Smudge Eats: Rosie Campbell's

[Originally published on Smudge Eats, September 2015]

Profile: Rosie Campbell's, Sydney

- by Camilla Sampson

“Choose Jerk not work” is all the encouragement we need to check out Rosie Campbell’s delectable Jamaican-inspired offerings.

A nod to Bob Marley via a “Don’t worry, be happy, have a nice day,” slogan sets the premise of the recently opened Rosie Campbell’s. A brightly coloured jerk diner-meets-rum-bar is bringing the feel good vibes of Jamaica to Sydney’s Surry Hills.

Owner and Director of The Experience Group, Graham Cordery, said, “When I first visited Jamaica a few years ago, I was immediately blown away by the friendly, genuine nature of the culture, the big flavours in the food and the vibrancy of colours in every aspect of the island’s art and design.  Rosie Campbell’s brings all of these elements to life in the heart of Surry Hills, creating a unique and personal experience, just as Jamaica’s become my home away from home.”

Happy shades of blue and yellow dominate the colour scheme, with splashes of zebra print and banana leaves on tabletops. Low hanging lamps, candles, high stools, and classic American-style booths set an atmospheric scene, as Rosie Campbell’s encompasses the spirit of Jamaica and the streets of New York.

Jamaican influences are evident not only in the décor but also in the menu, which has us licking our lips. There’s brunch, lunch, dinner, and even a special “late night” menu. Jerk is a central feature, and it comes in all styles – chicken, ribs, fries and burgers.

There’s plenty of personal, handmade flair in their dishes and cocktails, the food is made with love, and of course some soul. Spiced rum butter oozing over your pancakes sounds like a great way to start a sunshine-filled day.

You’ll find all the favourite flavours reminiscent of Jamaica and Caribbean cooking on the menu too. All those Jerk dishes (with Rosie’s special Jerk sauce or mayonnaise), and fritters ­– whether you want Kingston corn or the salt fish. When your belly really is full you’ll suddenly find yourself with a dilemma. You really, really want to try one of those “Sweet Tings” – also known as dessert. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

The flavour combinations of coconut, mango, and lime transcend from the food into the drinks menu too. And it would likely be a mistake to miss out on the long list of rums on offer in this delightful rum bar.

You might be particularly tempted to sip on a rum-infused cocktail of Rosie’s own making. The Rosie Coco Colada is served in a coconut cup while the Espresso Coco Martini is mixed with Jamaica Blue Mountain espresso and burnt coconut syrup. If you are in the mood for something simpler, opt for a good old-fashioned Jamaican beer.

FoodCamilla Sampson