The Grain Bar, Four Seasons Hotel

I had been lucky enough to score some last minute tickets to a gig at the Opera House.

Where to eat nearby with good food and fast service?

Why not try The Grain, a new bar at the Four Seasons Hotel?

At first, we mistakenly started at The Woods. The menu at the bar area was restricted to the starters menu of the main restaurant. I was surprised that bread and olive oil was not included in this list. The menu includes what wood is being used in the wood fired oven.

So we were about to leave – when we spotted The Grain, tucked away to the right of the main hotel entrance off George Street.

I saw a striking looking dish as we walked through the bar, initially I thought the dish were sticks of tempura endamame. Then, perusing the menu, I saw Old Mans Saltbush ($17). I vaguely remember reading about this in a good living: this is a arid-climate hardy bush that grows in a saline soil, and helps reduce the salinity of the water table.

So of course I ordered it.

The Grain Bar, Four Season Hotel

This is really a dish you have to share with a large party. Each leaf is crisped up by the tempura batter. At first it is delicious. But then it starts to get a bit tiresome as the flavour is the same crispy saltiness all the time, even with the rich aioli to the side. Maybe it should have been served with an array of dipping sauces: a sharp vinegary salsa, a hot sambal, as well as the garlicky aioli.

There was a nice range of cocktails. Next to each one there was a small icon showing the type of glass it is served in. Handy! At first I was taken by the pisco and elderflower cocktail. Then I saw the Clover Club – and it sounded like an alcoholic raspberry lemonade. Mmm… I love raspberry lemonade.

Service was a bit patchy. We had to ask several times the whereabouts of our Grain Lager, eventually it did turn up, and was “okay”. On the other hand, you don’t *have* to go up to the bar and order; you can get table service.

I thought that I should get something else a bit more filling, so I ordered the Kingfish ceviche. I was a little disappointed that the bar staff didn’t tell me when I ordered that the kingfish was out, and was being substituted with tuna. This is what it looked like:

The Grain Bar, Four Season Hotel

In any case, the tuna substitute still proved to be delicious with a nice and light dressing, and the deepfried pitta bread a nice counterpart. I’m glad I got it as a different texture and taste to the old man salt bush.

Let’s go again! there are many more cocktails calling my name.

The Grain Bar
Street: 199 George Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Phone: +61-2-9250-3118

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