Weirdo and I at one stage had regular coffee dates every Wednesday evening. Due to job changes, job requirements and other demands, these are now very few and far between. But when we do get together we like it to be somewhere with a comfortable setting, where we can sit and talk for hours on end without feeling pressure to order more food or drink or to promptly vacate the premises once our goods have been consumed.
On two occasions, we find ourselves at the Crossroads Bar of Swissôtel. Located on level eight of the building, it shares the floor with the hotel’s check-in reception desk and several function rooms. We settle ourselves into some comfy armchairs and conversation while we ponder the menu.
We decide to order a few things from different parts of the bar menu that are suitable for languid picking and sharing. We start with the crisp-based ‘Tomato Rustic’ pizza, which is served on a small, round, chopping board, and the ‘Mezze Plate’ which consists of several cheeses, cold meats, pickles, balsamic vinegar with olive oil, garlic dip and a pâté. Crusty bread is served alongside but, as with most places, there is not enough of it.
The bowl of potato wedges are ordered as an afterthought, following their appearance at several nearby tables. Both the aromas and the sight of their golden coating appeal to our senses. And they do not disappoint, with each potato segment being evenly coated in seasoning, evenly fried and cooked all the way to the centre, and with none sticking together in a huddled heap.
We make a return visit about a month later, but arrive roughly half an hour earlier than our previous meeting. We receive some interesting table service when Weirdo enquires what the house red is, and the waitress’ answer is, “Um... I go check…” She returns to tell us it is a pinot noir, which Weirdo happily orders, and I ask for a cranberry juice. The waitress double-checks whether I want something of an alcoholic nature and reminds me that it is “happy time.”
Happy time, indeed! I decline the offer and start making headway into the bowl of complimentary nibblies that accompany Weirdo’s wine. After finishing our drinks we decide on having the ‘Parma ham, spinach, pumpkin and ricotta calzone’ and the ‘Wagyu beef burger’ to share. The calzone more resembles a pide but with a thin and crispy enclosure. It is pre-sliced into several pieces that, when pulled apart, reveals oodles of stringy cheese. The pumpkin pieces are finely diced and sweet but what I love is the salty, salty Parma ham.
The Wagyu burger is served on an ordinary sesame bun and has a nice, moist patty, but the taste does get a little lost amongst the other ingredients – there’s a fried egg, bacon, cheese, beetroot, tomato and lettuce. The burger arrives cut in two as we’ve requested, alongside a bounty of crispy fries which we fail to finish. The fries aren’t as thin cut as I recall from previous visits but are still good.
About a week later Mistress called Swissôtel to make a group reservation for cocktails as part of my hen’s day, and was concerned no one had called her closer to the date to confirm. When she followed the matter up by calling them to enquire, she was told the reservation did not exist but that it could be arranged. So it seems service can be a little variable of late, and it is lucky she followed the booking up herself!
Level 8, 68 Market St, Sydney NSW
Tel: (02) 9238 7082
Opening Hours: Sun-Thurs 10am-11pm
Fri & Sat 10am-12am