A touch of LA in Sydney at Darlo Country Club.
The LA Country Club: an exclusive, members-only social club where rich businessmen enjoy a few whiskeys after a round golf while their wives drink clear liquor in the sunshine. The kind of place you might see the cast of The OC or any sun-kissed socialite just coming in from the shore. It’s apparently where anyone who’s anyone goes to have a good time.Although inspired by these clubs, Darlo Country Club (formerly Victoria Room) doesn’t repeat the notion of exclusivity.
All are welcome at this fine establishment. As Manager George Armstrong puts it, Darlo Country Club is “a place where you can come in and chill,” with cocktails designed to please everyone. George has a background in five stars hotels, and wanted to bring his knowledge, experience and love of fine dining to a more casual environment.
This new “country club” is a collaboration between Lobo Plantation masterminds Eddie Levy and Mikey Hwang and The Island’s Julian Tobias and Adam Abrams. On a Friday night the spacious room, is filled with glamourous looking Sydney-siders, chatting away in comfy arm chairs, luxurious lounge areas and quiet tables-for two. Cafe del Mar tunes are pumping in the background.
Darlo Country Club writes a story with each of their cocktails. Take the Eton Fizz, a classic sounding cocktail with a surprising twist and beautiful history. Creator Julius Yates, previously from Lobo has been working on it’s recipe for years, an homage to his nan back in Britain and her famous Eton Mess dessert. The Eton Fizz encapsulates all the flavours of this classic dessert, with strawberry shrub, thyme, egg white blended beautifully with Tanqueray gin. Boy, would his nan be proud.
Meanwhile, The Gentlemen’s Agreement is certainly an agreeing mix of bitter and sweet, blending Bulleit Rye with Solerno blood orange and more.
Their take on an espresso martini, The LA Noire is as dark and sensual as the streets of a 1940s noir thriller. With a hint of dry spice chai to give it a kick, this is an unforgettable version of a classic.
If you are looking for a bit of a surprise, their cocktail No Doubt contains an ingredient, that you don’t often see in cocktails…banana. Mixed with rum and vanilla, this cocktail proves that banana has a place in the cocktail ingredient lists.
Your inner child’s dream comes to life in the Bubblerita, or as they call it “Willy Wonka’s favourite drink.” This sugary concoction is grape bubblegum flavoured tequila with blue curacao, lime and grape citrus foam. It’s a theatrical drink, lit on fire with an orange blossom flame. Guaranteed to give you an old-school sugar rush, this drink is a whole lot of fun from start to finish.
The food here is mostly designed for sharing, we suggest ordering four to five dishes between two people. The paella arancini with saffron rouille is a modern take on the traditional, Italian appetizer. A rich, creamy taste is reminiscent of deep-fried spaghetti bolognaise that marries the saffron rouille perfectly, better than any typical pub aioli that’s for sure. The confit duck legs and hoison sauce spring rolls are giant and delicious. Who could turn down confit duck wrapped in pastry?
But it’s their lobster mac n cheese that is already famous and it’s easy to see why. It doesn’t take the prettiest photo but the taste is exceptional, drowning the luxury item in cheese and sauce. It’s a sophisticated, creamier version of your childhood staple.
Don’t let the name fool you. There’s no preppy polo attire or tennis whites at Darlo Country Club but you will feel rather exclusive at this new bar. Make time to check it out old sport.
Darlo Country Club
235 Victoria St Darlinghurst, 0449 998 005
Closed Sunday – Tues, Wed: 5pm – 12am, Thurs- Sat: 5pm – 2am