Downstairs Restaurant, Surry Hills

Recently I had the very good fortune of catching up with my good friend, Maureen, and her husband, John, while they were briefly in Sydney.

Downstairs with The Hazy Rose upstairs

Downstairs with The Hazy Rose upstairs

Along with Tania, we decided to meet for dinner at Downstairs Restaurant in Darlinghurst.  But situated directly above Downstairs is The Hazy Rose, an intimate and charming bar where we decided to meet first for a drink.

The Hazy Rose

The Hazy Rose

Walking in to The Hazy Rose is wonderful.  British inspired, the bar is decorated with a ‘roaring 40’s’ style and filled with vintage furniture.  There are cosy places to enjoy a drink like little booths, upholstered chairs surrounding an antique table, up at the bar or even on a church pew.

A very British-looking bar

A very British-looking bar

The lighting is dim but in a flattering way rather than being so dark you can’t make your way to the bar without a cane.  This is a bar with great appeal and it oozes with character.

The Hazy Rose

The Hazy Rose

There are so many delightful places within The Hazy Rose to enjoy a drink that I had trouble deciding where I might sit.  I chose a seat near the window that opens onto a balcony overlooking the street and waited for Maureen, John and Tania.

Bar

Bar

There is a wonderful cocktail menu with all the classics like whiskey sours and cosmopolitans and then there are the beers and wines.  The wines are mostly from Australia and as it was a hot night and I wanted something refreshing, I decided on a glass of rose from the Barossa Valley.

Bar area

Bar area

When everyone arrived we enjoyed a very relaxed and wonderful drink together before heading ‘downstairs’ to ‘Downstairs’.

Entrance

Entrance

Recently opened, Downstairs shares the same owners as The Hazy Rose.  Just like the bar, Downstairs is proudly British and serves up-market styled British classics like colcannon, black pudding and bubble and squeak.  The decor is retro British with booth seating, banquettes and bentwood chairs.  The lighting is subdued which is lovely for diners but challenging for photographers.

Banquette seating

Banquette seating

We sat at a table close to the bi-fold doors that opened onto the verandah.  We started by sharing a few entrees.  The first was the chicken liver parfait with curried apple sauce, pickles and wholemeal toast.  This was my favourite dish of the evening.  The parfait was beautifully smooth and I do love pickles with a parfait.  The serving was very generous and well plated.

Chicken liver parfait, curried apple sauce, pickles and wholemeal toast:  $16.00

Chicken liver parfait, curried apple sauce, pickles and wholemeal toast: $16.00

I’m very keen on asparagus so we ordered the warm asparagus entree with beetroot, granny smith, creme fraiche and puy lentil dressing.  As asparagus isn’t in season, I did wonder where it was sourced.  This was another favourite dish of mine as none of the other flavours dominated the asparagus and the spears were vibrantly green and still with some crunch.

Warm asparagus salad with puy lentil dressing:  $16.00

Warm asparagus salad with puy lentil dressing: $16.00

For a main I ordered the chargrilled spatchcock with roast garlic, dutch carrots, courgettes and tarragon sauce.  Spatchcock can be difficult to cook as being a small bird it’s easy to overcook and have it end up dry but this was perfectly cooked and very tender.  I just would have liked a little more sauce.

Spatchcock:  $27.00

Spatchcock: $27.00

John ordered the 250gm Top sirloin with crumbed marrow, parsley relish, mustard and fat chips.  He ordered it medium rare and it was, however he found the sirloin to be very tough and difficult to chew.  He did love his very generous serving of fat chips and ate them all.

Top Sirloin:  $27.00

Top Sirloin: $27.00

Fries:  $8.00

Fries: $8.00

Maureen ordered the pork tenderloin with crumbed belly, honey glazed chicory, pear, fennel and celery salad.  While the pork still had a pink hue and so was not over-cooked, the dish definitely needed more sauce as there just wasn’t enough causing the dish to lack oomph.

Pork Tenderloin:  $27.00

Pork Tenderloin: $27.00

Tania ordered the market fish of the day that was crispy blue-eyed trevalla with samfire, mussels, saffron potatoes with a lemon, caper and parsley butter.  There was a wonderful combination of ingredients in this dish, especially with the samfire.  The fish was very tender and broke up with a nudge from the fork and hooray, there was plenty of sauce.

Market Fish:  $26.00

Market Fish: $26.00

We didn’t need dessert but couldn’t leave without one.  It was Maureen and John’s wedding anniversary so appropriately they shared a milk chocolate marquise with honeycomb and strawberries.  They did find it very rich and the honeycomb had gone a bit gooey but it was a very hot and humid night and those are the conditions that wreck havoc on honeycomb.

Banoffee, banana and chocolate iced parfait with caramel and praline:  $12.00

Milk chocolate marquise: $12.00

Tania and I shared the three-cheese platter with apple chutney, quince and lavosh.  Would anyone mind if I announced I’m not a fan of lavosh?  I prefer a much harder cracker with more crunch but anyway, the three cheeses were excellent and nicely at room temperature.  I thought the apple chutney went so well with the blue cheese.

Three cheeses with apple chutney, quince and lavosh

Three cheeses with apple chutney, quince and lavosh

Downstairs is a British-inspired restaurant that offers a cosy dining experience.  The menu isn’t extensive but adequate for the size of the restaurant.  The wait staff are very attentive and always nearby without hovering.  The food needs a few tweaks here and there but overall, if you are nostalgic for a British-inspired menu, you will love Downstairs.  And definitely start off at The Hazy Rose.

Outdoor dining  area

Outdoor dining area

Verdict:  Somewhere for the ex-pats.

Outdoor dining at Downstairs

Looking through to the street

Downstairs Restaurant:  83 Stanley Street, Darlinghurst, NSW 2010
Tel. 0420 645 373

Proudly British

Proudly British

And thank you Maureen, John and Tania for your wonderful company xx

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Comments

  1. I bet it was a fun evening Charlie – must say that fish dish Tania ordered looks fab.

  2. love the fries and the asparagus but am confused about chicken liver parfait – I thought parfait was a dessert in layers of cream and fruit etc in tall glasses – place sounds interesting and a fun place to go

  3. Sounds like you had a fun evening together.

  4. I’m with you on the lavosh thing – I find it is just too much like cardboard.

  5. Yes I go for the fish dish! Not being a big fan of red meat myself, this looks good. Have you noticed lately that restaurants give you very little or no sauces or relishes with meals? It seems to be a thing. And I don’t like it one bit. Bring back the sauce!! Lucky you to catch up with Maureen. I bet you had a fun night.

  6. I was so lucky to spend that time with you and Tania. I can’t ever convey how much my friendship with you both means. I haven’t laughed that much in a long time AND I ate black pudding squares for the first time ever. 🙂

  7. Sounds like a great night! Sorry we missed it, it would have been great to catch up! x

  8. Manu wouldn’t be happy with the lack of sauce on those plates would he? I’d have been elbowing John out of the way for those chips – nice to see they were proper handout fat chips and not fries. I bet you talked and talked for hours….

    • Well these were a more anglais than franglais than French dishes . . were they not 😀 !! Pete would stare him down 😀 !!

  9. I always enjoy seeing the variety of foods you eat, most of which are unfamiliar to me.

  10. Too bad that steak didn’t taste as good as it looked! Everything looked very tasty. My mom and I ate in a British bar in a coastal town in Maine a couple of years ago and it was fabulous! Great menu choices and an entire page packed with gluten free choices.

    Love the dimly lit bar, a great way to start the evening!

  11. What a fun time you had! So nice you got to share in Maureen and John’s anniversary celebration! Thanks for all the wonderful pictures, and great report.

  12. That milk chocolate marquise with honeycomb and strawberries that Maureen and John ordered sounds fantastic – though I’ve never had honeycomb before. Love the lighting in this place!

  13. Everything looked great! I like lavash, but if it was the soft kind, that doesn’t do well with cheese. I like sturdier bread with cheese. It’s great you got to visit with Maureen and John and Tania. Always fun to hang out with fellow foodies.

  14. The food at the restaurant looks nice enough, but it is The Hazy Rose that grabs me. I love the concept in general and just everything about it–the coziness, the furniture…all of it appeals. You have such lovely options near you–how great is that?

  15. What a lovely restaurant and fabulous company. So great to hear that the Australian bloggers are able to visit and share good food with each other!

  16. Interesting review Charlie! I bet it was fun catching up too. If only Maureen lived closer!

  17. Very good prices. Some pub prices are heading to the over $30.00 mark for a main so these offerings look very good for the price.

  18. How likely to finally be able to meet up together! Isn’t that one of the loveliest things about blogging, that you make so many wonderful friends with so much in common 🙂
    The food certainly looks pretty, the plating is lovely- shame it didn’t quite live up to its looks. The steak with crumbled marrow would have been such a let down 🙁 xo xo

  19. I’m with you on the lavosh for cheese. Ok for dip but not great for cheese. What a wonderful night! Now you all need to come to Brisbane so we can repeat the dinner here?

  20. You Aussie bloggers are such fun! Thanks for sharing your lovely evening with us all 🙂

  21. Beautiful food makes me so hungry!!! I’m glad you were able to focus on the photography before digging in. Nothing is worse than realizing you’ve already eaten some of the entrée before taking its picture!!

  22. G’day What a great get together with Maureen, John and Tania ….that would have been Charlie!
    Happy Anniversary John and Maureen!
    Friendships are priceless and laughter is always the best medicine!
    Your post brightened my day! Thank you!
    Cheers! Joanne

  23. Maybe this post partly explains how you stay so active and athletic, Charlie =) Applause, applause to you for loving liver parfait…I like pate, too, but the main attraction on any menu for me is dessert! As for the Hazy Rose and Downstairs looks like the wait staff is wonderful. Equally wonderful is the ambience for this Anglophile! P.s. “Cheeky” Right? To have a church pew in the bar =)

  24. Awesome company, Maureen is the greatest 😀 Truly! Seems like a great night!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  25. Thanks for meeting up with us Charlie. It was so good to have the two of you in one room. We need more cocktails and more time

  26. Sounds like it was an all around tasty meal! Love the ambiance as well!

  27. Looks like you all had a great time together …. I’ve heard that John did not like his dish.. I really like these fat chips as well :)…

  28. How wonderful that you got together with Maureen and John, I am sure you had an amazing time, sounds like a neat place for drinks and food..

  29. Sounds like a wonderful evening Charlie!!

  30. What a fun time with fellow bloggers…and the food look pretty good.
    Hope you are enjoying the rest of your week Charlie 🙂

  31. Looks like a cool restaurant/pub with a good vibe. And your food looked pretty, even if lacking sauce on some dishes. I’m with you on lavash. It has a rather papery texture to me.

  32. what a cool joint!

  33. Gorgeous food and surroundings, I love dimly lit bars don’t you? I always feel so much more relaxed. And all those plates, all different – i loved that.. have a wonderful day.. c

  34. I love the look and the ambience of this restaurant and it looks fantastic. I especially love the look of the spatchcock (which I’ve never cooked before). I did see some in Coles the other day though, so I think I’m tempted to give them a go!

  35. I love the way you dine with your friends. Each opportunity is a real experience and not just a place to stop and eat. We were at a hotel this weekend for our son’s wedding reception and it was geared to very young people–I think Archie would have loved it for all of the very high energy music and party atmosphere. The bar areas were anything but quiet and dimly lit–I would have liked something a bit more like what you’ve shared here–very relaxing and conducive to good conversation. I spent the night yelling to be heard, and never heard what anyone else had to say. 🙂

  36. This is a fun read. Too bad John’s steak was tough. I love the fish.

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