Down the Rabbit Hole


It seems that small and eclectic bars are appearing more and more around Sydney, each with their own unique appeal.  Look for the white rabbit ears along Elizabeth Street and descend down the rabbit hole to the basement and escape the hectic streets above.

The Rabbit Hole Bar and Dining can be described as a relaxed venue to explore creative cocktails and inventive dining experience.  I like to imagine this spot is great to hang out with foodie friends and people who enjoy a great cocktail mix (ladies are you listening).  Who knew science could have a great relationship with food and drinks?  Some of the techniques used are exclusive to Rabbit Hole, and let me tell you, I was amazed.

Let’s talk bio and who’s behind the white coat.  Doug Laming. Three words; imagination, molecular madness, food porn.  Ok, so not quite three words, but this quirky and passionate mixologist owner brings unique flavours in his ingredients and technique that Sydney needs to see.

To start the palate;
Seared foie gras lobe on soft potato stones
Dou Laming’s Margarita’s (Cocktail Shots)
The White Cloud above Mt. Gay (Rhum Cocktail)
Kraken’s Prey (Rhum Cocktail)

We started with a carefully prepared, spherified pearls of Souza Gold tequila and simple syrup matched with Contreau Cavier. It’s a ‘must have’ when you’re here.  Sitting on a finger lime with a small sprinkle of salt, you scoop or slurp the pearls and caviar into your mouth, burst of excitement in your mouth and squeeze the lime. Amazing.  There is nothing more in how to describe the foi gras – it just melts in your mouth, potatoes stones soft and dunk it with the biscuit crumb.

Mermaid Scallops, prawn salad, black garlic shell & seaweed
Glazed pork belly and tornadoes, vegetable risotto, bacon & garlic caramel
Breakfast Bouquet (Gin Cocktail)
Wood & Smoke (Whiskey Cocktail)

Upon recommendation, the seared scallops were cooked to perfection, each bite is an exquisite combination of ocean flavour and textures from the seaweed and foam.  For something a little heavier, go for the glazed pork belly on a risotto bed, the sweet taste of the ‘tornadoes’ sauce (tomato) and the crunch on the bacon & garlic caramel strip (similar to a salted caramel).  Well complimented with the smouldering scent of cinnamon.  A complex aged bitter with a unique blend of Auchentoshan 3 wood, Jim Beam Devi’s Cut and Laphroaig 10yo, the Wood and Smoke is perfect for any winter’s night.

Duck confit cylinder, red cabbage, butternut cubes & pistachio
Mahi Mahi, olive sphere, eggplant cream, crisp lemon, lime leaf & potato
Shrubbery (Vodka Cocktail)
Martini Magic (Gin Cocktail)

Just before Doug was leaving, I managed to find out a bit more about him.  A passion for cooking from a ripe age of 12 in the kitchens, he became a licensee at an uber age of 21 and was named NSW Bartender finalist of the year in 2011.  Rich influence from Grant Achatz (An American Chef who is named as one of the leaders in molecular gastronomy or progressive cuisine), Heston Blumenhal (UK’s celebrity chef and pioneer of multi sensory cooking).  Doug is set to push food and bevarge to the next level.

Now back to this molecular cocktail, the Martini Magic.  We could get technical and talk about the enriched calcium, slip of a hydrocolloid of Contreau which solidifies into a orange capsule in your Martini.  Or we can say this Martini rendition is magic and gives all other classic martini’s ‘drink envy’.  For the love of sweet cocktails, you may want to experiment with Shrubbery  – a playful fruity drink with fresh strawberries, elderflower, lemon, rhubarb bitters topped with strawberry powder and sorrel finish.

For dessert, the menu screams ‘eat me’. Modern Paris Brest with praline, vanilla, fairy floss and a chocolate Eiffel Tower and the  “Macaclair”, a macaron base with pear and vanilla cream, pear gel & rosemary sorbet. The picture says it all and its taste just as good.

After an evening of intriguing cocktails and rich foods, I felt that my tastebuds experienced so many different bursts of flavours and textures.  The Rabbit Hole Bar and Dining is a must–visit scene, whether you’re feeling adventurous or not.  The excellent team behind the bar and in the kitchen will surely impress.

Look forward to returning back and sample the rest of the menu.

The Rabbit Hole Bar and Dining
82 Elizabeth St, Sydney NSW 2000
T: +61 (02) 8084 2505