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  • Writer's pictureKimberley Kells

Review of Bar Patron- The Patron Weekend Lunch

A beautiful setting at Circular Quay with views of the Harbour Bridge, great company, Mexican food from the Rockpool Group and bottomless cocktails, wine and beer, how could anyone not enjoy themselves at the Bar Patron- Weekend Lunch?

Patron Margaritas to start the day

Tortilla chips with hand pounded guac, red and green salsa

My sister and I are here today for the Patron Weekend Lunch as a sisterly catch up and a continued celebration for her birthday last month. Her birthday seems to last longer and longer each year! Just wait till she's my age and birthdays just mean more wrinkles around your eyes! The bottomless lunch deal here is a good one: it's a share style menu of guac and salsa, tacos, choice of main then 2 desserts. Drinks are unlimited for 2 hours (subject to RSA of course) but include a selection of 4 cocktails, wine, sparkling wine and beer all for $99 per person! So many of the bottomless brunches/lunches in Sydney are just bubbles which is great for some, but for me, I can't drink that much sparkling wine, my stomach isn't used to all the bubbles, but white wine I could drink allllllllllllll day! There is something here to keep everyone happy. The setting is lovely, in the venue that used to house Ananas down in Circular Quay with the service: quick and friendly. Our very patient waiters have no problems taking photos of us for the 'gram and answering questions about the food.

Chicken Tostada

Tuna Ceviche with avocado, peanuts, cherry tomato and lime

Margaritas are the first drink of the day and our chips and guac come out straight away. They are exactly how they should be: crispy salty chips, creamy indulgent avo and spicy piquant salsas. The margarita is a bit sweet for me, but my sister loves it and sticks with this for the rest of the lunch, I quickly switch over to a Sauvignon Blanc which is nice and dry and more to my taste. As we didn't read the menu properly, the dishes that come out are a surprise, and it is a happy one when the chicken tostadas land. I pick one up mid conversation, and after several attempts at taking a bite in a lady-like manner, I give up and just apply it to my face. This is not an easy dish to eat, and definitely not first date food when you're trying to be cute #firstdatecuteness. The crispy tostada shell cracks under pressure from my bite and I end up with the topping in my hands and on my plate. I eat the rest of it with a knife and fork, feeling like a total idiot trying to get what is essentially a big tortilla chip on a fork! The flavour however is great, with a smokey bean puree, salad, spiced chicken and salty cheese forming a really nice balance and (albeit messy) bite. The tuna ceviche is also lovely and actually reminds me of a Thai Som Tum salad (papaya salad). The lime, peanut, cherry tomato, fish are all common ingredients in the 2 dishes so very similar. The conversation continues, with talk of my sister's upcoming wedding and honeymoon planning dominating #bride. We are so engrossed that I almost don't hear and do a double take when the lovely waiter places the next plate on our table and announces it is a mushroom taco. That's right, a mushroom taco. Now I don't have any hate for vegetarians or mushrooms for that matter, but I would never order a vegetarian taco. Ever. I am a meat and seafood lover and I'm proud of it! Wishing I had paid some attention to the menu, I say thank you and just ignore the plate on the table, like that pile of dirty laundry sitting in the corner of your bedroom that you should really wash but can't be bothered and just hope that it disappears if you don't give it any attention #lazyhousewife. I can tell my sister isn't impressed by the mushroom taco either because she ignores it too! Soon after and to both of our relief, fish tacos are served up and we both tuck in without hesitation. For once, both of us are quiet. There isn't really too much to say about these fish tacos, they are perfectly nice, but lacking in flavour and just missing that oomph of a smokey salsa or spicy crust, or just something to take it to the next level. They are pretty forgettable. After the underwhelming fish tacos, and the mushroom tacos just sitting there like an unwanted Christmas gift, the mood is somber and we finally surrender to trying these vegetarian lepers of the taco world...

Fish tacos- usually a crowd pleaser, but we are underwhelmed

Mushroom tacos- you sneaky dark horse you

“I could not have been more wrong about these damn mushroom tacos! They are absolutely delicious! All the extra oomph we were looking for in the fish tacos is hiding in the mushroom taco! The oyster mushroom is meaty, slippery and chewy, with a dark and smokey chilli oil that is just that right level of spicy, scattered throughout are fried garlic chips that add a toasted umami quality with a touch of bitterness that I love and peppery watercress to top it all off. The tortilla is obviously freshly made as well and so thin and delightful, it really is a great dish. I stand corrected.”

Never again will I scoff at mushroom tacos, it just goes to show how fantastic these set menus are. They give you the opportunity to try things you wouldn't normally order, and give you a chance to explore a whole new world outside of your status quo. I am hereby sorry to all the vegetarian dishes I have refused to order, and vow to try to be more open minded and adventurous when it comes to ordering. For main dishes, we have a choice of 3, I suggest the skirt steak but my sister feels like fish so we ask for the market fish which today is New Zealand Salmon, marinated and grilled and served with a salsa, red rice and beans cooked in pork fat. The salmon is a touch overcooked and I pass this feedback onto the waiter. I don't know if he passes this info back to the kitchen or not but its totally still enjoyable and we don't have any problem still polishing it off! The red rice is flavoured nicely but the dish that makes me smile is the beans. I love anything cooked in swine #swinelover Pork is my favourite meat as I think it just has so much flavour and that is definitely what it is doing for these beans. They are dark and delicious and the perfect accompaniment to what is quite a light main dish.

Market fish (NZ Salmon), red rice and beans

At last we have desserts and can I just add that the wait staff are very attentive with the drinks, my wine glass is never left empty for long which is exactly what you want when you're drinking on a time limit. My sister and I both agree that the desserts were where Bar Patron excelled today.


Tres Leches Cake

First we try the Polvorones which are dulce deleche caramel sandwiched between 2 spiced shortbread biscuits. They. Are. Divine. There's nothing more I can say about these, other than that we scrape every bit of caramel and crumb from that plate and send it back completely clean. The other dessert is a Tres Leches (3 milk) cake, sitting and soaking in a sweet milky pool with strawberry segments floating around it like little jewels topped off with a crown of torched meringue. Oh my gosh, this is another beautiful dessert and we make quick work of it, slurping down every last sip of that milky soup.

All in all the Patron Weekend Lunch at Bar Patron was a pleasure. No issues with limited alcohol selection, or not enough food, which seems to be an issue at other bottomless lunch/brunch offerings. And aside from a couple of niggles with food, overall it was beautiful. Great food, lovely decor and view, plentiful drinks to accompany and helpful friendly service. We have already made plans for another visit with a bigger group of girls.

2 Philip St, Circular Quay

*This meal was independently paid for.

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