05 February 2013

Launch: Zeta Bar presents The Secret Garden, Hilton Sydney (1 Feb 2013)

Level 4, 488 George Street, Sydney NSW 2000

Garden frivolity in the city

“Take a peek inside and wander through the hedge lined terrace or perch in one of the garden pockets while listening to jazz presented by renowned Sydney band ‘The Press Club’. Moving statues, frivolous garden gnomes and dreamlike topiary complete the story.”

Thanks to Kimberley Roberts from Hilton Sydney for inviting me to the launch of their new themed bar The Secret Garden located around the outdoor terrace which unlocks its door on Valentine's Day then runs from 6 pm every Friday night, 15 February until March 2013. Guests were first treated to glasses of Chandon sparkling before teapots of refreshing Tweedle Dum with fresh strawberries, basil, limoncello, gin and more Chandon sparkling ($30 for two). Nice combination of flavours I'd be happy to have again. I also really liked the simple and refreshing Zeta Garden Fizz ($18) with Tanqueray Gin topped with Chandon sparkling. If you like your dessert before dinner then the Mimosa Ice Pole ($8) with champagne and fresh orange juice might be your best ticket to a brain freeze laced with alcohol. Chef Carl Middleton provided samples of his savoury and sweet Mistress Mary afternoon tea. I didn't have much of a chance to try most of it but I liked the creativity of the dessert mushrooms and the scones and cream were nice although seemed to be missing a pot of jam to go with them. 

For those who like their cocktails big, bold and a touch brash the Garden Berry Smash ($18) with summer berries and pineapples served with blossom mist was a lethal hit to start you chasing gnomes around the garden. Interesting the menu didn't mention anything about bourbon in the mix but perhaps it should. Two cocktails which didn't quite work for me were the Secret Garden ($18) its strong minty herbal taste reminding me of mouth freshener and the Citric Bloom ($18) with Hendrick's Gin, juniper, Bulgarian rose and cucumber overpowered by the rose taste making it more like potpourri and unfortunately hiding the taste of Hendrick's. Hopefully they'll be better when made to order as there might have been some heavy handed measuring in this case.

PROS: Interesting decor, Cocktails with a difference, Afternoon tea available to match your cocktails, Terrace view
CONS: Limited seating so get in quick to grab a comfy spot with friends, Wet weather not good on outdoor terrace
MUST TRY: Zeta Garden Fizz
VERDICT: A fun and relaxed garden-style bar setting where gnomes run free and interesting cocktails await
Chandon sparkling to start — yes thanks

Tweedle Dum: Fresh strawberries, basil and limoncello with gin and Chandon sparkling ($30 for two) — refreshing flavour combo
Secret Garden ($18) — the minty herbal taste was unfortunately too overpowering

Applicious Air: Sweet apples and fresh lemons sorbet mixed with dry apple cider and topped with Chandon sparkling finished with Lemon Air ($18)

Zeta Garden Fizz with Tanqueray Gin topped with Chandon sparkling ($18) — refreshing and easy to drink
Garden Berry Smash: Summer berries and pineapples served with blossom mist ($18) — for those who like it strong and lethal, no mention of which alcohol in the menu

Citric Bloom with Hendrick's Gin, juniper, Bulgarian rose and cucumber ($18) — floral taste was too strong to appreciate the Hendrick's for me

Kir Royal Jelly Champagne and Creme de Cassis Jelly, top with a Champagne emulsion ($6)
Chilling out with an alcoholic ice pole
Mimosa Ice Pole with champagne and fresh orange juice ($8) — refreshing for a hot day, nice flavour
Cocktail menu — although white type on pattern background can be a little hard to read sometimes

Chef Carl Middleton
Very creative mushrooms
Nice scones with cream but couldn't find any jam

Love those socks
Bubbles with Georgia Waters (left)
Party people in the house
Kimberley Roberts & Champagne Jayne
The Hilton gals know how to put on a great party
Looking forward to seeing the video

Speech time
Official photographer amongst the garden

Terrace will make a great spot in better weather
Toilet touchups
Zeta bar inside if you're allergic to gardens
Mr Gnome says visit me

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The Life of Clare said...

This place looks like so much fun! What fabulous cocktails they had and the decor looks divine!

Ying- Venuemob said...

Looks awesome, what a great concept.

Simon Leong said...

hi the life of clare, hope you get to check it out

hi ying, they always seem to come up with great concepts

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