New Farm’s irreverent neighbourhood bar serves ’70s-style fare, craft beer and infused spirits
Naming a bar after a Colombian drug lord is the first clue that these guys have a healthy sense of humour. ‘Cheese fondue for two’ on the menu confirms it ($22 served with crusty bread and veggies). Then there’s the jaffles. Yup, old-school 1970s-style toastie triangles filled with wonder. Think pork ragu with real spaghetti, pumpkin and blue cheese (with a side of kasundi) or bubble and squeak with sausage and smoked tomato ($9). Get excited, but don’t get too attached. They change faster than you can unroll a $100 bill.
The smartened-up ’70s theme continues in share plates including panko-crumbed chicken Kiev ($35), Steak Diane (served with a bag of oven-roasted potatoes, minted yoghurt and baby peas ($39) and a fish pie with creamy béchamel sauce ($33) – all large enough for two to share. Just after a little something to nibble on? Go for ‘Nana’s Nuts and Bolts’ ($5). These are probably tastier than you remember them, roasted with spices, Worcestershire sauce and a nice little kick of chilli.
They like a little heat in their booze too. We love the house-spiced rum, which begins as Havana Club, before being cleverly coaxed into a tasty, warming, chilli- and spice-infused delight over a period of two or three days. For tamer palates there’s a fruit-infused version, or if gin’s more your style, they regularly come up with fun new infusions for their ‘bathtub’ gin ($8.50).
The ‘mixed drinks’ section of the menu offers a fruity easy-drinking selection that includes a couple of old favourites like a Bloody Mary, and a bourbon Hot Toddy that’ll cure whatever ails you. Our picks are the Old Spice, with spiced rum, house-made grenadine, grapefruit and soda, and the Hummingbird of gin, lillet, lemon, rose, lemonade and fresh basil (all $10). Or go hard with a few kick-ass cocktails designed to put a curl in a gangster’s moustache. Escobar’s Cache is a heady mix of whiskey, spiced rum, lemon, grenadine and Pernod ($17). The Pablo Espresso Martini is named for their café sister establishment down the road ($16). It’s worth sitting inside at the bar to watch the delightful barkeep Alice do her thing.
Outside in the covered courtyard is the perfect place to settle in for a few afternoon brews.
Tap beers change regularly, and there’s a decent range of bottled craft beers including Fat Yak Pale Ale ($9), Rocks Brewing Golden Ale ($10) or even a XXXX Gold Tallie ($12), in case you needed further evidence that the folk behind Escobar don’t take themselves too seriously, despite being seriously great at what they do.
|Venue name:||Escobar Kitchen & Bar|
4/154 Merthyr Rd
|Opening hours:||Wed-Sun noon-midnight|