Australiana is the concept of South Yarra’s newest bar-restaurant addition, The Sweetwater Inn. I stumbled accross this place during a stroll along Chapel Street on a balmy night last week. It looked like a quaint backyard gathering, nicely fenced with cuts of wood and dainty tealights dispersed around.
So, to kick off my Easter long weekend I decided to try out The Sweetwater Inn last night. The decor of this place is just plain cool. Australiana it certainly was, accentuated by it’s unique menu (which I’ll get to in a minute). Back to the decor. It felt very outbackish, then at times it felt like I was sitting in a saloon back in Nashville, Tennessee. Now I have never been to Tennessee but I imagine if I did this is what it would look like. Then other times it felt like a South African shebeen and then again, like I was on a ship from the 1800’s.
The place is a labour of love as described by one of it’s three owners, Benn Wood. This is reflected by all the tasteful nicknacks used in it’s fitout, for example the stuffed eagle, rusted woodsaw, horseshoe and yes even a cattle skull, special contributions from special friends. The ambience of this place blew me away. It is romantic, delicate, earthy, cosy, relaxing and just a nice place to be.
Now let’s get onto the menu. I’m a words person (hence the blogging) so I like to read a good menu. The descriptives on this menu had my mouth watering. “BBQ pulled lamb with Beetroot BBQ Sauce: lamb shoulder, slowly smoked over lemon myrtle and back tea, coated in a sticky beetroot bbq sauce, piled high over slaw in a damper roll. Served with baby roast potatoes and onions.” I’m not a massive meat-eater but I would totally scoff that down!
In the spirit of the Easter season, I decided to go with seafood. “Cider and Chilli Mussels” which came out in a billy served with damper on a wooden platter. The flavours of this dish were light and delicate and the damper dipped in broth, as usual, was the best saved for last.
The drinks menu is also full of goodies and good quality liquors like Beetroot or Bacon Infused Vodka, Smoked Stolen Gold Rum (smoked on premises) and Fireball Whiskey.
In a nutshell, apart from the quality food and drinks, what I think this place offers is really an experience, weather you sit down and dine or are there just for a few drinks. It is well themed, the service is amazing and the staff are authentic. I think they’ve got it right.
Address: 60 Bray Street, South Yarra
Entrees: $8 – $24
Mains: $12 – $18
Cocktails: $10 – $18