Smudge Eats: Dead Ringer

[Originally published on Smudge Eats, January 2016]

Bar Profile: Dead Ringer, Sydney

- by Camilla Sampson

Despite the name, Surry Hills’ new hotspot, Dead Ringer is a pioneering venue, bordering between bar and restaurant, it throws the traditional menu out the window and offers you the best of both worlds.

Owners, Tim Philips, David Hobbs, and Robb Sloan got together with a desire to execute something that they thought Sydney hadn’t seen before: a bar and restaurant that was as careful and guided in both its food and drink offering.

The trio collectively has close to 50 years’ experience in the hospitality industry. Tim, one of Australia’s most influential and highly decorated bartenders of recent years, naturally oversees the bar. David is well known for working at Melbourne cocktail institutions and the iconic London venue Milk and Honey, and Robb has been New South Wales Brand Ambassador for an array of well-regarded liquors. This combined knowledge promises top-notch drinking and dining, all in the one space.

The venue is open with plenty of timber, grey tiles, hanging lightbulbs, and rustic, coloured bar stools and the contemporary, clean design creates a feeling of calm. The bar and restaurant elements are so intertwined that food is available right up until close.

A relaxed vibe and the rapport between staff and clientele is central to the venue’s success. The boys have found themselves recruiting some of the Sydney’s finest staff to join the team to ensure that every guest that comes in receives nothing but the sincerest and warmest hospitality.

The kitchen is run by Tristan Rosier, an exciting, young, Sydney chef who has worked stints at Est and Farmhouse. His menu is built around the principle of non-pretentious, Australian grown produce, presented in a relaxed manner, and he is on board to meet any dietary requirement–about 90% of the menu usually gluten free. Produce is sourced to adhere to a sustainable and cruelty free approach, which only adds to the quality of the output from the kitchen.

The menu is printed daily to share what Tristan currently finds exciting in the kitchen, as well as to showcase the best seasonal produce. Dishes, designed to be shared, are presented beautifully, with each central taste surrounded by perfectly matched toppings and accompaniments. On a sample menu blood sausage comes with kohlrabi, okra, and yoghurt. There are pork jowl croquettes, lamb rump, and plenty of veggie options too.

You’d be mad of course to miss out on the expertise of the bar. Cocktails are recommended ‘before, during, and after’ your meal. There are local beers from the likes of Young Henrys and Rocks Brewing Co, and a selection of Australasian wines to be paired with your edibles.

There is no compromise on quality of food or drink here, no focus on one more than the other. The trio has created something they wished to frequent themselves, “A complete dining experience, where the quality of the food matches the stellar drinks offering brought to you by industry professionals in a comfortable, relaxed venue that presents excellent value for money in all of its facets.” A venue, which is in fact, not a dead ringer for anywhere else in the city.

Photography by: Amanda Davenport

FoodCamilla Sampson