When we reported last year that Rockpool would close and reopen as Eleven Bridge, one of the major concerns in the GT office was whether the signature chicken wings with kombu butter would remain. They did, luckily, along with the famed date tart, but there was still a prize piece of the puzzle missing: the bar menu.
And now, without any warning, Eleven Bridge chef Phil Wood and his team have brought it back.
"I didn't want to put too much strain on the waiters and team too early on after the name and menu change," says Wood. "Now we're ready for it to come back. It's the kind of food that I like to eat, and I'm just really thrilled to give people the option."
Along with the à la carte offering in the restaurant, diners now have the option to perch at one of the five bar stools for the likes of Sydney rock oysters with turmeric dressing, Sterling caviar and blini or a plate of those chicken wings. Wood will also offer a choice of three hand-rolled pastas - right now it's strozzapreti with crustacean butter; or Jerusalem artichoke, endive and parmesan, and tagliatelle with a vegetarian ma po doufu.
"The service and the food are the same quality," he says, "but there's something great about how the formality drops slightly when you're sitting at a bar. Suddenly you don't feel bad about only drinking cocktails throughout dinner."
Inspired by the success of the Eleven Bridge Deliveroo burgers, the bar menu will also include a selection of "steamed sangas" such as hot and numbing chicken with macadamia and duck-egg mayonnaise, and a special $47 number stuffed with blue swimmer crab.
Wood can't wait for the bar to take off. "You've got that nice busy hum of the restaurant around you, the bartender right in front of you to chat with, and the kitchen window is like live kitchen TV," he says. "Plus our bar stools are really comfy."
Eleven Bridge, 11 Bridge St, Sydney, NSW, (02) 9252 888, rockpool.com