Darlings Bistro, Balmain Review

Bars, Drink, Restaurants / 30 July 2019

Start with coffee and eggs and finish with fine wines and cheeseboards at the new all-day bar and restaurant, Darlings Bistro.

What’s better than a decadent Australian cheese board with expertly paired wines? Not much, but throw in great service and a cosy ambience and you are onto a winner. Good, honest-to-goodness crowd pleaser food with attention to detail and thoughtful flavour combinations is exactly what you can expect at Darlings Bistro. Situated in the heart of Rozelle on Darling Street’s bustling café and restaurant strip, this charming bar and restaurant is made complete with cosy sofas, a fireplace, dining room and bar.

Open from 8am daily, Darlings Bistro has a few different guises throughout the day. In the early hours, you can pop in for an expertly brewed coffee teamed with one of their many brunch options. Come mid afternoon though, gone are the lattes and omelettes and in are the cheese boards and fine tipples.

Start with a cocktail from their extensive list, complete with a dedicated spritz menu with highlights including the Rosemary Clooney. Named after George Clooney’s jazz singing aunt, think olive and rosemary infused white Vermouth, Orgeat syrup, tonic water and sparkling wine ($15).

If cocktails aren’t your thing, you have nothing to fear with a choice of over 40 carefully curated wines by the glass (starting from $10) and 200 by the bottle (from $45).

In the kitchen, you’ll find Nick Talem (ex-Attica (Melb), Rockpool (Syd) & noma (Copenhagen) running the pass. Bringing a wealth of experience and European techniques to the kitchen, Talem was quick to grasp the vision owners Sam Moran and Hal Atlan had for Darlings Bistro. As Balmain locals, they often gathered around the table for cheese and wine nights, lamenting over the lack of venues nearby that offered the same. The solution was simple – to create one themselves.

On the dinner menu, whet your appetite with decadent and beautifully presented scallops served with preserved radish and salted chilli ($6 each) or some rich and creamy potato croquettes ($14) with white truffle oil finished with 24 month gruyére cheese. Not to be missed is also the Alaskan King crab toast served on a buttery brioche roll, complimenting the citrusy seafood perfectly.

If you’re looking for something a bit more satiating, they have you covered with the crispy baby octopus salad ($26) or BBQ cape grim wagyu skirt ($29) served with lemon and truffle butter. To finish, it’s hard to pass up their cherished cheese and charcuterie boards, featuring only the best and freshest cheeses with gourmet crackers and sweet honeycomb (from $28).

If you are set on a sweet treat to end the evening, you can always go with the chocolate parfait with berries and rose or peaches and cream (both $15).

Next time you are looking for the perfect wine and cheese catch up spot with friends, Darlings Balmain is the spot to dish this up and more.