A primo spot for sipping at a drink, and drinking in the views
Sydney is a city of renovators. There’s a reason that The Block is one of our most-watched television shows — when we’re not knocking down walls and tiling kitchen floors, we love watching others do the same. So, when Darlinghurst’s Hotel William gets a cool $5 million revamp, we sit up and take notice. The ugly duckling pub on the corner of Yurong and William Streets has been rebranded as Hyde Park House, and comes complete with a glam izakaya rooftop bar to boot.
The ground-level Public Bar has had a spruce, but still exudes classic ‘Aussie pub’ vibes with counter meals to match; upstairs, the Jessie’s cocktail bar, is big on comfy lounges and zebra taxidermy. But we’re here for the rooftop bar, which opened fashionably late in the first week of July. Slim’s Rooftop is named after American socialite photographer Slim Aarons, though it could equally refer to the narrow stairs leading to rooftop — there’s a good amount of side-sashaying and waiting-on-the-landing as staff and patrons patiently wait to climb up or down the stairs.
But don’t despair, because it’s a stairway to heaven. Slim’s is an open-air oasis with succulent plants and low walls, allowing for stunning views of the art-deco buildings on William Street and the glittery skyscrapers of the not-too-distant CBD. There’s a few rooftop bars in this part of Sydney — the Taphouse and the East Village Hotel are not too far away — but neither sport the glorious ruffled pink umbrellas found here.
Food-wise, there’s an izakaya menu featuring a small sashimi plate with six pieces of the usual suspects, thickly-sliced, fresh and cleansing; fish ‘taco’ mini-bites of cubed tuna, salmon and guacamole atop nori crackers; and standard issue gyoza. From the teppan, the grilled eggplant arrives on a sizzling hot plate, which simmers and splutters with the teriyaki sauce that’s theatrically poured at the table. The eggplant is soft as butter, but the generous slather of red miso makes the dish overwhelmingly salty. Our tip: order a side of plain rice to soak up the sauce.
So, we turn to the booze. Slim’s has a short, sharp drinks list of mostly Australian wines, and an interesting line-up of tap beers, including Modus Operandi, Balter, and Stone & Wood (though no crisp Japanese lagers). The friendly bar staff know how to mix a cocktail; the Purple Heart, with lavender-hued Ink gin and elderflower liqueur, hits the right balance of sweet and floral, and has a pleasing, lingering saltiness. You can trace the influence of Japanese flavours in the cocktail offerings like the Relaxing at Lake Tahoe, with pisco, Suntory whisky and matcha tea; Place in the Sun, a warming ginger and spiced rum concoction; and a Japanese High Ball.
Slim’s is a big space. On a mid-week evening, the space has a buzz about it, but there’s no jostling for elbow room. Though we’re told that on Fridays it gets popular with office workers who retreat here for lunch, then end up staying until the sun goes down. And why the heck not? Slim’s is a primo spot for sipping at a drink, and drinking in the views.
|Venue name:||Hyde Park House|
47-49 William St
|Opening hours:||Mon–Sat 10am–3am; Sun 10am–10pm|