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Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Stitch Bar, Sydney

Stitch Bar is all about fun. It's there at the entrance, from the spools of thread in the window to the Singer sewing machine propping open the door.

The basement bar is one of the city's smallest, and it feels like half of Sydney is already here, cocktails in hand and chattering up a storm.

Stitch Bar

All the action is happening around the bar, a vision of gleaming bottles framed by sewing machine covers hanging overhead. The cocktail list is huge with 28 concoctions on the menu, priced between $17 and $21.50.

The boys behind the bar are a frenzy of activity, shaking those cocktail shakers like their lives depended on it.

We've come for the bar menu of course, and are dismayed to find that even at 6pm, every table is taken. There's no waiting list, a waitress tells us, so we're forced to hover around the dining area until we eventually pounce on a departing table. You can make reservations for tables if you call in advance - we're definitely doing that the next time we visit.

Hand cut chunks $10
Hand cut crispy potatoes with roasted garlic and rosemary sea salt

The dining area is a haphazard collection of stools, chairs and tables with booth seating along one wall. A couple of barrels pass for tables in one section, and we spy a large table with tea lights cosily tucked into a wall recess in the back corner. Beneath the entrance stairs is the stockroom, a locked cage of wine bottles with a pint-sized entrance that forces bar star to bend themselves in half just to enter.

Burgers and hot dogs make up the bulk of the menu, all priced to give you minimal change from $20. Lime-roasted nuts (pistachios, almonds, hazelnuts and sour cherries) and plates of dip with grilled sourdough cost $14 each, but we stick with the hand cut crisp potatoes to start us off instead.

The potatoes arrive quickly, blistering hot and piled until overflowing in a small metal mixing bowl. Only the smallest pieces are super crunchy, but the whole roasted garlic cloves are a treat, and we peel off their papery skins to get at the caramelised pod inside.

Mack ducky dog with curly fries $19
Duck, orange and pistachio sausage with foie gras de canard and truffle sauce

Between the five of us, we manage to cover most of the hot dog options. Suze only has (crazy) eyes for the Mack Ducky Dog - it was the promise of foie gras that did it.

The Flyn'n Hawaiian with curly fries $17
Chicken and rocket sausage with pineapple, bacon and honey mustard

The hot dogs come out on paper-lined metal plates, the sausages lightly charred from the grill. The sausages are meaty and not too greasy, and the buns are soft but substantial - not the squishy kind you get from the supermarket, but proper baked ones with a faintly sweet crust.

The French poodle $17
Toulouse style sausage, red wine and garlic with Tarago River Gippsland brie, pickled pear and dijon mustard

Wild pig dog with curly fries $17
Wild boar sausage with spiced apple, rum-soaked currants and creamy slaw

I'd gone for the wild boar sausage, livened by a generous trail of coleslaw although I can't detect much alcohol in the rum-soaked currants.

BLT with curly fries $19
Beef burger with smokey chillies, bacon, lettuce, vine-ripened tomatoes, mayonnaise, mustard, dill pickles and cheese

Richard's BLT burger is forgotten initially, but we chase it up and it arrives after another five minute wait. It's a squat but chunky burger, speared together with a pickle-topped skewer. The other burgers on offer include the cheeky-sounding Big Bird turkey burger ($19) as well as pork, vegetable and lamb (all $16). The burrito ($16) comes with chorizo and crispy potatoes.

Curly fries

Our only quibble was that our curly fries all arrived stone cold, and tasted heavy on the tongue with congealed oil. They weren't particularly crunchy either but the heavy dusting of chilli powder was a surprise.

Ash St Cellar

Chocolate and date tart (tart of the day) $14

We're celebrating Richard's birthday so we move on in search of dessert. A quick scout around the dessert menus in the area leads us to Ash St Cellar. I saw the crazy eyes in Richard when he spotted the chocolate and dart tart on display in the window.

The laneway in the middle of the Ivy complex is buzzing. It's a balmy evening and there are plenty of happy people dining al fresco at Ash St Cellar and Felix bistro. Staff are happy for us to dine in for dessert, although we end up at an outdoor table, right next to the door that leads down to the bathrooms.

The chocolate and dart tart is gorgeously glossy with a super rich filling that is a balance of dark chocolate chocolate and cream. The tart shell is short and crisp and though the double cream is tempting, we don't end up eating much of it as the tart isn't overly sweet. 

Vanilla creme brulee with Pedro Ximenez sherry prunes $14

We also share the vanilla creme brulee, covered in a thick rink of toffee that is deliciously bitter. Beneath the silky layer of custard is a muddle of sherry-soaked prunes, delicious on their own, but I find it interferes too much with the languid texture of the custard. The inclusion of prunes also seems to echo the dates in our chocolate tart, an odd repetition given these are the only two desserts available on the menu.

But who's complaining? We finished every last bit of it. And how can you beat a night with friends, cocktails, hot dogs and dessert.

View Larger Map
Stitch on Urbanspoon

61 York Street, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9299 2719

Opening hours:
Monday to Saturday 4pm-12am

View Larger Map
Ash Street Cellar on Urbanspoon

1 Ash St, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9240 3000

Opening hours:
Monday to Friday 12pm-late
24 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 4/06/2011 04:59:00 am


  • At 4/06/2011 7:01 am, Anonymous chocolatesuze said…

    bahahahahhaa crazy eyes! that hot dog was deeeeelicious!

  • At 4/06/2011 7:11 am, Anonymous john@heneedsfood said…

    Stitch looks like a nice and cosy place to lounge about. Look at that glorious cheese on the BLT burger! *smackinglips*

  • At 4/06/2011 8:29 am, Anonymous Tina@foodboozeshoes said…

    I'm thinking that a Stitch burger is in order for me next time - love the skewered pickle look

  • At 4/06/2011 9:07 am, Anonymous gastronomous anonymous said…

    I love stitch bar but have never eaten there! the hot dog looks frigging awesome!

  • At 4/06/2011 9:24 am, Blogger joey@forkingaroundsydney said…

    Ooo, I love fun, and curly fries, and chocolate tart. Stone cold fries? Send them back! :-/

  • At 4/06/2011 9:27 am, Blogger Apple said…

    Oooo I'm a sucker for cocktails.
    The hand cut potato chucks look mouthwatering and crunchy!
    Sounds like a really friendly atmosphere.

  • At 4/06/2011 9:40 am, Blogger Mel said…

    Stich bar looks so cute! Pity about the cold fries as they look pretty tasty from the photo. I laughed at Suze's "crazy eyes" - I get those too for most things!

  • At 4/06/2011 10:12 am, Blogger Stephcookie said…

    I really really want a hot dog now!

  • At 4/06/2011 10:12 am, Blogger Loira said…

    Heya - I was at Stitch Bar last Friday - the curly fries, in my opinion - WERE FREGGIN AWESOME! Ours came out nice, hot and spicy! Sure, they weren't so crunchy, but I didn't mind that - the chilli was the most delightful surprise! :o)

  • At 4/06/2011 11:02 am, Anonymous Chanel said…

    I'm a fan of hotdogs, and Stitch's look great! And Ash St Cellar's tart is so glossy and rich-looking... This is making me hungry! :D

  • At 4/06/2011 11:06 am, Blogger susan said…

    Yum that chocolate and date tart looks amazing. My type of dessert!

  • At 4/06/2011 11:48 am, Anonymous Hannah said…

    Ooooh!! Those desserts! I'm not normally a huge chocolate desssert eater but that really does sound amazing with the dates! Oh, fiddlesticks to holy bucket darn for having to fly back Friday afternoon!

    You know, though, bus fares aren't too expensive, so perhaps we could arrange a weekend in future... :D

  • At 4/06/2011 12:20 pm, Anonymous Jacq said…

    hahaha you just reminded me of the dude making the cocktails and how vigourously he shook that cocktail shaker! Mmmm I could definitely go for some more of those caramelised garlic cloves right now!

  • At 4/06/2011 2:31 pm, Anonymous Hotly Spiced said…

    I would just love the recipe for the chocolate and date tart. It looks incredible.

  • At 4/06/2011 2:44 pm, Blogger sugarpuffi said…

    at first i was like OMG that curly fries looks awesome! then i read ur description and im like ew :(

  • At 4/06/2011 10:48 pm, Blogger Jen said…

    I'll have the BLT and the chocolate tart thanks!

  • At 4/06/2011 10:51 pm, Anonymous Steven said…

    Thank you very much for this post. All photos look awesome! Your post and pics just made me hungry and they made me wanna visit this place. Plus the extra: my grandma had the exact same Singer in the hall of the house. :) Thank you again!

  • At 4/07/2011 9:08 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I love Curly fries and love the name they give to all the different hot dogs.

  • At 4/07/2011 9:49 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Food seems a bit pricey but I guess it's alright given the interesting flavour combos available. A shame on the curly fries, the hand cut chunks look much better.

  • At 4/07/2011 1:17 pm, Anonymous RGL said…

    Make me feel extreme hungry now!I really love the sausage posted!Very juicy and fresh!

  • At 4/08/2011 8:41 am, Anonymous The Richest Girl in Bondi said…

    Love the idea of Stitch Bar, I never go out in the city... might have to make an exception

  • At 4/08/2011 11:49 pm, Anonymous Jenn Brigole said…

    The place seem very interesting.. and busy. Definitely one I should make a reservation sometime soon. :) I have got to taste that Wild Pig Dog!

  • At 4/09/2011 4:24 pm, Anonymous sara @ Belly Rumbles said…

    Those curly fries are the thinnest ones I have seen, crunch heaven.

  • At 5/25/2011 3:34 pm, Anonymous Miss Feathers said…

    When I was there, my chips were served cold as well. On a weeknight it's just too crowded with the after works suits in there! When it first opened you could always get a booth. I love the red wines of offer and it's about time some funky bars started opening up around the CBD.


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