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Deux Frères

  • Bars
  • Circular Quay
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
  1. Delicious snacks at Deux Frères
    Photograph: Jude Cohen
  2. Gildas at Deux Frères
    Photograph: Jude Cohen
  3. Tapas at Deux Frères
    Photograph: Jude Cohen
  4. Rare beef sliced on a plate that says: DEUX FRERES
    Photograph: Alice Ellis for Time Out Sydney | Deux Freres
  5. Tapas at Deux Frères
    Photograph: Just Cohen
  6. Little sticks with olives, anchovies and bits of lemon on a bed of oil.
    Photograph: Alice Ellis for Time Out Sydney | Deux Freres
  7. A little pie on a plate.
    Photograph: Alice Ellis for Time Out Sydney | Deux Freres

Time Out says

5 out of 5 stars

Sydney pintxos bar Deux Frères magically plonks you right in San Sebastian

Some Sydney restaurants are “inspired by” eateries from other lands. Others, like Deux Freres, can transport you directly to somewhere on the other side of the world. This laneway pintxos bar plucks you right out of your Circular Quay surrounds and plonks you, magically, into one of the tiny bars that Spain’s Basque country is famous for. And right now there’s no place I’d rather be. 

As I sit at the marble-top bar – tightly packed in between my dining companion and a stranger on the other side – I watch the staff behind the counter prepping bar snacks centred around cured meats, Spanish and French cheeses, and crusty bread. Pintxos comes from the Spanish verb “pinchar” meaning to poke/prick – because the snacks are generally served with a toothpick to hold them together. 

It’s drinking food, and the drinks menu takes you on a journey from vermouth to Spanish and French wines to beer, as well as spirits. We order a carafe of Spanish red, a 2016 tempranillo that tastes the way I like it to taste – just the right balance of rich and mellow; highly drinkable in warm weather.

We start with gildas. The tiny fish fillets skewered between two green olives, two little wedges of lemon, all doused in bright-yellow oil, deliver irresistible pops of salt that get my taste buds ready for all the treats to come.

Behind the counter sit colourful plates filled with little slices of baguette, smothered with big dollops of creamy brie, a touch of honey, some walnuts, then topped with a slice of Serrano ham that winds its way up the toothpick. The bite is salty, sweet, creamy and crunchy – all of the things that you want at aperitivo hour.  

Next we’re drawn to the croqueta – we order one with confit duck as well as one with ham. The cheesy potatoey balls are coated in crisp golden crumbs and hidden under a shroud of grated parmesan. They’re deliciously gooey inside, the pops of meat adding another level of flavour, and they're so good that we go for another round.

They also serve tapas, and the gambas al ajillo (garlic prawns) are slightly under-seasoned for my likely, but the prawns themselves are some of the best I’ve had in a long time. Plump, tasting of the sea, and cooked to tender perfection. 

A coiled and skewered chorizo comes served on a flaming ceramic pig. It’s a touch of cute drama, but the oily sausage is the only take-it-or-leave-it aspect of our whole meal. I do leave a bit of it, so that I have room for the Wagyu rump that’s been filling the room with mouthwatering smells as it sizzles on the grill behind the bar. The delicious cut of steak is expertly charred on the outside, rare and buttery inside, and sliced so that it drinks up the delicious port wine glaze that it’s served upon. It’s our dish of the night.

We use crusty bread to soak up the glaze. And the fragrant, citrusy oil from the gildas. And the garlic oil from the prawns. Someone stop us.

We haven’t stopped. A sweet little pie that they’re making behind the counter – the “Basque cake of the day” – catches our eye, and we’ve had such a joy-filled time that we’re not ready to call it a night. Warm out of the oven, we cut the small pie open and a cherry sauce spills out, along with a layer of almond-flavoured custard.  

We roll out into the laneway, take out our phones and consider booking some flights to San Sebastian – until we decide we can save the big bucks and travel back here to Deux Freres at Circular Quay any time we like.

Time Out Sydney never writes starred reviews from hosted experiences – Time Out covers restaurant and bar bills for reviews so that readers can trust our critique.

Alice Ellis
Written by
Alice Ellis


6 Loftus Ln
View Website
Opening hours:
Mon-Fri 11.30am-late; Sat 3.30pm-late
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