A country club by definition is a place to sit around and do nothing, pampered with pleasure, sporty and spacious, elegant and exclusive; from Scotland to the USA, now we have our own in inner city Sydney.
New Darlo Country Club brings a complete change of look and pace to Victoria Street. Upstairs, in the venue where long time iconic Darlinghurst bar the Victoria Room entertained, Darlo Country Club has stepped things up a notch. With leather armours, wide white window shutters, tennis racquets on the walls, a woven rope room divider, it is easy to forget your are in Darlinghurst.
With the Californian light and relaxing country club décor, comes the table service. There's even a brass button in each of the six banquettes to summons the smiling staff. Decked out in sporty country club pink tops, short white tennis skirts and white sandshoes, the stunning hostesses are charming and well trained. Which is not surprising when you dig into the background of the team. After the success of their winter pop-up bar The Chalet, The Lobo Plantation’s Michael Hwang and Eddie Levy as well as The Island’s Adam Abrams and Julian Tobias have collaborated once again. Leading the crew, English General Manager George Armstrong has a history with the upmarket Langham Hotel group, abroad and in Sydney, and has drawn a key team on the floor from there and from nightclub Marquee. There you have it. Darlo Country Club is a little bit all that, with a touch of morph from them all, to create with the country club feel in the mix, something new and unique. Opening week sees a casually elegant crowd - this is Sydney after all - not of predictable country club retirees - mostly urban inner city mid twenties to mid thirties, kicking back chilling.
Attention to detail carries through to all things, not just design, and the service. There's attention to the details in the drinks too. Check my garnish. Perfectly formed and thank fuck the bitter pith has all been removed. From the cocktail list, the cleverest concoction has to be the Eton Fizz ($17). Foamy egg white tops a take on the Eton mixed up dessert meringe Mess. It's really pretty, and as sweet as a girl wants to get. And there's the Darlo take on an Espresso Martini: L.A. Noire ($19) with spiced chai syrup, Little Drippa cold drip coffee, Kahlua and vodka. Howard Hughes ($21) merges two classics: a Millionaire and an Airmail. The top pick twist on a classic here though is Harbour Vieux ($22) with English Harbour 5-year-old rum, Chartreuse yellow liqueur, dill-infused Rosso, pimento bitters, orange bitters, a dash of sugar syrup. In all there are lucky 13 signature cocktails listed. Past the Darlo Country Club signatures, there's more smooth elegance on the list and it takes no negotiations to call on a classic, such as a Martini. Smooth as. What was that gin? Sipsmith was the answer to a prayer. Drinks are so gorgeous you might think they would cost a bomb! Not so. See. The cocktails are as easy on the pocket as they are in the delicious drinking. But you can go high end if you want with French instead of Eton Fizz. Such a gorgeous spread of Champagnes across NV and vintage are also on the list. Just for special occasions mind you. Wink.
Just as impressive is the detail in the food. Sumptuous details like luscious rich chunky tartar on the slider, mounted by beautiful fresh lettuce, topped with moist mouthfuls of fish inside a crunchy crumb coating, oh and the burger bun of course. hat was mine. And there are two others Wagu burger, truffle mayo, iceburg lettuce and Hickory smoked beef brisket, blue cheese, iceburg lettuce. Choose three. The menu is changing all the time. Right now there are tasty morsels the likes of Paella arincini fresh Parmesan cheese, saffron rouille ($12) through to Confit duck leg & hoi sin sauce spring rolls, crisp cucumber ($12) to die for and an indulgent Lobster and Truffle Mac 'n' Cheese (we had to order a second it was soo good) a gorgeous range of well thought out and well executed bar food. Even something seemingly simple, like the Sweet potato fries are as good as it gets. Perfectly done. The food is substantial enough though that you can make it whatever you want, call it bar snacks or dinner.
So does this all sound a bit upper crust country club to you? Well call the venue what you will, it is all that except exclusive. Anyone can come, it doesn't require membership, it just makes you feel so good, it feels that way. And you'll want to make it your regular place, just like a member.