Honey Child says they have sexy bar snacks. She could be right. Bar snacks are on the up and up aren’t they? In fact, packet potato crisps are almost a thing of the past. If you want peeps to spend time at your watering hole, with so much great food in Hobes-town, you have to make an effort.
The bar snack-menu is la chose du jour. Boozy Friday Lunch Friend and I chose a bar for lunch to prove those menus are new generation and pretty damn hot.
The Den is part of the new Salamanca, one of the more recent additions to the restaurant and bar strip. By recent, I mean about a year old, and it’s a very stylish edition.
Timber and down lighting features in the aesthetic which helps lift the dark interior typical of Salamanca spaces. There’s a central fire place with a feature flue, a terrific focal point for the bar in winter. They’ve used the most of the space by including an upstairs area as well.
Outdoor seating is a must in Salamanca and in keeping with the internal amenity they have both bar tables and stools and a little enclave of lounge seating with a faux-fire gas heater the customer can control. It was too easy to flick that switch when the midday sun heated up and we could enjoy nature’s warmth.
The Den describes itself as cocktails and tastes. We only dipped our toes into the cocktail menu with a:
- passionfruit and dark berry bellini, $17, passionfruit liqueur, Tasmanian sparkling rose, blackberry and mint syrup, apple and blackcurrant juice and
- pomegranate and sage mojito, $19, dill infused Barcardi White, lime juice, pomegranate and sage syrup, soda.
My bellini was delicious – the right amount of sweet and combination of flavours to be a perfect cocktail in my books. The mojito had a little more savoury going on than the sickly sweet of the usual rum and sugar syrup combo, which made for a nice distraction.
The tastes menu is divided between fries, baos, plates, salads and sweets. Plates include a range of options such as jalapeno poppers, salmon skewers, crumbed pork belly and a dim sum basket. Bao options are terrific and include spanner crab and shitake mushroom.
What we ate:
- vegetable crisps, house fried vegetable (potato, sweet potato and beetroot), rosemary and salt, $5
- sticky duck bao, 2 for $10 or 3 for $24, roasted and pulled sticky duck, sweet soy sauce and sesame
- pear, walnut and parmesan salad, $14 and
- Korean chilli wings, $16 for 8 pieces, fried Nichols chicken, pickled daikon, sesame.
Those house made crisps were really good. The combination of vegetables makes for a pretty dish. They’ve got a little width so you’re not snacking on a crisp that’s going to shatter into a million pieces – it’s a decent mouthful while still being crisp-like and it’s not from a packet. Fancy.
The chicken wings are fried but not greasy and spiced up to your liking with the accompanying sauce. Heat-fanatic plunge away, use a smear if you’re spice shy.
The presence of a couple of salads helps balance the menu. It means that if you’re conscious about what you’re ordering you have a light option. They also help round out the concept of snacking by making a meal of it. Want those wings but it doesn’t seem like enough? Add a salad. Ours had pomegranate seeds. They’re so purdy.
Baos are the thing right now. We’ve seen Hobes go through its fair share of food fads: pizza, burgers and tacos, now it’s the time of the Chinese sandwich. Those soft, fluffy, little steamed rolls are a welcome addition to menus and a range of filings make them super-fun to enjoy.
Service was efficient and friendly.
It’s damn fine snacking fare produced by head chef, Joshua Mathewson and his crew. The Two Girls first met Joshua when he got Pearl and Co started in 2016. Joshua told us the menu would be changing shortly but he’s proven it will be worth the adventure exploring the next iteration.
Looking forward to more Den-dig drinks and dining.
Find them on Facebook @TheDenSalamanca
For more information including their menu, go their website – The Den.
They’re located at 63 Salamanca Place Battery Point.
The other end of the continuum nearby – Maldini restaurant – has been around about 20 years.