A hybrid of wine bar, pub, nightclub, music venue and fine dining restaurant: New Hampton is an ideal blend for the area, and a smart business decision. So how do they shape up?
Head up the steps from Bayswater Rd and the grey dirge of Kings Cross falls away as you're met with a warm and welcoming interior. Rustic cut-iron walls, sandstone pillars, stain-glass windows, dim-lighting and Indian timber – and having only launched days ago, everything was already running smoothly when we called in.
You'll notice the European leanings – reminiscent of a German beer cafe or an old cellar-door. But stop: they aren't going for that 'olde worlde' tackiness. There's enough contemporary modern design to satisfy the trendy inner Sydney set without trying too hard to be hip.
Perhaps you'd just like to stop by for a casual drink and snack? Or maybe you're in for the indulgent long haul, and would like to go for the full degustation experience? It’s all covered.
“We wanted to bring something new and innovative to The Cross,” says Keiran Coleman, co-owner of New Hampton, “and give both the locals and the tourists a safe, friendly space with great entertainment and great food.”
Escaping the dirge of The Cross into New Hampton? Here’s what you need to know.
The vibe: Vintage Kings Cross speakeasy meets fine French cellar door.
Cuisine: Modern Australian
Ideal for: Dinner date night or casual drinks with friends and family. Check in for lunch during the quieter day time.
Bartender’s choice: Chocolate Sazerac ($19)
Try the...Barramundi Wings – find them on the Baltic-Board ($23).
By the way...Check out the bathrooms, the ladies especially – the wash basins have been built into converted timber barrels – a must see! Guys, peek at your own peril.
It's Kieran's first foray into hospitality, and one passion amongst many. Being a pro-trumpet player he’s looking forward to bringing in some live music nights. And they’re not too bothered by the new licensing laws – the venue isn’t a dive bar, and they’re hoping customers will come in for dinner and stay for drinks.
How you approach New Hampton is your choice. If you're into meat and fine wines, head straight to Harvest, the fine-dining restaurant, where you can go for the full 3-course experience. Head Chef Ben Palmer has curated the menu by placing an emphasis on expertly cooked meats – using more unusual cuts as a point of differentiation. For a warming choice, try the roasted duck breast with duck sausage served with kale and lentil sauce.
If you're looking for a more casual night, we'd recommend chilling out around the bar and ordering from the wine list and snack-menu: here lies New Hampton's strength. Dishes start from $7 with a more-than-fair three for $20 deal. We tried the roasted chat potatoes and garlic, though if you’re more health conscious, there are some lighter nutrient-packed options such as a salad of broccolini, kale, lemon with almond butter, or a salad of quinoa, beetroot, radish and rocket.
Most importantly, grab a share board, as these are the stand-out offering and always an excellent way to try a bit of everything. Go for either Charcuterie or our favourite, the Baltic-Board, which features New Hampton's stand-out Barramundi Wings (juicy fried fillets taken from the collar of the fish) along with oysters, cured trout and confit baby octopus. At $23 per board, you really can have it all.
As for the cocktails, there's a broad range on offer starting around $15. If you like it sweet, try the East 8 Hold Up, a delicious citrus zinger of 42 Below and aperol, shaken with pineapple, lemon juice, passion fruit syrup.
Fans of the harder, darker stuff can look to concoctions such as the Chocolate Sazerac: Hennessy VS, McKenna & crème de cacao, shaken & served over an absinthe infused ice-sphere. Tough, yet soft around the edges. Order this to impress on a first date.
The area might be better known for less salubrious establishments, but New Hampton is shaking things up – much like the cocktail we’ll be ordering this weekend.
Address: 15 Bayswater Rd, Kings Cross
Opening hours: Monday-Saturday 11am-3am, Sunday 11am-12am
Phone number: (02) 9331 1188