The kids are alright at the Rocksia, by which I mean baby goats Blondie and Mr Muggins, star attractions of the Farm Friends Petting Zoo set up in the car park on Sunday arvo. Together with the chicks, chooks, guinea pigs, ducks and bunnies, these hay-nibbling cuties are getting a good petting from wide-eyed human children who are so reluctant to budge from their spots inside the 9 sq/m enclosure that Time Out has to be content watching from the periphery. Hmmmph.
We’re in Arncliffe in Sydney’s south at a large pub-bistro wedged uncomfortably between Princes Highway, the train line and a Ford dealership. The location sucks, but the Rocksia is nice – properly nice – at least on the inside. Owners the Feros Group, whose assets span north to south (from the Terrey Hills Tavern down to the Taren Point Hotel, with Potts Point Liquor & Deli in the middle), remodelled the Lounge Bar awhile back into a Woodfired Pizza bistro with a hip ‘wooden’ design theme; there are bentwood chairs, a wood-furnace fireplace and family friendly round tables within raised circular booths. Elsewhere the theme is stylish black walls and brown carpet, which can hide of multitude of sins, but means the place has a chic nightclub vibe for Friday DJ nights and Saturday events on rotation, such as disco party House of Funk.
At meal times, the place is like two bistros joined at the hip, boasting two separate kitchens and two large Italianate outdoor terraces with climbing jasmine masking the horrible view. The taps are serving Wild Yak, 4Pines and Australian Pale Ale, and the menu is pub-Mediterranean with the obligatory nods towards Asia and America. The food’s good; not cross-the-city good, but clearly a boon for locals (and there are big discounts for members, including 40 per cent off bistro meals on Fridays). You can pile in for a long Sunday lunch with the extended family and let the kids loose on the face painting plus balloon animals/real animals (on alternate weeks). Our tip: call ahead to ensure it’s petting zoo week, and get to the front of the line, or there may be tears.