The Bayswater Brasserie has now closed down. However, from now until September 26 it’ll be run by WLG, a pop-up restaurant and bar.
Whatever happened to the aperitif? Even though it’s customary in Europe to have a pre-dinner drink to stimulate the appetite (there are even bars in Italy that pride themselves on their own custom recipes), Australia has never taken to this concept.
This is the conversation my Kiwi friend and I currently have as we sip our aperitifs in Bayswater Brasserie’s back cocktail bar. Admittedly our view of the aperitif is different – we believe it stimulates our appetite for even more alcohol – but then, we haven’t quite evolved to European standards.
We do, however, enjoy our drinks. My friend has the Lillet Kir (pinot blanc, Lillet Blanc
and crème de cassis), which has a sharp taste, rich aroma and dark blackcurrant flavour. It’s not exactly a drink that you quaff in large quantities but it does make my Kiwi friend feel more European.
To continue the continental connection I’m having the Italiano Sour. Made with Campari, Strega (a yellow liqueur that gets its colour from safron), grapefruit and lemon juice as well as passionfruit sugar, this isn’t as sharp as the Lillet Kir. Instead it’s light and easy to drink, although as a result it arguably lacks bite. It’s also just a little too frothy for my liking but now I’m just getting pedantic.
In some ways this place feels like a secret bar since from the street you can only see the restaurant and not the drinking den tucked away in a back room. The atmosphere is hip and yet laid back, and there are often DJs spinning music that’s never too loud for you to conduct conversation. The cocktails are also known to be good – in the past I’ve had great martinis here and for a long time I was addicted to their whiskey sour.
We finish our drinks and decide to move on to another bar, but if we were more civilised we could do far worse than eat in the restaurant, which serves French cuisine with Italian and even Asian influences. I still remember the last time I went there and gorged myself on a great risotto with giant prawns.
(Incidentally, if you do want to know more about aperitifs then a good site to check out can be found here: Guide to Italian aperitivos)
Now it’s your turn – how do you rate this bar?
Bayswater Brasserie, 32 Bayswater Road, Kings Cross. Phone 9357 2177 or see the Bayswater Brasserie website