretty much sitting on top of your table.
I would say go to The White Hart for the cocktails. They are amazing! But eat beforehand, I wouldn’t want you to have to experience that. On the way out, Grant waved goodbye to us, having remembered serving us earlier. Such a contrast. We decided to head to Garden Brasserie on home time seeing as it’s almost next door to The White Hart.
With one wall of real plants, bird cages hanging from the ceiling with lights in them, Garden Brasserie is a good looking place. Again, totally packed, but not as much as the The White Hart was, this strip in Neutral Bay is getting busy. We manage to snag the last bar table and settle into a glass of Chianti and Tempranillo. It’s a nice spot to finish the night, as we can hear each other talk. I’ll have to try out the food another time as I just can’t bare to eat anything else, feeling all greasy full and also full of milk from my cocktail.
On our way back to The Boy’s we pass The Pickled Possum. I’ve often wondered about this place on Military Road. Is it open? What kind of drinks do they have. What is it? We manage to look in and see that there are people in there. Yes! Finally, we can check it out. We try pushing the door in, we try pulling it. Is there a buzzer to get in? We don’t know. We can’t work out how to get in! According to Time Out, it’s a scruffy, low key Karaoke Bar. I’ve heard that you shouldn’t go in there sober (which we weren’t, so we were all ready), get expensive served drinks from an esky and to not expect to have a voice left when you leave. I think you have to bang on the door to get let in? We weren’t sure. Another time…