Let’s make Sydney’s Laneways great! And with great cocktails and solid Italian food, Next Door is making a good start of it.
I like a bar and restaurant with a story, and the birth of Next Door involved wanting to capitalise on the space next door to Made in Italy, and bring in some of the punters sitting eating pizza in the alley, into a small bar serving kick-arse cocktails. So, you get to benefit from a long-established kitchen, and kick back with a drink in a cosy, almost hidden atmosphere.
It’s in the right location too. Tucked away on York Lane behind Wynyard Station, I think they’ll be able to take advantage of the buzz that’s starting up around Barangaroo, and there are some interesting hotspots that are not so far away. You could make a night of it, really, start here, have another farther up the lane at the York Lane Bar (which looked cool, didn’t try it) and then perhaps head down Clarence Street to grab a whiskey at the Baxter Inn.
It’s also in a good location to grab a quick meal and cocktail before heading towards the Opera House or Sydney Theatre Company for a show, as even though there are a number of restaurants in those directions, I think there’s not that much choice among the good ones.
But I digress. A short selection of sensational cockatils is up for your delectation (though you could always ask for the classics) from bartender extraordinaire, Maurizio (with a great accent, you’ll feel you’re in Italy). We thought the ‘Southside of Sicily’ would be red because of the blood orange, but the blood orange liqueur is actually clear. Mixed with gin, lemon and mint with an orange twist, it was refreshing, subtle and really delicious.
I opted for the ‘Made at York Lane’ with rosemary-infused gin, aperol, fresh lemon and a sprig of rosemary. Also beautiful.
We took Maurizio’s suggestions for food. We were actually thinking of just going for the classic Margherita, and he suggested going for something more interesting. We loved the pizza, a Gamberi with prawns, oregano, parmesan, garlic and chili flakes. Thin crust, piping hot, just the right amount of cheese and spices and a prawn on every piece. The medium was just enough for the both of us, plus the pasta.
And then the pasta: the mamma mia sauce is apparently the favourite, and we could see why: italian sausage, mushrooms, fresh cream and chilli in a napoletana sauce. Rich but not too rich. We were going to have the spaghetti but got convinced to have the gnocchi, and wow: usually when I have gnocchi, though I love it, it’s just a bit heavy. You know? Aside from the extremely smart decision to split it between the both of us, these gnocchi were super light and delicate. It was really a top-notch dish.
Pasta and pizza, $18 each, and the cocktails, $16. A pretty good price point.
As I said (and have to use this joke now because the US Presidential elections will be over soon enough and hopefully Trump (and his slogans) consigned to the dustbin of history): let’s make Sydney’s laneways great.
I think the City of Sydney has done an amazing job of getting this going, and facilitating small bars to happen, but we’re still rather behind those cool laneways in Melbourne. I’ve tended to dine and drink in suburbs like Surry Hills or Potts Point rather than go to the CBD, but I’d be certainly happy to hang out more often in the CBD with cool little joints like this.
The gents at Next Door kindly shouted me and my husband for the meal and drinks, but the opinions in this review are mine.