A piece of New York nestled in Sydney’s Double Bay. Mr G’s awaits.
Don’t give up on Mr G’s before you even start. Yes, it may be difficult to find but that’s part of the fun. This New York style bar and grill is hidden away in the Intercontinental Hotel in Double Bay and opened earlier this year. Step inside and you could easily forget you’re in Sydney. Framed pictures of American icons on the walls and toe-tapping 1950s American pop music gives you the feeling you’ve taken a quick trip to Manhattan. It’s a large space that’s been made to feel intimate with split level seating, dark brown leather booths, high bar seats and a hidden private dining room.
So where does the name Mr G’s come from? Owned by Patrick and Angela Gallagher of Gallagher Hotels, Mr G’s pays homage to Patrick’s father Brian Gallagher who is known amongst friends and family as Mr G. Along with subway timetables and other American paraphernalia lining the walls you’ll also see frames of the Gallagher family story. But this is no ma and pa suburban restaurant. Mr G’s is an elegant edition to an already fashionable Double Bay.
We take a seat in one of the booths on a quite Wednesday night. We practically have the restaurant to ourselves but we barely notice as we relax in our own space. The attentive staff are quick to bring us a cocktail list. Like any good New York bar and grill the cocktails here are a reason unto themselves to visit. A tiki inspired cocktail called Koko-Mo ($21) is made with Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum, salted pineapple caramel, fresh pineapple and coconut marshmallow foam. If you look closely you’ll notice speckles of edible gold dust sprinkled on top. Or as the bartender liked to call it “stripper dust”. A few too many Koko-Mos and you too might end up dancing on the table. The 1776 ($19) is a lighter and more refreshing mix of Lardios Mediterranea Gin, elderflower, lime, torn mint and honey.
If you’re in the mood for oysters you have options. They are fresh from the market each day and shucked to order. Choose from natural ($4.50 each), Kilpatrick ($5) or Gallagher (served with cucumber and lemongrass sorbet). They also have a dedicated section on the menu for caviar including a luxurious Karat Osetra Russian caviar available for $280 for 30g. The caviar comes with shaved organic egg, eschallots, chives, sour cream and blinis. You can also order a 200ml of Grey Goose vodka ($69) or Moet & Chandon Vintage ($210) to go with it.
A number of starters come individually portioned including the delicious king crab sliders ($9 each) made with Alaskan king crab, cucumber, celery, onion rings and marie rose sauce (seafood sauce) and the Fish tacos with ocean trout tartare, ginger, black sesame, ponzu garlic chive and wasabi fish roe ($8 each). Other starters include buttermilk hot wings with ranch sauce ($19) and a wedge salad with maple bacon ($20). Do you feel like you’re in America yet?
For mains there are classic dishes like ocean trout fillet ($35), potato gnocchi ($26) and Barossa Valley chicken breast ($34). For something different it’s exciting to see Glacier 51 Toothfish ($55) on the menu. Quite possibly the most delicious, soft, buttery fish there is.
But the dishes that come straight off the coals are what makes this place really shine. Mr G’s use a special charcoal wood fired oven to cook all of their steaks. Their high quality, hormone free meats are charred, smoked and roasted using a MIBRASA grill. Apparently there are only ten in the Southern Hemisphere. Head Chef Dave Little explains that the oven takes just under an hour to heat up and reaches temperatures of up to 400 degrees. Unlike most restaurants that need about half an hour to prepare your steak Mr G’s can have it to your table in half the time.
But there’s no need to rush your dinner, there’s plenty to try here including the 180g eye fillet from Cape Byron, NSW ($38) which comes served with potato gratin. And the beef short rib ($39) which is coated in a chilli, BBQ and miso rub before being slow braised for 12 hours. The results is a soft, succulent piece of meat that you can cut with a fork. It comes served on a bed of BBQ creamed corn which is quite sweet and not ideal for those with a more savoury palate. Pickled green tomatoes are an unusual garnish but tasty nonetheless.
The sides menu is bountiful. We try the carrots and fried brussel sprouts ($13) with a dressing of maple and black vinegar. The brussel sprouts are little hard but the carrots are soft and tasty. For something different we also order crumbed mushrooms ($14). They look great but with all the different flavours on the table they get lost in the mix.
The New York brasserie theme continues to the dessert menu with apple pie, American fudge brownie and NY baked cheesecake (all $18). The warm cherry pie with vanilla custard and ice cream catches our eye and all of a sudden that song is stuck in my head.
When it comes to wine Mr G’s has four pages filled with drops from around the globe and with varying prices. You can order anything from a $48 bottle of Australian Sparkling through to $800 Krug Vintage Champage or an Armand de Brignac Blanc for $1450. They also have Penfolds Grange 2012 ($1900) on the menu for those with deep pockets. For a more modest night out you can order a lovely bottle of white or red for $60 – $70.
The food at Mr G’s, like a lot of Double Bay’s clientele, is quite rich. But you don’t need to over indulge here. A simple glass of wine and a perfectly cooked steak would make for an excellent mid-week dinner with friends.
New York Bar & Grill
33 Cross St, Double Bay
02 8039 3180
Open Tues – Sun 12pm – late