I was recently invited to visit the Terrace Bar, located at level 3 of the Sheraton Hotel, Melbourne. As I entered the rooftop bar on a lovely Friday evening, I was welcomed warmly by Carlton. Carlton explained to me that the bar takes pride in providing a private yet stylish refuge to patrons while offering tasty morsels of food and drinks. He elaborated that the menu has changed recently. The happy hour runs from 5pm to 6pm from Tuesday to Saturday and patrons can enjoy 2 for 1 drinks. Dj music and cosy surrounds are the other drawcards of the bar. Clayton stated that the bar food was vegetarian and vegan-friendly and patrons could inform the chefs about food preferences and dietary requirements. He also explained that Friday is BBQ Friday from 5pm to 8pm.
I was seated at a reserved table and handed the menu which had a long list of wines, cocktails and liqueurs as well as a concise tapas and snack menu. The BBQ grill menu listed chicken, fish and prawn tacos priced from $6.50 to $7.50 and grilled chicken, lamb, pork belly and mushroom skewers priced from $5 to $8. The tapas menu incorporated the likes of hot chips, truffle terrine, marinated olives priced from $8. The substantial tapas menu included a chicken burger, beef burger, salad and other items priced from $24. The cocktails were priced from $15 to $20 and included all-time favourites like Margarita and Mojito as well as Negroni, Moscow Mule and so forth. Plump oysters were available at $4 each and came with lemon wedges and white wine sauce.
I placed my first drink order and took in the ambience which was upbeat yet cosy. Comfy chairs and couches dotted the sitting area and potted olive plants added to the charm. Gas heaters made sure the bar was equipped for Melbourne's eccentricity and could cope with 4 seasons in one day. Despite being situated in a prime location the bar was secluded from the hustle and bustle of Melbourne CBD. The DJ played music without being too loud while patrons engaged in animated conversations over drinks and finger food. The staff were attentive and kept a keen eye on patrons making sure that tables were cleared promptly.
My first drink of the evening was Strawberry & Basil Moscow Mule which arrived with a flourish. The drink was beautifully presented with basil leaves and a strawberry on top. I found the chilled drink was quite light on the palate and could do with some more flavours. Yet it was a good start to the evening.
I opted for some tacos for the evening. The chicken taco included grilled and juicy chicken presented with crushed avocado, grilled corn, coriander leaves, fresh tomato drizzled with paprika oil and wrapped in a soft tortilla. My tongue experienced different layers of flavours as it made its way through the tender chicken to the sweet corn to the delightful avocado complete with the mildly spicy paprika oil. A creative take on a chicken taco, this taco was both delectable and pleasing.
The affable chef, Khing, eagerly showed me the fresh ingredients he uses to create tasty dishes at the grill. He expounded that all the sauces are house-made and went into delightful details of how he made the paprika oil which elevated the taste of the chicken taco and how he could grill fish, prawn, chicken, pork belly, lamb at the behest of customers and how he made his own pickles. His enthusiasm for food was palpable and stirred my hunger. I requested a prawn taco and a fish taco.
Khing and the other chef at the grill station (Image by Joy)
The tacos arrived in due course. The prawn taco included succulent grilled prawns sandwiched between red cabbage slaw, chorizo, coriander leaves and aioli and wrapped in a soft tortilla. The freshness of the plump prawns earned the taco extra brownie points. It was in one word yummy.
The fish taco was a palate-teaser and a palate-pleaser. The fresh and tender rockling fish flesh was encased in a soft tortilla with baked kale, coriander leaves, red cabbage slaw, kimchi mayo and basil. My taste buds rejoiced at the exquisite flavours and the taco disappeared within a very short span of time. I craved another one but was too full after 3 delicious tacos.
Next, I tried the Old-fashioned cocktail. This was made with Woodford Reserve (bourbon whisky), Angostura bitters and sugar syrup. Woodford Reserve is a brand of premium bourbon whiskey produced in Woodford County, Kentucky, by the Brown-Forman Corporation. This cocktail was highly potent and would be a hit with whisky lovers. I drank it slowly reflecting on my surrounds and revelling in the breeze blowing from the direction of the nearby Treasury gardens.
I concluded the evening with a Mojito. This cocktail was definitely the highlight of the evening with its refreshing and inspiring flavours. The lovely presentation complete with fresh mint leaves oozing beautiful aroma imbued the cocktail-lover in me to savour the drink regally. Some places overdo the lime and make the mojito sour. But Terrace Bar's mojito was well-rounded and was certainly a winner. I made sure I expressed my compliments to the friendly bartender Aaron, who made my cocktails during the evening while sharing nuggets of information about the bar.
Whether you wish to hang out with family or friends or just want to catch up with workmates, the Terrace Bar offers a stylish setting for enjoying fine wine and savouring flavoursome food while gazing at Melbourne's impressive skyline. And as the cherry on top, Parliament railway station is located only stone's throw away ,so you can get home safe after a debauchery of food and drinks.
Terrace Bar awaits you at 27 Little Collins Street, Melbourne CBD. See you there!