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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Gangsta Flavor in Sydney is found at The Roosevelt

One of the highlights of my drinking tour through Sydney was a couple of stops at The Roosevelt.  It's history sounds like a story from Boardwalk Empire.  When it opened in the 1950's, it's owner Abe Saffron was reputed as one of the major figures in organized crime. He had nicknames like "Mr Sin", "a Mr Big of Australian crime" and the boss of the Cross".  When you walk into this establishment you can't help but feel that energy. The current owners have definitely tried to bring the decor back to it's roots. The Bar has an extensive collection of vintage glasses and shakers, in addition to hipflasks, wooden trays and cocktail trolleys. There are also two private rooms. The Monroe Room with Marilyn decked all over it's walls is for banquet service.  Then there is the hidden PDR/ Poker Room with secret doorways. This is truly the ode to the speakeasy and caters to the more intimate experience.

Jessica was our tour guide when my buddy Ron and I arrived for  first time.  She was extremely gracious and "dressed to the nines", like the accompanying staff around her.  Dr Philip Gandevia aka Dr. Phil, was behind the bar and ready to conduct some of his Liquid nitrogen fueled cocktails. I had to start with his version of Jerry Thomas classic, The Blue Blazer,  which he calls The Roosevelt Blazer. His recipe continues the tradition of mixing with 2 silver cups. One to heat the booze, which in this case, was rum instead of whiskey.  The other to heat the water. The rum Dr. Phil uses is the Ron Zacapa which is enhanced with a fruit infusion of Muscatels, figs cinnamon and burnt orange. The rum is then set a blaze and spiked with a dash of coffee and tonka bean bitters. While its still burning, the water and the rum are poured back and forth between the cups without extinguishing the fire.  It's the distance between the mixing that creates the blue flame.  The preparation or performance, I should say, is pretty exciting to watch.  And the drink is really remarkable.  The heat and taste make it disappear quite quickly.

When I mentioned my adoration of Agricole rhum, Dr. Phil presented a gift from his bar.  He made us a version of the French Pearl with Clément Première Canne Rum, Pastis Henri Bardouin, lime and cane syrup. It was so tantalizing, that we had to peruse the Diner Menu. We ordered the Marilyn's Mac & Cheese.  It was probably the most original and tasty interpretations we had ever eaten. The dish is made with broccoli, almond and brioche crumb. The noodles even looks as if their made with broccoli with their gorgeous. green color.
We went from the appetizer to Wednesday Special, "Date with a Steak." A 450g Wagyu steak with a range of Roosevelt signature sauces paired with a 750ml beer.  Jessica made us feel at home when she presented California's own, Bear Republic's Peter Brown Tribute Ale. The malty beer had that sugar and molasses element with just the right amount of hops to blend with beef. It also helped to have frites to dip into those sauces and soak up all this tremendous flavor.

We loved our experience so much, we came back for drinks the following night with another friend to show off our discovery.  I felt like Al Capone when I ordered the Mr. Sin.  Named after Saffron, which explains its Saffron infused Wild Turkey Rock'n'Rye. It also had Tio Pepe and a Bulleit Rye finish. It's served from a  glass gun that pours into a tumbler with just the perfect rock of ice. From gangster to cowboy... Next up, was the very Americana John Wayne. This drink has Bulleit Bourbon, Laird’s Apple Brandy, maple, root beer & cherry cola syrup and a mist of peanut butter bitters. Like most of the cocktails I got to try, this one packed a real punch.

In general, this  was one of the fondest bar experiences.  Impeccable service, thoughtful selections and pure fun.  Jessica and Dr. Phil were also kind enough to offer us a few more sugesstions to add to our growing list. The Doctor encouraged me to ask for "The Gypsy" when we got to Vasco. More to follow...