Rebecca Varidel
14th Aug 2023

Cardea brings a new meaning of luxury to Barangaroo Sydney. The plush velvety softness of regal reds and shining gold carry through from the stunning decor to glamorous presentation of food and beverages. Gold cutlery serving rich red risotto, and caviar adorned bar bites to gold desserts, will make you feel like a party loving princess or a goddess. The bar Cardea is named after a Roman goddess, after all. Live it up girl!

Of course in a bar, luscious lovely libations are front of mind, and the creative Cardea cocktails from international award-winning bartender George Bekarian are enough reason in themselves to draw you into this palacial parlour. Gin is favoured on the list, and you will delight in some sumptuous gin concoctions that you haven't tried elsewhere in our good old Sydney town.

For three gin signature suggestions, start with George's own favourite, Secrets of Aleja ($30) which marry rhubarb liqueur, cherry jam and lime juice with gin. This is an unbelievably glorious union. He's also very proud of his unique 3 Night Stand ($29) which infuses Parmesan in the gin as a base, alongside strawberry liqueur, lime juice and basil. The bar menu promises a yearning for more than one night. I'm not much into promises. Although from experience, I know that I do want to come back for this one. Tantalising.

Forget Me Not ($29) is my other go-to order with its pretty butterfly flower tea, Luxardo bittercus bianco, and Italicus liqueur, the purple cocktail drinks smoothly yet is intrigueingly complex. Moving beyond our (his and mine) gin bias, there are plenty of other spirits in the Cardea mix. My #hashtagplusone mate favours the honey sweet wine of the Dorothy ($29) graced with its sumac rim. And of course, there are classic cocktails, whatever takes your fancy. This, is your very own den of iniquity after all.

Bar food often gets a bad wrap, but there'll be none of that here at Cardea thank you very much. The Cardea bar food is nothing short of spectacular, as well as sumptious. Start with Potato mille-feuille, Wagyu crudo, sour cream, Oscietra caviar - if you want to impress, even if that's just to impress yourself. Sorry not sorry, no spoilers. You'll just have to go into Cardea and find out for more details. Like the cocktails, and the surroundings, the food is luxurious and even sometimes entertaining.

The rest of the menu, from Davide Pier Maiuri, is every bit as unexpected, and delightful. We super suggest the Tuna carpaccio, Oscietra caviar, ponzu dressing for a fresh light palate pleaser. It's pleasurable to the eye too. For something more filling, dig into that ruby red Aquerello risotto, king prawns, spanner crab and red beetroot.

But save room for dessert from pastry king Vincent Gadan. The wobbly Champagne jelly is filled with fresh raspberries that themselves have been filled with a lux liqueur, and gold glitter, and butter gold coated crumble. I don't think I've had a better dessert anywhere for quite some time. Worth a journey for dessert with a drink just on their own. Not that I'm saying you should limit yourself, mind you.

Yet another thing to love about Cardea is the food and beverage pairings. Each bar food dish has a cocktail suggestion listed with it on the menu. Or you could do as we did when we switched to wine, and ask the Sommelier for his suggestions. Who else knows the wine list better?

Add to these - the drinks and food and the velvet - leather coasters, marble table tops, chandeliers and a shiny white baby grand and live entertainment - and you know where to come to live your inner most dreams and outer most pleasures. Just tell them the dream whisperer sent you.