Earlier this year I was in a bit of a Gerard's frenzy. After an amazing dinner at Gerard's Bistro, I pulled together another group of friends to try small eats at the bar the following week. I started writing this review post a few weeks ago, closer to when we actually visited but somehow in my recent travels the draft has gone missing. Luckily, the time we had left a strong enough impression that I can still recall details today.
We got there just before 9pm on a Friday night so as expected, the place was busy. We hadn't made a booking so we hovered around the front of the restaurant unsure if we could even get a table. Surprisingly, the security guard on duty spotted us looking confused and pointed out a spare table. He even went and found extra chairs so that we each had somewhere to sit. Talk about above and beyond service!
As Gerard's Bar is a bar first and foremost, we started the night by tackling the cocktail menu. Throughout the course of the evening we covered several rounds of drinks, which definitely added some pep and liveliness to our group.
It's no fun to write about a venue in a food blog and not mention food. It just so happens that Gerard's Bar is just as proud of its food menu as its drink offerings. There is a shared tapas section, as well as a thorough charcuterie selection, sold by weight. You can pick and choose exactly what cured meats you want to try, along with the accompaniments (cheese, relish, pate etc). We ended up choosing a few tapas plates and 3 types of cured meats.
Sobrassada dagwood dog - with fresh corn puree
Our first dish was the dagwood dog. We ordered two because the waiter explained how small each one was and how impossible it would be to share one between three. These were very different to the EKKA show day dagwood dogs. It was more like a savoury pulled meat inside a crispy fritter coating. The filling had a spiced, almost chorizo-like flavour. It was very tasty and we all wished we had more to munch on.
Fried finger eggplant - with buffalo yoghurt, almond oil and fried onion
The next tapas dish we tried was more like a restaurant entree. It was served as a blackened eggplant with yoghurt and almonds. This was striking in appearance and also difficult to share but we managed. Contrary to appearances, the eggplant didn't taste burnt at all. It was very tender and the yoghurt dressing contributed to an overall middle-eastern palette.
Southern fried squid - in shiro miso, with fermented chili, coriander and lime
We also ordered the miso squid simply because it sounded so enticing on the menu. This was perhaps my favourite of the tapas dishes. The flavours are hard to describe but a good balance of sweet, savoury and tart and all round yumminess. This was another dish that was more like an entree than something with group share in mind but with some cutlery work, we managed.
The charcuterie board was the food item I was most looking forward to. As a namesake of Gerard's Bar and Charcuterie, I had high expectations for their cured meat selection. After all, racks of glorious hanging ham legs are the most noticeable thing when you gaze through their shop front.
This platter looked so heaped and generous upon presentation we wondered if we had ordered too much. As is always the case with delicious food, our stomachs rearranged to make space. This was everything I had dreamed of and more. We had no real strategy in choosing our 3 cured meats, just a few random items that stood out down the list, but they were all noticeably different. Together with the cheese, pate and assorted breads and crackers (which we had topped up too!) this is my idea of a dream eating board. Just thinking about it is making my mouth water.
Gerard's Bar and Charcuterie is excellent in what it claims... at both mixing drinks and serving charcuterie. Every experience I've had of the drinks selection (numerous experiences now) has been fantastic. They mix the basics well and the cocktail selection is also scrumptious. I personally enjoyed the charcuterie board we tried more than the tapas dishes simply because it was more suited to enjoying with drinks and sharing within a group. We loved the vibe of the outside garden space and I have to mention once again, what amazing service we received on the night.