East-meets-West at The Smoking Panda

Bars, Drink, Sydney / 19 November 2014

Tucked away above Hotel Coronation on Park Street, it took us a couple of minutes of pacing before discovering discreet new late-night haunt; The Smoking Panda.
At street level, a black sign featuring a panda monograph is the only indication of what unfolds above. Upon entry, howling souls and blues tunes play in the background. The mix of pink backlighting, Chinese lanterns and vintage neon signs only add to the venue’s intimacy and mysteriousness.  A large illuminated jelly fish tank, doubling as a room divider, makes it clear that The Smoking Panda, has just the right measure of kitsch. We’re intrigued.
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The mixture of old & new, and East & West, makes for a unique combination.
In keeping with the transnational theme, mixologist Grant Collins offers an extensive range of American style cocktails with a touch of retro China. The tropical “Blue Lagoon ($17) is a refreshing summer combo of gin, lychee and lemonade foam. The “Dunkin Doughnut Martini” ($17) pays homage to the bar’s LA roots. It’s mix of bourbon, vanilla liqueur and fresh vanilla beans is served with an actual bite sized piece of doughnut!
With an extensive liquor range topped by 65 Bourbons, 50 Rums and a cocktail list to give you a pre-emptive hangover, you’ll happily leave slightly tipsy.
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“Most importantly, it’s all about fun. I like to have fun!” enthused chef Danny Russo about his new project. The emphasis on fun is paramount to the entire vision of this new CBD cocktail bar. The bar menu draws from your classic suburban Chinese takeaway joint, so don’t rock up expecting an intimate dining setting. It’s all about sharing and getting your hands greasy!
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There are more than ten dim-sum offerings alongside various re-imagined bar favourites. We loved the Steamed Soft Shell Crab Sliders ($7) served with asian style slaw. The Salt and Pepper Squid ($14) was another favourite.
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Drop into The Smoking Panda for pre-dinner cocktail, or for an escape from the late night city crowds. Or drop in for a late night chow to accompany your night cap – food is served till the wee hours.

The Smoking Panda
5-7 Park Street Sydney NSW 2000
9266 3100
www.thesmokingpanda.com.au

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