Since we first reviewed The Cliff Dive in Darlinghurst in late 2013, a lot has changed. New alcohol laws came into place with lockouts in Sydney’s CBD at 1.30 am and last drinks at 3 am. If that wasn’t enough to impact the thriving Sydney night scene, new bans came into effect in mid-July banning shots, doubles and pre-mixed drinks after midnight.
After establishing itself as a popular late night venue, The Cliff Dive now invites earlier dining and imbibing with Yurippi, a new food concept and serious Tiki cocktails.
Photography © by Kevin Burke for Gourmantic – Copyright: All rights reserved.
Yurippi brings South East Asian street food in a combination of flavours that takes you to an island paradise. Chef Honky’s menu is inspired by his travels to Japan and has brought a winning combination of sweet, hot and soy based flavours to the kitchen. Think grilled sticks of tender Octopus with Chilli and Ginger, fragrant Chicken with Lemongrass and Sweet Tamarind Sauce, Beef with Wild Ginger and Sweet Soy, even Tofu with Chilli and Tamarind and Som Tom Sauce goes down a treat.
Skewers can be ordered individually ($3 each, a minimum of two), or you can order The Hungry Honky, ($16) with five skewers, one of each grilled stick, with a side of pickled vegies in homemade sweet chilli and a moist Pandan coconut rice.
The marinades are prepared in-house by Honky himself, who only a few weeks ago was a mechanical engineer with a long-time passion for food, cooking Yakitori sticks at market stalls on the weekends. After frequenting Yakitori bars in Japan, he translated the concept to a South East Asian theme that works very well with the Tiki cocktails. As for the name, Yurippi, it is a tribute to one of his teachers, a woman who was known to enjoy eating.
When it comes to drinks, The Cliff Dive remains a rum-focussed bar with 40 expressions on the back bar including some rare and aged rums. Not for the faint-hearted, the Lemon Hart 151 Demerara Rum from Guyana is bottled at 75.5% ABV, a tasty spirit rich in caramel vanilla, gentle oak with a dry and chewy mouthfeel.
Michael Chiem (ex Sokyo, Black by Ezard and Bulletin Place) has joined the team as the drinks creative director, and has crafted new Tiki cocktails including adaptations of the classics such as Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic. And before 10.30 pm, you can now enjoy them in glassware or custom-made ceramic Tiki mugs.
The Cliff Dive Big Cup for 3 ($35) is a large version of the Fish House Punch, a delicious and perfectly balanced mix of rum, peach liqueur, bandy and citrus topped with Prosecco served in a large ceramic bowl. The cocktail is designed for three persons but can easily be enjoyed by two. When cocktails with ice eventually get diluted, The Cliff Dive uses large pieces of rock ice for minimal dilution and the drink retains its strength till the end.
Don The Beachcombers Zombie ($22) is one of the best zombie drinks around, not only for the cute green Tiki mug who looks as if he has a headache. The cocktail is again a perfect balance of Bacardi rum, Appleton rum, house-made falernum, Pernod for a touch of anise, grenadine and citrus with cinnamon sugar syrup that cuts through any sweetness.
If you like the flavour of bananas, Mr Cavendish ($17) is the drink for you. This version is made with Bacardi 8, tequila, white rum, roast bananas, citrus and orange bitters. A female-friendly cocktail, it is fruit forward and if you’re not friends with tequila, its flavour is not overpowering.
Trader Vic’s Mai Tai ($18) is another well-crafted drink made with Bacardi 8, rhum, Cointreau line and orgeat (almond syrup). Three Dots and a Dash ($17) combines rum with falernum, pimento – both house-made – honey, lime and bitters garnished with edible cherries that have soaked up the flavour. Served in a pineapple, The Pina Colada ($21) keeps it light and approachable with the use of fresh coconut water and pineapple puree with rum, salted pineapple and Chinese 5 spice. One sip takes you to a tropical island. All is missing is a hammock.
If Tiki drinks and rum-based cocktails aren’t for you, you can order off the menu. You’ll find a list of 15 beers including the Brooklyn Lager, Moo Brew and 4 Pines as well as concise wine list, including a wine from China, available by the glass and the bottle.
With Yurippi, The Cliff Dive is a great venue to catch up with friends after work or take someone on a first date. Come in early, enjoy well-crafted cocktails in Tiki vessels with tasty bites to match, stay on until the beat of the music gets you up dancing on the underwater dance floor and you’ll have the best of both worlds.
The Cliff Dive is featured in our list of Sydney’s Best Rum Bars.
Yurippi at The Cliff Dive
16–18 Oxford Square, Oxford Street
Hours: Wed to Sat 6pm–3am