Sunday, 5 April 2009

The Lark

I've been wanting to pay a visit to The Lark for ages. Sure I love The Bowery, but I'm always on the lookout for great cocktail bars. So the other night I rounded up a few friends and headed off to The Lark for my birthday.

There are a few distinct areas to sit in The Lark. You can take your pick from a few tables at the front, a stool at the bar, a table in the outside courtyard or the lounges upstairs. The lounges looked by far the comfiest, so it was a pretty easy decision in the end.

Once you've found a comfy spot, it's time to order a drink. The cocktail list is divided up into 3 parts - prelude, body and epilogue. Each part of the cocktail list contains about 18 drinks, so there are loads to choose from. Here are the ones which I was lucky enough to try during the night:

Lark Rum Punch - my first drink for the night - Matusalem Platino and Classico rum, Curacao, fresh lime juice, bitters and pineapple juice, served in a highball with a sprinkle of cinnamon ($15). This was a great, tangy punch, served with lots of ice, that I could have easily drank all night. A great way to kick off the evening.

Jackrabbit Slim - Calvados apple brandy and quince liqueur shaken with fresh lime juice and served in a Champagne flute ($15). Our waitress warned us this was very sour, but it was a good, tangy, refreshing kind of sour. The flute was topped with a wooden skewer that had small slices of apple fanned around it - a great presentation. Again another great cocktail to start off the night, and it also wins the prize for the best name on the list.

The 51 Martini - a vodka martini, made with Fino sherry as Vermouth and strained into a chilled, Cointreau rinsed glass, garnished with an anchovy stuffed olive ($15). I hardly ever order Martinis, but I thought if there was anywhere to order one, The Lark would be a good bet. It turned out to be excellent. Sure it was strong, but the fino sherry gave it a bit of a tang. I just found it to be a great mix of flavours. The 51 was served with the olive perched on a skewer, just touching the drink. I couldn't resist dropping it in, to give the drink a more salty, olive flavour. I also ate the olive at the end. Believe me, the taste of the anchovies completely wiped out the strong Martini flavour.

Spring Hill Fair - Martin Miller’s gin, Campari, vanilla sugar, pink grapefruit juice and orange bitters served straight up ($16). I only had a sip of this one, but it was a winner. You've probably guessed by now that I'm a definite fan of the zingy, tart cocktails.

Gibson Martini - Plymouth gin served in a slightly wet Martini, garnished with two balsamic cocktail onions ($15). Again, I only had a taste, but it was slightly less tangy/salty than the 51 Martini. The balsamic cocktail onions were divine.

Eastwood Fizz - Plymouth gin, peach liqueur, pineapple juice and lemon juice, topped with soda and a mint sprig ($15). Another refreshing, tangy cocktail that you could easily get wiped out on pretty quickly.

Although we got through a pretty good selection of cocktails off the list, there are plenty more that I can't wait to try next time, like the Silver Fox (Jose Cuervo Tradicionale Tequila, Falernum syrup, lime and Lark’s own apple reduction topped with a drizzle of blood orange), the Rum & Tea Swizzle (Mount Gay XO Rum, Pedro Ximenez sherry, chai tea syrup, lemon juice, Angostura Bitters swizzled till chilled), the Roisin Murphy (because she is so cool) and my old favourite, the Pisco Sour.

Service was a bit up and down. Although our waitress was excellent, and had an amazing knowledge of the list, the cocktails didn't come out very quickly. We were at The Lark for about an hour and a quarter, but only just managed to get 2 cocktails each. Not that anyone wants to rush a cocktail, but we had a dinner booking afterwards and were keen to have at least a couple of drinks at The Lark. Next time we may try popping downstairs to order straight from the bar, to speed things up.

The Lark also does food, including some tasty tapas type options. As we were off to dinner next, we only had a bowl of the blanched almonds with paprika and lemon salt ($6). They were very good - the perfect nibblies to have with good cocktails.

All up, The Lark is an excellent cocktail bar. I will have to go back a few more times before I can compare it to The Bowery, but I'm definitely looking forward to my next trip.

The Lark
1/267 Given Terrace
Paddington 4064
P - 07 3369 1299
E -
W -

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