Grain Bar Cover

Grain Bar – Fine Pub Grub

This entreé post has now been complemented with a more substantial post here (does not replace this post – read both!)

Grain Bar is a nice little place that opened up in the Four Seasons Hotel not too long ago. I’m actually a big fan of the place already, even though I’ve only visited it once.

Name: Grain Bar
Date Visited: 09/10/2012
Address: 199 George Street, Sydney NSW
Good for: pub grub with a bit of finesse and fine dining touches
Not good for: actually, I can’t think of something this place isn’t good for (except maybe large groups)
Go-to dish: The Grain Burger

I visited a few weeks ago to catch up with a friend – it’s a great place for that actually. The music isn’t overpoweringly loud, the couches (where you can find them) are comfy and the decor is GREAT. This is one sexy bar. Nothing less of award-winning architect Michael McCann

Grain Bar interior
One of the walls – looks pretty cool, until you realise that it’s actually depicting little networked humans.
Nah, still cool.
Grain Bar interior
Part of the interior. The wooden ceiling is a nice touch.
Grain Bar interior
Why yes I do believe that is real.

I really like the decor of this place, and I think you can see why! My pictures actually don’t really do it justice. It’s one of the prettiest-looking bars I’ve been to.

Ah but what are we here for if not for the food?

Grain Bar potato crackling
Potato Crackling

I’ve had plenty of pork crackling before and I know what to expect from that. Potato crackling on the other hand…what is that?

When it arrived, my first impression was “CHINESE PRAWN CRACKERS”. Le friend thought that too (so would prawn crackers be prawn ‘crackling’???)

The texture was similar to that of prawn crackers – crunchy, but dissimilar in that it is less oily. That’s a plus from me. As for the taste – it’s kind of like original flavoured potato chips. It’s overboard with the saltiness though – and I found myself reaching for the water to wash down more bites than I’d have liked. Oh well, the taste of original potato chips is quite predictable and you can’t really improve on the formula…

Grain Bar kingfish tartare
Wild kingfish tartare, pickled beetroot and seaweed crackers

Since when do you find raw kingfish at a pub…and this is where I feel this little bar has more up its sleeve than many others. I guess the whole fine dining thing is permeating down the ladder…or something. Anyways, speculation aside the dish itself was quite enjoyable, but felt a little muffled.

The kingfish itself tastes delicious, though I think that has more to do with the mayo marinade that it was soaked in. The dicing  was perhaps a bit too small for me (I’m not used to eating kingfish like this) so I essentially had scoops of it at times. Texture itself was pretty good with consistency throughout so I’m going to say “good work” here :)

The pickled beetroot was pickled to the point where I thought it was almost like lightly pickled ginger. It was pretty strong I have to say – I took water much of the time, YMMV. It sure was crunchy though and I love a crunchy texture (not that beetroot is really meant to be all that crunchy…)

The seaweed crackers (which don’t look like seaweed crackers at all and rather oversized nachos) were YUM. They were super crunchy yet didn’t crumble apart upon eating and have a great wholesome grainy flavour. You’ll like these for sure. I didn’t even need to eat them with the other elements of the dish – they’re great on their own!

Grain Bar burger
The Grain Burger & Fries – pulled beef short rib, radish, onions & sorrel

I am a big, big fan of pulled meats – there’s so much awesome texture magic that adds to the taste it’s just amazing. I’ve never actually had a pulled beef burger though – though I’ve had them in rolls.

The Grain Burger is just that though – a pulled beef burger. What’s more the meat is rib meat! Double win! There’s not much to talk about here, the bun is multi-seed grain which helps impart a wonderful roughness to the bun when biting down that’s very satisfying. The beef – *strong nod of approval* tender and soft, and packs a flavour hit for sure. The condiments and vegetables top it off for a traditional finish.

Oh and in case you’re wondering this is what Sorrel is (think of it like a kind of baby spinach).

I’m definitely coming back to Grain Bar soon and when I do, I’ll hope to upgrade this post to Prato Principal. I look forward to it and hope you do too!

The Good: great burger, great decor (probably great drinks as well…)

The Bad: it struggles to do the ‘fine dining’ part well, but props for trying! Potato crackling is a non-event

I give Grain Bar a grand total of seven and a half Caesars out of ten – 7.5/10

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