14 August 2010

Piano Room: Swanky bar with a view, Potts Point (12 August 2010)

1 Bayswater Road, Potts Point NSW 2011

Pity about the plastic glassware

My expectations of the Piano Room were pretty low due to the fact that they have a dismal 4.1 score (16 reviews) on Eatability which didn't inspire much confidence in the establishment. Most of the negative comments are about the service or lack there of. It was actually quite funny reading through the comments because it sounded like my worst nightmare but I had some $50 vouchers from the Angela Wilson Media Launch goodie bag to use by August so I had nothing to lose except my pride if the bouncers didn't let me in. I tried twice to email the venue to be added to their 'guest list' and ask if I needed to book a table to eat but had no response. On the same night I was intending to visit with 3 other friends I received an email from Caroline from CNR Communications that a 5 week Burlesque competition was starting and we could be added to the guest list so that was great timing. Upon arriving around 7.30 pm there was no bouncers to be seen except a service staff cleaning empty Red Bull cans and rubbish from the entrance way. We walked straight in to a fairly empty bar and grabbed a nice cosy seat near the window with views down William Street.

With no wine list or drinks menu available at the bar — and hence no prices listed — I was a bit worried about ordering drinks but our energetic and fast talking bar man rattled off the prices of a couple of their Sauvignon Blanc bottles which we ended up ordering. Unfortunately all drinks are served in plastic glassware which is in stark contrast to what the decor and ambience of the place is trying to promote. And because of this rule any bottles purchased need to be kept behind the bar which made it inconvenient to get your top up when required — although thankfully our bar man was able to pop around from time to time before it got too busy. Licensing laws they say but I've never experienced this before unless it gets to witching hour late at night in bars and pubs when they swap glass for plastic or if you visit the IVY pool below the IVY Penthouse. An excellent live music band played familiar songs although at times were a tad too loud and made conversations a bit hard to hear.

The bar food menu seemed reasonably priced and we ordered a selection to graze on. The Cheese Plate ($18) with your classic selection of 3 types of cheeses was well presented and decently portioned for the price — much better value than Berta that's for sure. Satay chicken ($13) came with a spicy peanut sauce and cucumber relish and was tasty and tender. I was very impressed with the Roasted pumpkin arancini, bocconcini stuffed risotto ball ($9) which I'd happily order again. The tasty Chicken and prawn sping rolls ($13) were large in size and freshly cooked to a crispy outer shell. The impressive sized Prawns wrapped in jamon ($17) were a table favourite although weren't deveined so unfortunately I found this tainted the taste of the prawn a bit. I think a more interesting side instead of mixed lettuce leaves would make it even better — perhaps some tzatziki dip as well. I enjoyed the wafer thin slices of cured meats and tasty olives in the Antipasto ($18) although I couldn't work out where the white anchovies were, which was listed on the menu. The house made dips weren't the tastiest I've come across like at Sultan's Table but they went nicely with the grilled ciabatta. So in the end I was quite impressed with bar food on offer which was tasty, good quality and fairly reasonably priced for such a swanky style bar.

As a special treat of the night three burlesque performance came on around 10 pm. I didn't quite catch the names of the performers but I think the first act was 'Schimmy' and the third act was 'Coco' but my favourite of the night was the second double act which reminded me a bit of the cheeky and sexy Oui Oui Paris performers I saw at Alliance Francaise De Sydney Bastille Day Party — I wonder if they'd be interested in performing at my birthday :-)

PROS: Nice decor and comfy seating, Tasty bar food, Good live music, Interesting view
CONS: Plastic glassware, Bottles of wine need to be left behind the bar, Very dark, No wine or drinks menu available, Questionable service and attitude comments on Eatability, Air con was a bit chilly
MUST TRY: Roasted pumpkin arancini, bocconcini stuffed risotto ball

Waihopai Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough NZ

Cheese Plate: Vattle valey (Wattle Valley?) brie, Signature ble (blue?), Vintage cheddar with quince paste, fruit bread and lavosh $18

Satay chicken with spicy peanut sauce and cucumber relish $13

Roasted pumpkin arancini, bocconcini stuffed risotto ball with garlic aioli $9 (6 pieces)

Chicken and prawn sping rolls with spicy peanut and cucumber relish $13

Prawns wrapped in jamon with shaved fennel and olive oil $17 (3 pieces)

Antipasto - marinated vegetables, cured meats, white anchovies, olives with house made dips and grilled ciabatta $18

Live music band singing well known hits

Bar area

Seating area

Burlesque performer 1 'Coco'

Burlesque performers 2

Burlesque performer 3 'Schimmy'

Private seating area

Toilet mirror — nice!

Toilet liquid soap — where's the Aesops or L'Occitane which seems to be so popular for this area?

View looking down William Street

Piano Bar is located under the famed Coca-Cola neon sign

View Larger Map
Piano Room on Urbanspoon


Laura said...

interesting place.
I just wont go near that coke sign. EVER!

YaYa said...

I want to take that silver leopard home! $18 seems a bit pricey for the 3 wedges of cheese but the antipasto plate looks good value. More than 5 bucks per prawn and I'd expect them to be deveined if not massaged and pampered to perfection!

thang @ noodlies said...

not sure about the burlesque, but the food looked alright.. good location too

Anonymous said...

re plastic glass and bottle needing to be kept at the bar; what would you expect from a John Ibrahim & Kyle Sandilands venue? Its reputation (or is that stink?) far precedes itself. Ghastly and vulgar, that's my humble (hah!) opinion. Gobsmack'd

Simon Leong said...

hi laura, that coke icon is such a sydney icon i think it'll be there for ever. pity it represents something not that healthy.

hi yaya, hehe me too although i don't think it'll fit through my door. i find it's pretty hard to get a plate of 3 cheeses for under $20 these days but if you know a good place please let me know. for $5 a prawn i would expect deveined as well :-( although an extra one would have been nice too with some tartare sauce

hi thang, you gotta give burlesque a go. it's pretty harmless and can be quite entertaining.

hi gobsmack'd, haven't heard from you for ages :-) i knew about mr ibrahim but thanks for letting me know about kyle — very interesting indeed. that would indeed explain possibly the plastic glassware. the patrons seems pretty relaxed so perhaps it's on crazy busy nights that things might get a bit out of control?

Simon Food Favourites Map

View Simon Food Favourites in a larger map Key: BLUE - Location visit and review PINK - Simon Favourites and places offering something special

Small Bars in Sydney map

View Small Bars in Sydney in a larger map