2-12 Glebe Point Road Glebe, New South Wales 2037
About this time last year, Barhop visited a bar and grill in this very same spot. It's a fantastic location down the bottom of the beautiful, old, curved university hall building with a concrete courtyard that spreads out to the always-busy corner of Glebe Point and Parramatta roads.
Although its predecessor didn't survive, I hope Bedlam does because it's a nice little place.
THE DECOR STRIKES ME FIRST
and it's the most appealing part of this new bar-restaurant. Outside are striped banquettes and candlelit tables with a soundtrack of funk music and the gentle hum of traffic. Inside, it's a feast of sumptuous velour couches and chaises, regal chandeliers and gilded mirrors with a few stools at the bar. A DJ is playing funk and soul music, which suits the furniture to a T and makes the outdoor area so enjoyable as well. I love the downstairs lair, hidden down a narrow staircase and decorated like a bachelor pad with more luscious couches, mood lighting and a pool table. Apparently, on the busiest nights the party rages on in this underground den.
IT'S MORE A RESTAURANT
with some good drinks than a bar with some good food but this balance is tipping, the bartender tells me. A cocktail menu is on the way. For the time being, there are $30 jugs of cocktails of Bedlam julep, sangria, Long Island Iced Tea, Caprioska and Mojito. The wine list is small but has some quirky choices with an Australian focus. The Pizzini pinot grigio from King Valley, Victoria ($10) and the Pulenta Estate malbec from Mendoza, Argentina ($8.50) are a good start. The jugs of St Arnou pale ale and pilsner ($14) are also popular. While the Mint Julep doesn't really push my buttons, the Mojito does.
THE FOOD MENU LOOKS GREAT
on a big A3 page jammed with plates to share, sandwiches, salads and soft-shell tacos. It looks almost identical to the Norfolk Hotel menu and has a similar mix of Tex Mex and American diner fare. A pulled pork shoulder sandwich ($16) is underwhelming and so are the tacos ($4.50), which have great fillings such as braised pork belly, braised portobello mushrooms and grilled flathead but are in dry soft shells. The share plates are tasty - twice-cooked crispy chicken wings ($14), lamb rump skewers ($16), grilled baby back pork ribs ($16) and pork belly skewers ($15) all get our tick of approval.
AS THE NIGHT WEARS ON, we enjoy sitting outside, sipping on cocktails, listening to some great music and watching the never-ending hive of activity at this busy intersection. For a Saturday, it seems very quiet but Thursdays and Fridays, when the uni crowds flock over the road after class, are more popular. The outside area attracts a smattering of casual drinkers but the couches inside are shamefully empty. As the fate of its predecessor might show, Glebe Point Road can be a tough market to crack. Time will tell whether Bedlam has enough gumption to still be here this time next year.