When I'm walking through my supermarket refrigeration section, I can feel pretty cool. When I entered Bar H in Surry Hills the other night, I felt pretty cool too, but not because they had the air conditioning on high. No, this is definitely a place to chill in. The music is very cool with some obscure Reggae playing when we arrive. The décor is very cool. It's very black; floor to ceiling, including all your dining furniture. The staff are wearing, you guessed it, black. There is an impressive floor to ceiling wine rack containing an extensive collection of wine bottles. Even the bottles of white looked black. Scattered around are coffee table type books by some of Sydney's leading chefs like Sean Moran and Peter Gilmore.
We arrive early (6.00pm) and sit at one of the large open windows overlooking the passing people traffic. It's happy hour and the house wines and beer on tap are offered to us. After some inhaling of the fine wine fumes and a few sips, we feel truly chilled and ready to order from the smallish, but interesting menu.
Once we start, the orders seem to be come impressively quickly with the very attentive staff explaining each dish as it arrives. First up are the wontons, one steamed, the other crispy fried. As we will come to expect here, the entrée/tapas like dishes are stylishly and beautifully served. I can see the chef come artist creating it and then wiping a tear away as their all too fleeting creation is carted off to be consumed.
Four oysters are next up. There are two from the Forster area and the other two hailing from Cape Cod. NSW not USA. Apart from the size difference, I can't split them. They both taste like they've just been plucked and shucked a few minutes ago.
The main dish we're trying this evening is the Mussels in a Shizuan Sauce with Eggplant and Warrigal Greens. As usual, it looks great and the sweet and spicy sauce is very moreish, the mussels are plentiful, large and tender and the eggplant and warrigal greens delicious, so we don't waste a drop of it.
Mussels in a Shizuan Sauce with Eggplant and Warrigal Greens
Despite the class of all the dishes we tried tonight the surprise standout of the evening ends up being the in-house Cucumber and Pimms Sorbet. Cucumber sorbet? Who'd have thought, but its cool, fresh, concentrated cucumber flavour has to be tasted to be believed.
Not far behind is the amazing sight of the Tapioca, Pineapple and Licorice Sorbet. Being a licorice tragic, it's a dessert I couldn't resist and it didn't disappoint me. My companion, although not a licorice tragic, found it an amazing blend of flavours and herself a licorice convert.