Civilian Bar & Kitchen

Monday, 12 January 2015

Happy new year readers! After a brief hiatus, I am ready and raring for a new year of foodie adventures. Let the games begin...

Say hello to your new friendly neighbourhood restaurant. Taking up residence where Universal left off (the old digs of Christine Manfield), Civilian Bar & Kitchen takes the fancy down a notch to deliver clever no fuss dining designed to share. Situated in the Republic 2 courtyard, along with the relentlessly packed Phamish; the outlook ain't half bad with an indoor/outdoor dining room and bar. With a relentless appetite for the 'next big thing', Sydneysiders are always on the lookout for one more bar/restaurant to have up their sleeve. Civilian certainly fits the bill.

Perfection from a dinky pork belly dish. Good stuff! Source: Mitch Lui for Broadsheet Sydney

It all starts with a pretty great cocktail menu. Divided into Darlo, Surry Hills, CBD and Bondi sections - there's something for everyone and for every mood. Personally I think I hit the jackpot ordering the Smoke n Salted Passionfruit Sour, but I'll let you be the judge.  
With arguably tremendous shoes to fill, Chef Andy Ball (ex-Claridge's and Bel Mondo) does an admirable job delivering a nice range of dishes to tickle the palette ranging from bar nibbles to larger dishes like Burrawong Gaian chicken with chermoula, espellette pepper and kohlrabi remoulade. It's already sounding excellent. 

The adorable menu holders, a nice touch for all the design geeks like me (left) and Smoke n Salted Passionfruit Sour (right). Coming from the killer cocktail menu, this was a vodka/mescal/lime juice/agave/passhionfruit concoction topped with salted caramel foam. Did you get that? Salted. Caramel. Foam. 

Snow crab, avocado purée, watermelon, radish and crisp rye (pwetty). This was a delicious crab salad type of dish. Ticking all the textural boxes - the threads of crab still took centerstage

Scallops, sudachi (citrus), sesame, edamame, yuzu mayo. The scallops were some of the plumpest things, and perfectly cooked. I could easily have gone for more of that mayo too, delicately piped onto the plate. Totally moreish

And once again for luck, pork belly with spicy miso, fennel, pear, coriander and mint. The pork as expected, was lovely and tender - the miso a nice, slightly spiced accompaniment that works well

The amazing house made Gnocchi with rosemary, artichokes, fennel, spinach and reggianno. This was utterly delicious - the gnocchi were a standout each light and fluffy with a delicate olive oil based sauce with artichokes (another favourite ingredient). So perfect and YUM!


Chocolate tart, hazelnut, salted caramel, banana and nutmeg ice cream. I always think of desserts as a bit of a puzzle, each element needs to sit just right and work into the dish as a whole. The nutmeg ice cream was a nice twist

Vanilla pannacotta, strawberry, meringue, pistachio sponge, lemon curd and raspberry. Unfortunately the panna cotta was not set properly and rather runny. The other elements were pretty solid however, all manner of sins hidden under all the toppings!

Civilian has hit lots of right notes with their impressive range of dishes (and let's not forget those cocktails) that deliver on texture and flavour. The service was friendly and attentive and the setting oh-so-relaxing. In the dog-eat-dog nature of the restaurant industry these days, I hope that Civilian gets the quiet recognition it so deserves. I'm sure the Darlinghurst locals will happily oblige.

Set up camp and while away the hours. You can't help but feel like you're on an island holiday. Don't mind if I do...

Thanks for reading!
Civilian Bar & Kitchen on Urbanspoon


  1. the food looks great! was wondering what would replace the old universal space - must check this out!



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