The Balcony Bar
Lightly scented candles mix with the warm delight of good food being cooked in the kitchen, as I explore the upstairs landing of The Balcony Bar. Quaint little tables and chairs hang over a balcony overlooking Erskine Street, just a short walk from Wynyard station. Inside, plush lounges and couches allow for a comfortable, languid setting, the kind to hypnotise you into a calm lull.
The Balcony Bar is a thin terrace-gone-bar and rather sheek, very trendy. Deep red, almost black walls darken both upper and lower landings. It truly makes you feel like you’re cocooned in the warm lap of Aphrodite, while chalked on the walls are quotes of food and wine appreciation. The bar isn’t dark, though, and it’s not ominous. It’s snug and cozy, but at the same time, it’s elegant and sophisticated in its simplicity.
Vanilla prawns were the most delectable surprise on the menu. So sweet, saccharine enough that if the sauce was by itself, the dish would be too much like a dessert. When vanilla beans and honey are mixed with prawns, however, the result is a subtle, mellow blend of warm goodness. The sweetness doesn’t overpower the taste of the prawns, rather, the sauce lightly serenades the seafood.
The Pork Belly was juicy, tender and the sauce was just right. The meat was fall-apart and crunchy in all the right places and, not too fatty. This dish was nothing less than moan-worthy good because it tasted a little homemade. It’s as if the goddess Hestia cooked this dish herself. Although it’s a bar, they offer main meals, lunch, dessert and tapas, alongside their vast selection of wines, beers and cocktails. The food, however, is full-bodied and flavoursome. It takes just one element and cooks it right, like a sweet prawn. It’s homey simplicity, it’s so yummy.
The French Meat tasting platter is a new addition to The Balcony Bar menu. A selection of pates, chorizo and more accompanied by lightly dressed cherry tomatoes were an assortment of tasty little morsels that left me wanting more.
The Teriyaki Salmon was drenched in a molasses-like teriyaki sauce, and the fish was perfect. The salmon was tender, flaking in its delicacy. Flavoursome and full-bloded, the salmon was oh-so satisfying.
Last but not least, the home-cut chips were just so great. When you try home-made chips these days, they generally end up tasting like every other chip in the world. These were different. They were soft, they had a light crunch and, they were identifiable as potatoes. Salted and served with homemade barbeque sauce, these chips had a rustic authenticity to them and they were just really yummy.
The Balcony Bar is a recent addition to Erskine Street which opens for lunch and dinner on weekdays and has just begun opening for dinner of Saturdays. They’re open to private functions as they have ample room with over two stories, two bars and plenty of places to sit and relax. The staff are more than accommodating and gentlemanly and I was very impressed with the venue. If anything, I’d go back just for the Pork and Prawns.
Image source: http://www.balconybar.com.au/