I’ve always loved the white art deco building that houses Foley Lane, a tapas bar on the same laneway Shady Pines is on. As much as I love Darlinghurst terraces, there’s something so sleek and elegant about this building’s curved white walls that makes it special – and so suited for a tapas bar. Thankfully (and surprisingly) the tapas here matches the architecture.
I’m surprised because most tapas in Sydney is mediocre at best. In fact, I came to Foley Lane just to check out the bar area (I saw a picture of the curved counter and bar stools, which appealed to me) and if my date hadn’t insisted on food – and if I hadn’t wanted to look cheap in front of her – I’d have stuck to wine alone.
For once in my life, however, I’m glad I wasn’t cheap on this occasion. Although my date didn’t succumb to my dubious charms, I certainly succumbed to the tapas’s (and yes, grammatically speaking, there should be an apostrophe followed by an s at the end of “tapas”, even though it may look wrong).
For starters, Foley Lane has the best chorizo I’ve ever had in Sydney. I mean, the best. Then again, that could be because it’s technically not chorizo at all but longaniza ($14), which is similar but with different spices (the waiter tells me the chef orders it from a butcher who makes it to the chef’s specific directions).
The other stand out here is the braised octopus ($9), which was unlike any octopus I’ve ever had before – the meat basically fell apart, with a texture completely unlike the rubbery tentacled creature I’m familiar with.
The yogurt-braised lamb ($12.50) was tender, although it missed the powerful punch of flavour that the chorizo and octopus had, and I liked the cabbage and fresh mint salad ($7), although my date thought it was so so. Then again, she thought the same of me.
A cocktail list wasn’t available when I was here – although I’m told it’s in development – but when it comes to Spanish bars I’d rather to stick to wine anyway – and the bottle of 2007 Coto de Hayas Campo de Borja Crianza ($46) was great – made with grenache and tempranillo grapes, this is a rich ruby red wine that tastes suitably berry like.
There are two other things I like about this bar: the 60s pop music, which goes perfectly with the architecture, and the knowledgeable waiter who was able to describe each meal and the wines in detail.
In short, this has definitely become one of my favourite tapas bars in Sydney – and if you go, you have to order the octopus.
Foley Lane, 371-373 Bourke Street, Darlinghurst. Open Tuesday to Sunday. See the Foley lane website
Now it’s your turn – how do you rate Foley Lane?