by Rebecca Varidel
FREDA’S BAR & CANTEEN
109 Regent Street, Chippendale (02) 8971 7336 www.fredas.com.au
TOTALLY rate it. Down the postered laneway, once inside, it’s “a proper grown-up bar – not too grotty, not too snotty,” says regular Steph of her fav. as we share smoky Dirty Old Pals ($17.) I normally like my Islay neat but Freda’s iced mix is good: single malt whiskey, Rosso Antica Formula and Campari. Space is an old previously abandoned warehouse. Staff and owner/designer Dave Abram walk the floor making sure we’re all doing fine. We’re camped on mismatched chairs, gathered around one of the tables; others are on stools at the long bar. Chef Robbie Oijuall is dishing up nuts, olives and other deliciousness, like pork belly with kimchi. Saturday night and in a battle with jetlag, I stick to cocktails: a Rob Roy for seconds then I move onto a Quincy Jones ($22.) My foot is tapping. Fever.
397 Crown Street, Surry Hills (02) 9357 3366 www.millevini.net
It might seem sacrilegious to drink a cocktail at an Italian wine bar, and maybe even more so by starting with a Martini ($15) in lieu of more Italian choices such as an Aperol Spritzer ($12.) It washes down our generous share plates of meatballs and crispy fried calamari, well. Without a booking, we’re seated at the downstairs bar – the tables were all taken. Bar manager, Francesca confides that Mille Vini was the first wine bar to open in Surry Hills, more than four years ago. My gaze turns to the impressive wall of bottles and I relent: wine by the glass, a Barossa Valley rosé. Then Tiramisu for dessert with vini dolci shots to finish. Buzzy vibe. Super friendly service. Large list with focus on Italian and Australian wines – bottles lean toward reds. Verdict: molto bene.
Republished with permission from my weekly BAR FLY column for the Alternative Media Group newspapers. Originally published in the City Hub, Bondi View and City News.