by Jonathan Leeming in Cool Travel on Thursday 21 November 2013

The leafy terrace of The Cottage Bar & Kitchen, located in the beautiful Sydney suburb of Balmain, gently hints at the wine bar inside, which feels like your grandmother’s farmhouse, containing an eclectic mismatch of kitsch and vintage furniture yet serving impeccably fresh and exquisitely presented cocktails.

It’s the perfect venue for the trendy yet laid-back suburb, wowing its visitors with an unusual selection of melt-in-the-mouth food, which includes everything from kingfish ceviche served on plantain chips; pumpkin mousse with goats cheese and pickled pumpkin; through seared scallops garnished with prosciutto; and the most epic calamari I’ve tasted in a long while.

With its new courtyard for alfresco dining, main courtyard which regularly has live music, and upstairs lounge (with sofas so comfy you could fall asleep in them), The Cottage offers something for everyone.

I’d suggest starting off with Mum’s Apple Pie, a bitter-sweet cocktail served long and made with one of the world’s most delicious spirits, 23 year-old Ron Zacapa. Next, you’d probably be happy with a Remember Me In The Morning, a refreshing martini-style fruit concoction mixed with egg-white to give it an unusual, frothing texture.

Perhaps the most bizarre and memorable highlight though was the Fairground Plate, essentially a dessert degustation of fairground-themed puddings like fairy floss, toffee apples, popcorn, peanut brittle, marshmallows, and ice-cream. Yum!

If you prefer something a touch more civilised, there’s a healthily diverse wine-list. And given it’s only 15 minutes from the CBD, it’s certainly worth a visit. And a taxi ride home afterwards.