Another day, another Spreets deal. We’d heard good things about Bar H and wanted to go there for ages but with this one coupon we were quite undecided as the value just didn’t seem to be there… sure $69 for dinner for two sounded good, but we couldn’t see how it was worth $160. In the end the traditional group email was sent out to see who was keen and next thing we knew we’d signed up for another coupon.
Spreets deal – $69.00 for dinner for two (normally $160.00)
- Crispy pork wontons with sweet chilli sauce
- Cucumber and black fungi salad
- Plus a choice of
– Deep fried silken tofu with roast cherry tomato sauce
– Calamari and fresh herb salad
- Plus a choice of
– Spatchcock with ginger and shallots
– Red braised beef short rib with black bean and chilli
- And a choice of sides
– Roasted pumpkin with cumin and chilli
– Chrysanthemum & cress salad
- Plus two glasses of your favourite wine or beer
Sitting proud on the corner of Campbell and Foster streets Bar H is another small restaurant/bar that is doing just what we need in Sydney, filling every nook and cranny with quality places to eat out in with affordable prices and great food and service. Head chef Hamish Ingham transitioned from Billy Kwong to start his own little slice of Surry Hills dining in 2010 with partner Rebecca Lines.
The Spreets deal allowed an early or a late booking, but early was ok with us and it turned out to be awesome as we arrived just in time for happy hour half price drinks. Score!
Crispy pork wontons with sweet chilli sauce.
Pork wontons roll on up and start the evening (that is after a Tiger beer or two of course) their chopstick defences kept me flailing about for a little too long. When I finally mastered the art of getting these slippery things to my mouth I found them crispy, exactly they way I love and spot on with a superb pork flavouring. Both Mr. O and I got caught up in the dipping sauce and demolished the chillies in mere seconds after the wontons were gone.
Cucumber and black fungi salad.
Simplicity is sometimes the key and for this salad it definitely unlocked exactly what everyone (well, except Em who has issues with greenery) was after. Crisp crunchy cucumber and the very textural black fungus combined with a wonderful dressing that was just right with the balance of sweet, sour, salt and spice. The cucumber was allowed to be the stand out and this made Lex a very happy camper.
Deep fried silken tofu with roast cherry tomato sauce.
While not as supremely crispy as it could have been the tofu was superb, pulling it apart revealed the velvety soft tofu inside and it tasted equally as smooth. The roasted tomatoes added a massive savoury tone to the whole dish and the pepper in the sauce just highlighted the intensity of the tomatoes even more. Maybe if there were a few more pickled veggies to break up the dish the tomato wouldn’t have dominated so much but it was still a great match to the soothing tofu.
Calamari and Fresh Herb Salad.
Although we hadn’t really read the menu thoroughly it appeared the calamari had been ‘cooked’ in the citrus dressing and not grilled as we’d read on the coupon. The calamari did not let us down, not a chewy/stringy piece in sight just fresh and tasty all the way. Normally I am mesmerised by (addicted to) the combination of mint and coriander in a salad, but I just found it to be a little too minty and without balance, although Lex and Mr. O both strenuously disagree with me on this one.
Spatchcock with ginger & shallots.
I didn’t make the decision but was happy all the same to get one of the breast pieces as it had substantially more meat than the thigh pieces that Lex & Mr. O had. I loved the rich sauce and made sure to get as much as possible to really drown my rice in it as it was a superb match to the meat. It had a great ginger flavour that permeated the spatchcock which was quite soft and very tasty. Garnishes of coriander and shallots livened it up and made for a tasty dish.
Roasted pumpkin with cumin and chilli.
Defences went up when the pumpkin came to the table as we all knew Em would need to be held at bay until we could share it all evenly among us. We all really loved the cumin and chilli combination, accenting the nutty pumpkin flavour. The pumpkin was just so soft and tender from slow roasting it just fell apart in your mouth.
Red braised beef short rib with black bean and chilli.
The last of the main dishes was the beef, red braised in what appeared to be bean paste I did not hesitate to load my bowl up with the two largest pieces while everyone else was day dreaming (score!). Succulent is an understatement, the charred outer rich and the tender inside burst with flavour. My haste in securing the best portions meant I missed out on a generous helping of black beans but that was quickly rectified. Fennel has been invading most of the salads I have been making lately and it is easy to see why; light and crispy with that sharp aniseed flavour it really added that last little touch the beef needed to really come out on top.
Chrysanthemum and cress salad.
While we decided on ordering one of each of the sides, when the pumpkin came out ahead of the salad I thought we made the wrong decision. However, maybe because it was not your ‘run of the mill’ side salad or maybe because it was a light way to finish a big punchy meal; the salad really hit the spot for those of us at the table who eat greenery.
Finally it came time to decide if we wanted dessert or not. In the end it was a no from everyone as we were all quite full from food but mostly from the booze. Overall we were still not convinced it was worth $160 but were very happy with the $69 bargain. I guess there are too many other places around for us to rush back anytime soon but Hamish Ingham is definitely one to watch, he knows flavours and is no doubt going to go from strength to strength.
80 Campbell Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010
(02) 9280 1980
Bar H Website