Thursday, 10 October 2013

Taste Test - Bar de Halcyon

RW who shares an office with MD and I decided to leave us and we thought that was a good excuse to organise an outing after work.  So I got busy sending out emails to the rest of the team as we brainstormed venues and RW came up with Bar de Halcyon, a newcomer to Wolf Lane.

I tried to book a table as there were about 10 of us but was told that they don't take bookings and that we shouldn't have a problem getting a table after work on a Thursday.  When we arrived at about 5pm it was still relatively empty downstairs but it was more than half full upstairs and lucky enough we were able to secure a table upstairs to fit 10 people.



There wasn't any food available when we arrived, so we ordered our drinks first.  Me being me, ordered a cocktail called Bacon Bad because it sounded interesting.  Sometimes interesting works in my favour but sometimes I kick myself for being adventurous and this time I had to kick myself.  The Bacon Bad was made up with bacon vodka (made by infusing vodka with real crispy bacon), tomato juice, Worchestershire sauce and celery salt as described on their cocktail menu but also contained the secret ingredient Tabasco sauce.  The cocktail left an unpleasant taste at the back of my throat and not really my cup of tea, however RW who also tried the Bacon Bad didn't mind it.  I couldn't finish my Bacon Bad because I didn't like it and there were traces of bacon fat splattered around my glass so I had to order a glass of white instead.


Bacon Bad $18
Bar de Halcyon works on a honesty system, meaning patrons are expected to self serve, keep the sticks that accompany each pintxos (meaning small snack in Spanish) they help themselves to and they trust that you keep your sticks and pay at the counter when you leave.  This is how they do it in Spain but I'm not sure it will work too well here as it only takes a few bad apples to ruin the system and I already witnessed first hand of a bloke throwing away his stick.

Caught on display
  • Jamon with Roasted Garlic Crostini $2.50
  • Chorizo Croquette $3
  • Sausage Rolls $3
  • Artichoke, Pepper and Manchego Crostini $2.50
  • Scallop Ceviche $4
  • Pork Belly with Hazelnuts $5
  • Beetroot, Goats Curd and Walnut Salad $4
  • Wagyu Burgers $6
  • Smoked Salmon with Caper Mayonnaise $3

Food and presentation - 3.5/5
Food was pretty good, but as the hot food was kept in a warmer if you don't get the food as soon as they put it out it can become a bit soggy.   This was the case for my sausage roll and the crostini which tasted good but wasn't very fresh.  The scallop ceviche needed something else to give it a bit of a kick but in saying that I was pleased that the scallop (which was raw) and the accompanying herbs were nice and fresh.  The pork belly was quite tasty and hubby said the wagyu burger was yummy too.  They were serving paella just before we left and as I was way too full, I just had a taste from KZ's bowl; the paella was mediocre and didn't taste very authentic.  Overall, everyone was pretty happy with the food as well as the atmosphere.
Jamon with Roasted Garlic Crostini $2.50
Chorizo Croquette $3
Sausage Rolls $3
Artichocke Pepper and Manchego Crostini $2.50
Scallop Ceviche $4
Pork Belly with Hazelnuts $5
Beetroot, Goats Curd and Walnut Salad $4
Wagyu Burgers $6
Smoked Salmon with Caper Mayonnaise $3
Service - 3/5
The staff were a bit too cool for school and not particularly friendly.  They did however, clear our plates and glasses at regular intervals and as the night progressed they brought some of the food around to save people from going up to the warmer all the time, but apart from that nothing to rave about.

Atmosphere - 4/5
Loved the lively atmosphere.  We were sat upstairs and we loved the lights that covered the ceiling.  I liked the whole chemistry display as you enter Bar de Halcyon but the rest of the decor was a mish mash that didn't quite work for me.  The art work was a bit random and didn't match the rest of the bar.

Value for money - 3.5/5
I was a bit worried when I went up to pay for my sticks because I had quite a few sticks but it ended up only being $34 and that was after my hubby came and ate a couple more pintxos so it would've worked out to be less than $30 which is pretty good for the amount of food and the atmosphere.  Drinks on the other hand were expensive but this has not been taken into account here.

Wouldn't mind returning for another round of pintxos but definitely won't be getting another bacon cocktail.

Taste Test Total Score 14/20

Bar de Halcyon on Urbanspoon