As the weather fluctuates between mild thunderstorms, freezing nights and sunny afternoons, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to throwback to the warm, balmy evenings of Summer 2013/14, much of which was spent on Gallery’s rooftop bar.
Despite watching the countdown to opening night from my window at work, I didn’t make it there until a few weeks later. I ended up having lunch, drinks and dinner there (all separate occasions) in the same week. I was hooked. There is something about the atmosphere – it’s casual and chic, borderline hipster but caters for the professional crowd. It was open, organised and filled with light, all the things that makes me happy in a space! I definitely have a thing for rooftop bars.
During the summer months, mystifiers sprinkle minuscule droplets of water everywhere to combat the heat. There’s annoyingly little airflow due to the high glass barriers around the rooftop, but luckily hot air rises and floats off, so it’s never too stifling. I do wish smoking was banned though, because the smell can get slightly overwhelming. It’s best to stay close to the entrance or the bar if you see a group of smokers. All ordering is done at the bar, and there is a pretty good deal with the entertainment book available.
My favourite dish by far – in fact, my favourite dish of the year so far – was the zucchini flowers.
Tempura zucchini flowers, spiced pumpkin purée and wasabi peas $13
At $13 for 2 flowers, this dish is just a tad expensive, but totally worth it for the combination of flavours and textures in every mouthful. On my first visit, I shared this dish, fell in love and ordered it again for dinner (covertly devouring it all myself). The flowers are perfectly crisp, and paired with the pumpkin purée, the zucchini melts in your mouth and disappears way too soon. I honestly didn’t notice any wasabi peas while I was eating, although it is obvious from the above photo that they were present. This dish couldn’t get better – except for there to be more of it!
Chargrilled Spanish chorizo, house made crisps and Murcia cheese $13
The chorizo was an average tasting dish that was nicely presented. A few good sized pieces of grilled sausage with scattered crisps and pungent cheese, each element tasted nice but didn’t complement anything else on the dish. The cheese and chorizo flavours were competing for dominance in my mouth – and I much preferred the chorizo. There also could have been more crisps on the plate…sure, they are house made, but if you’re heating up the deep frier already, why not throw an extra few in?
Rocket, pomegranate, cashew and mandarin salad with citrus dressing (seasonal) $11
For the salad lovers, the available seasonal salads are usually a fun and interesting mix of fruits and nuts with the usual greens. The 2013/14 summer salad above was light and fresh, with a nice tangy citrus dressing. The pop of sweet juices from the pomegranate bits and slices of mandarin were like happy surprises in my mouth. It was a cool, colourful and admittedly ‘girly’ salad that I enjoyed.
Sliders: Mini beef burger (above top right) with madam cheese, tomato relish and pickle; Panko crumbed chicken, endive and kewpie; Pulled pork (above bottom right), cabbage and spiced apple sauce $9 each or any 2 for $18 with fries.
With so many pubs, bars, cafes, restaurants and of course, food trucks serving some variation of a burger, the level of expectation has increased dramatically. These would rate in the average range – the brioche buns are glossy, soft and perfectly toasted, the filling cooked well with adequate sauces, but the flavours were just a bit unoriginal. Definitely not horrible, but not a stand-out either, especially when there are so many other exciting dishes on the menu.
I have been meaning to try some of the larger plates, but because Gallery is more of an after-work, “let’s have a few drinks” type of hang-out, I haven’t been hungry enough to try. They will have to wait until winter when I’m building up my layer of fat to keep from freezing. I have also yet to visit since autumn began and the rain started, but there are umbrellas over the seating areas that are bound to offer protection. I look forward to seeing how Gallery combats the onslaught of winter and whether he rooftop remains open (there is a seating area on a lower level that is reserved for functions at the moment. so they may utilise that in colder weather). I’m predicting a lot of gas heaters, some comfy blankets and a selection of warmed up / flaming cocktails to keep the crowds up! Only time will tell!