Cosy, laid back and somewhat bohemian, Goblin Kitchen and Bar is the latest Sydney small bar to open, and we reckon this place has the goods. The distinctly European feel carries over well from its daytime café incarnation.
We’ve been big fans of Goblin Café for years, so we were excited to check out the next stage of this gem of the Inner West: Goblin Kitchen and Bar.
Owner-chef Eliot Ritchie has changed up the décor of the original Goblin Café with comfortable bar style benches and stools, the long resin service bar has been replaced with thick timber, and the wall behind the coffee machine is now a treasure trove of spirits to fit the cocktail list.
We popped in just after the doors opened for the first time ever at this Summer Hill hideaway. The vibe is cool and collected, the staff are friendly and attentive and best of all the music level is just right.
It’s a hard element to get right in a venue: either the music is too quiet to give the space an atmosphere or it’s too loud for people to chat. Not in Goblin though. This certainly lends more to the European café bar feel these guys are going for.
For drinks, Mrs Romance tested out one of the cocktails of the week the Kobold Summer Offering. A refreshing mix of Four Pillars gin (good to see Aussie spirits making the list), lemongrass syrup, fresh basil and lemon juice.
I went for the draught beer. They have 2 taps at Goblin Kitchen and Bar. One’s currently pouring a clear, sharp cider from the Apple Thief using apples from Batlow, NSW.
The other has a very tasty Bavarian lager from Wayward Brewing, amusingly named Keller Instinct. This is about as local as you can get – Wayward brews in Annandale – literally 10 minutes up the Parramatta Road.
We scanned the menu (and I also had a quick peek at what was coming out of the kitchen) and ordered up.
The food here’s best shared (I can hardly believe I’ve said that), simply because having your own dish will definitely cause food envy.
We ordered the Caprese salad with a beautiful chewy burrata cheese, oysters (natural and with a rosé jelly), a rich and creamy duck parfait with crisp bread and pickles, a beetroot, watercress, candied carrot and goats curd salad, and a bowl of Eliot’s superb double-cooked potatoes with rosemary and piri piri mayo.
We decided that wasn’t enough (there were 4 of us after all!) and ordered the beef cheek with carrot puree and roasted baby onions. The beef was so tender and sweet – it turns out Eliot soaks the cheeks in port wine overnight which tenderises the meat and adds the rich sweetness.
Still a bit peckish, we decided to order the cheeseboard, which comes with a slab of robust chevre, a sharp cheddar and an oozing blue. Served with grapes and slices of fig bread, this finished us off nicely.
Another glass of beer for the boys (and perhaps a cheeky gin and tonic), a flute of sparkling for Mrs Romance and we were done.
All in all a very enjoyable meal.
A quick caveat on the drinks – you can only order beer and cider in midis or jugs here. This is a smart move for a place that’s limited on space for glass storage. You can also buy cocktails by the jug too. Which is an excellent idea anyway!
Goblin Kitchen and Bar
Open: 5pm – 10pm, Wed-Sun. (Café: 7am – 3pm, Tues-Fri, 8am – 3pm Sat & Sun.)
Good for: catching up with friends, quiet romantic meal or drinks. Outdoor seating available.
6 Sloane St,
Do you have a favourite small bar near you? Tell us about it in the comments!