In Short: Sugar Ray’s Bar in Sydney’s Surry Hills brings the welcoming atmosphere of your local bar together with a playfully sophisticated menu that pairs perfectly with the creations of their cocktail wizards. Tip: If you get a chance to try the chocolate panna cotta with bourbon foam, don’t think twice, order two!
There’s nothing quite like your local to make you feel part of a community. A place to while away a lazy Sunday afternoon with a cocktail in hand, a few tasty nibbles to graze on, and a comfy leather lounge to slide into as the hours drift by. Sugar Ray’s Bar in Sydney’s Surry Hills is one such oasis amidst the city’s bustle and serves up an inspired menu that’ll keep you wishing those Sunday afternoons could last forever.
Warm woods, rich leathers, and nostalgic images draw us from the street and into Sugar Ray’s welcoming space that melts the days frantic pace immediately. Greeted by our superbly knowledgeable, and immensely friendly, host Chiara, we settle for a relaxed night of great food and company.
It’s not long before Sugar Ray’s talented bartender has worked his magic and conjured up a tipple or two to start the night off with a spark.
The divine duo of drinks combines a devilishly red Rampton cocktail, made with scotch, artichoke aperitif, and orange bitters, alongside a cheeky little mocktail that fizzed with citrus and mint.
Sugar Ray’s Bar menu is an eclectic dance of influences from the US Southwest, Italy, South America, and parts in-between. Nothing showcases this masterful melding of a mouth-watering mosaic more than the barramundi tortilla. Succulent and tender barramundi, and homemade guacamole is encased in handmade squid ink tortillas with a touch of saffron peperonata and baby coriander to tie it all together. The soft tortilla gives way to the vibrant fish and fresh guac with every bite, meaning a few dozen of these could disappear without a trace!
If there’s one ingredient that has me in it’s grip of late, it’s definitely pork belly. If it’s anywhere on a menu, then it’s not long for my belly. Cube those delicious chunks of pork, mix them with pickled fennel, red cabbage, basil dressing, and aioli atop a polenta puff, and my night has been made! Coupled with the deliciously sophisticated cocktails, these delectably crunchy mouthfuls are memorable and more.
Sugar Ray’s Bar also knows everyone needs their greens. The Cleveland Greens makes getting a healthy dose delicious with charred pumpkin, baby carrots, chimichurri, Parmesan, and pecan. If only all healthy food was this good!
How to top off what’s already been a night of deliciously relaxed sophistication? The perfectly decadent chocolate panna cotta with bourbon foam, and candied pecans, of course! As foodies, we eat a lot of beautiful desserts, but every now and then one stands out, and this is one. Spooning through the bourbon foam and into the creamy silk of the chocolate panna cotta to combine the two refined flavours is a thing of beauty and balance. Each spoonful can adjust that proportion of boozy bourbon to velvety chocolate to the taster’s preference. This one is memorable for sure.
Sugar Ray’s Bar in Surry Hills has lifted the game of what Sydneysiders can expect in a food experience from their local. It brilliantly combines a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere with a menu that invites and also innovates. If you’re lucky enough to have Sugar Ray’s as your local, then there’s a comfy lounge waiting, if not, get in your car, Uber, or bus and they’ll save you a seat.
*Coco & Vine dined as guests of Sugar Ray’s. However, all opinions and photos are our own.