Now that the cool weather has set in, time to bunker down in one of Sydney’s favourite bars. Set in the heart of the CBD, The Lobo Plantation has released an autumn cocktail menu to warm the palate and chase away the cold weather blues.
The Lobo Planation, Sydney
Step down into the underground den and into a world where rum rules and Cuban sugar baron Julio Lobo and Ernest Hemingway would feel right at home.
Since the first visit in 2013, the cocktail menu has significantly changed featuring new additions alongside Lobo favourites and an enticing new Latin-inspired food menu.
Grapefruit Lavender Fizz
Start with the Grapefruit Lavender Fizz ($17), a Lobo twist on the classic fizz with Havana Club 3yo rum, Dolin Blanc vermouth, grapefruit, lavender sherbet, egg white, shaken and topped with soda. Set to be dubbed as the “rubber duck cocktail”, it’s a fresh and easy-drinking combination of rum and fruit that is light on the palate, an ideal first drink which makes for easy sipping.
For a non-rum option, The Boxcutter ($17) makes a good starter with a combination of Beefeater Gin and sloe gin, Dolin dry vermouth and sour lavender syrup finished with a perfumed essence. Floral and elegant, the drink is lightly perfumed with a mist of rectified spirit with lemon, lime and orange peel, rose and lavender with secret spices and lengthened with water. This is a well-balanced drink with a feminine side that makes a good first impression.
Served in a silver tankard, the Rum Cannonball ($17) bears “Think Like A Pirate, Drink Like A Pirate” as a description. This moreish mix of Havana Club 3yo rum with vanilla infused rosso vermouth, lime, falernum, fresh orange juice and nutmeg is a fine balance of rum, spice and fruit in a shaken cocktail topped with crushed ice. If you like your rum drinks with a little more body and laced with spice, this is the one for you.
From the Limited Editions collection comes a more complex cocktail. Castro’s Sour ($19) accentuates the flavour profile of its base spirit, Zacapa 23 rum. This twist on a rum sour has chocolate infused Aperol, toasted almond syrup, freshly squeezed lemon juice, egg white and a dash of Angostura bitters and comes garnished with handmade shards of orange chocolate. Sip, nibble and sip again for an exquisite balance of flavours.
The Penicilina ($18) is one of the favourites from the original menu. Based on Sam Ross‘ modern classic, the Penicillin cocktail, it undergoes a Lobo twist. Here it is made with Espolón tequila, a spicy housemade ginger and jalapeño syrup, fresh lemon, a pinch of smoked salt and a peat spray of Laphroaig single malt. It’s hot, spicy and smoky – and it’s a taste sensation. If you can stand the heat, have a tiny nibble of the jalapeño garnish but be warned, this drink comes with a caution – it is spicy and oh-so-delicious.
Coco’s Old Fashioned
Edging its way into the sweeter style of cocktails, Coco’s Old Fashioned ($19) makes use of Lobo’s fat-washed coconut rum with vanilla bean, banana vermouth, stirred down with pimento bitters and fig and cinnamon bitters. The result is a sweet and fruity rum infusion that has you dreaming of a holiday in the Caribbean.
If you’re feeling peckish, don’t head out the door. The new food menu is full of Latin-inspired temptations.
New Bar Food Menu: Empanadas, Croquetas, Albondigas, Cuban Sandwich
Through a partnership with The Urban Cooking Collective (UCC), delicious bar food with a Latin heritage showcase head chef Vicki’s family recipes from South America.
The Croquetas ($12 for 2 pcs) are pure comfort food and one of those gooey, feel-good bar bites that you need after a cocktail or two. They come in two flavours, smoked ham hock and cheese, and 12 hour slow cooked pulled pork and mushroom. Order both, as you may have trouble choosing a favourite.
If you’re a fan of meatballs, don’t pass on Albondigas or Mama’s Meatballs ($12 for 3 pcs). These delicious orbs are made of pork and beef in a smoky tomato sauce topped with shaved manchego.
Empanadas (3 per serve) come in a choice of carne $11 (slow braised beef, smoked paprika, raisins and olives), pollo $11 (shredded chicken, leek and parmesan sauce) and a vegetarian option ($9.50) with corn, capsicum and cheese all served with a spicy tomato sauce.
Da Big Bawse
We’re saving the best till last. Sink your teeth in Da Big Bawse ($12), Lobo’s answer to the Cuban sandwich. This generous serving of slow-cooked pulled pork, triple smoked ham, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, pickles, mayo and Dijon mustard in between Schiacciata bread is worth coming back for again and again, and is one of the best value bar food around.
When it comes to the cocktail to end the night, order Lobo’s Cigar Box Blazer ($34) and watch the theatrics at play.
Cigar Box Blazer
Matusalem 23 yo rum, cacao, cane syrup, chocolate bitters are added to a balloon glass then set alight with a cinnamon quill.
Dre Walters with the Cigar Box Blazer
The warmed liquid is then poured into a glass,
Cigar Box Blazer
and served inside a cigar box with a dessicated orange slice, orange chocolate, a copy of the daily edition of the Diario de la Marina newspaper, and an ornamental cigar.
The Ultimate Nightcap with Newspaper and Ornamental Cigar
Hemingway’s nightcap as it is called, is an excellent blazer and a drink to be savoured slowly to the last drop – smooth, warming with a long finish.
Lobo Rum Journal
If you’re tempted to try something other than cocktails on your next visit, Lobo’s Rum Journal features a selection of rum flights featuring 6 rums starting from $60 to the High Roller’s Private Jet ($399) which features some rare rums from the vintage rum cabinet. Think El Dorado EHP from Guyana, Santa Teresa Bicentennial from Venezuela and Appleton Estate 50 yo from Jamaica.
So leave the world outside and descend into the warmth of The Lobo Plantation. With well-crafted drinks, good food and friendly banter, you may never want to leave.
Photography © by Kevin Burke for Gourmantic – Copyright: All rights reserved.
The Lobo Plantation
Basement, 209 Clarence Street, Sydney