Imbibe Delicious Drinks and Nice Bites at a Sophisticated Lounge with Dazzling Views at Hacienda in Sydney
Perched high above Circular Quay watching the ferries depart out onto the Sydney harbor and where cruise ships drop anchor, I enjoyed a light lunch at Hacienda Sydney at the Pullman Quay Grand Sydney Harbour.
The bar was within walking distance along the promenade from the Sydney Opera House. Signage in Sydney isn’t as accurate or visible as American travelers would like, it’s subtler and slightly off, but eventually, I found my way and you will too. The upscale bar is perched above the Circular Quay East in the Sydney Harbor. I browsed the shops while walking toward the Moore Steps that brought me directly to the hotel across from the Botanical Gardens. The Moore Steps, are a stone staircase from the mid-1800s marked with lions’ heads carved into the stone surrounded by cafes, restaurants, and shops near the Circular Quay East. The hotel is to the right at the top of the steps.
The Cuban-inspired restaurant located on the first level of the hotel around the corner from the lobby is open, inviting, and playful with tall wood mold ceilings decorated with vines of ivy. The open deck and wide glass balcony allow for a panoramic view to take in the Sydney Harbor Bridge and the activity of the ferries and cruise ships on the water. If you sit in the lounge chairs closest to the glass railing you will even be able to fit in a slight view of the opera house into your frame of vision as you sip on your Havana-inspired cocktail or glass wine from a selection of Australian or Latin vineyards.
The open-air deck and glass balcony also allows for natural light from the sun and the rays that bounce off the sparkling harbor water and for the breeze to flow throughout the bar.
I sat at a cocktail table that was set back from the main panel of glass railing against the water, but in the corner where the open windows met, I still had a very good view. I admired the dance on the water as the ferries shuttled in and out from the dock and relaxed within the calming atmosphere provided by the interior décor of the lounge with its muted pastel leather chairs and mahogany furniture that was reminiscent of a Cuban plantation. The moment was only accented by Australia’s balmy summertime weather.
I reviewed my options on the Latin-themed bar menu highlighting dishes inspired by Cuba, Miami, and Portugal and the wine and beer lists. I selected the charred octopus with smoky eggplant croutons and herbs. The Perry’s Hill Sauvignon Blanc from the Adelaide Hills was suggested to be paired with the dish, but the bar was out of the wine. Instead, I ordered a glass of Bodega Catena Zapata Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina. Vintages weren’t listed with the wines.
The Malbec wasn’t overbearing with the octopus, which was grilled and seasoned perfectly. It was the perfect amount of food for a relaxing late afternoon lunch following my tour of the Sydney Opera House.
THE DIRTY DISH
Hacienda Sydney, 61 Macquarie St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia. +61-2-9256-4083. email@example.com. haciendasydney.com.au.
TYPE OF RESTAURANT: Upscale Lounge, Hotel Lounge
RATING: 3 = Aqua
(0 inedible – 5 simply scrumptious)
AMBIANCE: A sophisticated luxurious lounge that is designed for leisurely socializing.
SCENE: Relaxing in the afternoon, but due to it’s location, I could foresee it being a popular spot for after work drinks and to meet friends turning it into a busy glamorous affair. The location is ideal with a really good view of the Sydney Harbor, the iconic Sydney Harbor Bridge, and Circular Quay.
SERVICE: The service didn’t match the lounge’s aspirations. The bar was out of the suggested wine and didn’t revise the menu to reflect the change. The waiter didn’t catch when I changed my order from beer to wine arriving at my table with both. Despite it not being busy, service was slow.
NOISE LEVEL: Quite in the afternoon but could become busy in the evening.
RECOMMENDED DISHES: If you like spicy food, there are many enticing options on the menu. If spicy isn’t on your flavor palette, there are a couple of options that do have as much heat.
SIP: The Bodega Catena Zapata Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina was well rounded, with enough body for complexity, but light enough to pair with the octopus or fish.
CHECK, PLEASE: $$ = $20 – $40
(price of dinner/lunch/breakfast/brunch for an individual meal not including tip)
THE EAT: The food was good and the right portion size if a small good meal is what you are seeking.
WORTH THE NIGHT OUT?: This was delicious!