Swine & Co
- PRICE RANGE:
In the world’s central business districts, the beasts that matter are the bulls and the bears. In Sydney, however, it’s the pig that’s big. Roast suckling pig has long been a signature at Pilu at Freshwater and Paddington’s Four at Hand, but whole piggies are now de rigueur at pop-ups and chop-ups all over town, from Jared Ingersoll’s Bottle & Beast to Bondi’s Da Orazio. Not to mention pig’s tails, pig’s ears and, of course, bacon, which God invented because there were too many rocket salads on earth.
Next up is the Urban Purveyor Group’s newly arrived Swine & Co in the heart of the CBD, not far from the group’s Ananas, Sake and The Cut. Not only is there a whole six- to eight-week-old suckling pig turning on a spit under the watchful eye of chef Robert Taylor, but the menu is studded with piggy bits – tails are crisped, blood is turned into black pudding, necks become steaks for the grill, and rumps are crumbed for schnitzels. And yes, there is pork belly. It’s a given.
Originally a bank and most recently the group’s Bavarian Bier Cafe, the beautiful 1938 art deco space has been rethought as a three-level pig-out. At ground level is a magnificent island bar, complete with a mezzanine champagne bar, and a clever little New York deli-style servery dishing up pork belly rolls, and pork and veal meatballs. Drinkers congregate on the street and diners head downstairs to the low-ceilinged, moodily lit basement restaurant, teeming with young staff clad in short skirts or shorts and leather-bound aprons. It’s as if the ’80s never actually went away, but lurked instead in boys’ own basements, preserved alongside the heavy reds and big prime cuts that fuel the so-called masters of the universe. That disturbing non-fictional character the Wolf of Wall Street would feel quite at home in one of the deeply comfortable dining chairs here, a sassy waitress resting her hand on his shoulder.