Sunday, September 6, 2009
Pocket Bar, Darlinghurst
Like a very incriminating receipt you excavate from your pants when doing laundry – timestamping the last time you actually gave the pair a clean – I must admit I've had this review scrunched up in my pocket for a while.
It's kinda silly and I can't quite explain it (the same way it's hard to argue your way out of a three-month movie ticket in your jeans), although it seems a sorta adequate segue into this squeezy and very excellent hang-out.
Pocket Bar in Darlinghurst lives up to all the good parts of its namesake (cosy, easy to pack out with fine things, hidden away, and endlessly useful), without any of the downfalls (like vintage lint, for example).
The space avoids the flashy, soulless designer-everything look and instead goes for a decor I'd call "share-house chic": it's full of shambolic, nicely worn-in furniture and oddball flourishes (doll's heads, random book volumes). It's highly personable and likeable in that way.
As is the menu, which slightly re-tips the balance of Sydney's lopsided cuisine selection; to counter the 10 million Thai restaurants, Pocket offers something very under-represented in this city: crepes. Crisp, warm and pressed with plenty of melted, stringy cheese inside (all savoury options come with tasty cheddar or the more softer, not-so-stringy goat's cheese, as well as parent-pleasing servings of salad).
My favourite is the Field Mushroom and Spinach ($9.50), which I could eat repeatedly, but I also like the Ratatouille with Goat's Cheese ($11.50). Other options include the Spiced Red Capsicum and Creme Fraiche ($13.50) and the Herbed Chicken and Creme Fraiche ($14.50), the latter which Will quite liked.
As a nice bookend, there are also dessert crepes, starting from Honey and Lemon ($7.50), if you feel like being polite and restrained, to the more decadent Berries, Banana and Chocolate ($12), which is, of course, what we hoed right into.
The prices are incredibly reasonable (you could, easily, get a savoury and sweet crepe for around $20 if you feel a bit pursestring-tight), although that's obviously countered by the drinks bill (I got slugged $5 for a small glass of Lemon, Lime and Bitters on my last visit).
The only other slightly Pocket-critical things I can think of are:
1) the billing system is a little weird (pay as you go – which feels a tad disruptive when you're dining at a table – or you can leave your credit card with staff to settle the bill right at the end) and 2) it can pack out really quickly and often, which isn't the bar's fault, really a sign that you should be an earlybird if you want to get fed there. (In fact, you can go really early: they do pancakes all day, from breakfast.)
Otherwise, I feel pretty happy and grateful that this place exists. This squeezy bar with its comfy sofas and ever-tasty line-up of crepes is an address you need to pocket.
Pocket Bar, 13 Burton St, Darlinghurst (corner of Burton and Crown Streets), NSW (02 9380 7002, www.pocketbar.com.au