Justin Hemmes update of the Ivy complex has proven a raging success as level 1; formerly known as the Ivy bar has opened its roof to allow daylight in as the Palings Kitchen and Bar! Head down the alley alongside the Peter Alexander store on George Street and you will be in the treasure-trove of the Ivy complex. Up the stairs, on the first level is today's stop - the former Ivy Bar. Gone are the dark velvet lounges and recliners. In are tiki decorations and a mixture of stool and table dining with a sunroof that opens/closes according to the seasons. Gone is Mad Cow – the former steak restaurant replaced with a lighter menu from the kitchen in addition to Sunne'sThai Canteen nestled against the walls as you reach the top of the entry stairs.
Palings is a refreshing addition to the Ivy complex offering a light and spacious area with modest prices accompanying a laid-back menu without having to lounge around the rooftop pool to get it; ideal as winter sets in.
When we dined on a Friday lunch the area was full barely a table in sight as the corporate crowd indulged. Without a reservation we had resigned ourselves to standing near the bar or a ledge however within minutes a helpful member of staff had spotted us lingering and scouted out a bar table and four stools for us; amazing service in itself due to the volume of patrons. We sampled the satay chicken skewers ($14 for 4) off the Thai canteen menu along with the arancini balls ($12). Click here for the full menu's.
The balls were lovely nice and succulent whilst the chicken had a delightful sauce; perhaps a little on the dry side but not unforgivably so. The menu also features multiple sandwich, grill and salad offerings so is perfect for the health-conscious who so often struggle to find appropriate dining options at bars. My friends sampled the ciders on offer whilst I had a gin and tonic. For a venue of this calibre you expect prices to match however the Ivy complex is showcasing its ability to mix pricing points throughout the individual establishments thus ensuring a venue to fit all patrons financial needs. Happy hour offering $5 drinks every evening between 5 & 7.30pm (inclusive of Friday evenings) definitely suits our requirements; we think we'll be shifting the post-work drinks to Palings and cling to the summer-inspired décor when we need a mental (and alcoholic) boost as winter slowly rolls in.