“Would you like a snow cone, young man?” asks Grant, the chief mixologist at Zeta.
If someone offered you an icy treat that looks like this would you turn it down? Of course not.
Tiki Fridays at the Zeta Bar is in its final weeks, offering after-work swillers a bunch of retro cocktails (with music to match) out on that lofty terrace just a stones throw from the domes of the QVB. Hawaiian shirts and leis are worn by the staff and if your lucky you’ll get leid too. The Long Island iced tea snow cone (4) is the perfect portion for someone that doesn’t really want too much and I find it more refreshing than strong, as many Long Island iced teas can be.
The Zeta mai tai (17) is dressed in a camp outfit of hollowed-out frozen pineapple complete with cocktail umbrella and sparkler. Oooh la la and the pina colada (17) is served in either a young coconut or coconut shell. They don’t sit too well on the tables so you’ve got to hold on until you’re done; not that that will take long anyway. I know there’s alcohol in there but man, they’re just too easy to drink! Have I had three drinks already? It looks that way.
Off to the side there seems to be an intriguing science experiment going on. Wafts of vapour puff from a jug that appears frozen solid and an ever-smiling and cheeky Micha gently stirs a large bowl like a nitro-witch and her caldron. What we have here is a nitro puff (5); egg white mixed with rum and the flavourings of pina colada, aerated and mixed in liquid nitrogen before being dished up and garnished with toasted coconut. This little puff is just like meringue and is quickly gobbled up as the nitro vapour comes out of your nose. So good it’s difficult to stop at one.
Alongside the nitro bar is another treat that is sure to cool anyone down. Sorbet with seven alco-varieties like Zombie, Margarita, Mojito and Mai Tai, all served in a cup or kiddy cone. Not that any of this is for the kids. Especially that tall mojito (17) complete with fresh sugarcane juice and juicy sugarcane stirrer.
Taking a side-step from the Tiki cocktails I couldn’t help but try a couple of the drinks from the regular menu. Dans smoked bacon & maple syrup manhattan (20) sounded great on paper and even looked amazing but after I stole a sip I realised this flavour isn’t for me. Perhaps it was the bourbon, something I haven’t been a fan of since those three hellish days after my 18th birthday. The garnish of crispy bacon is a nice touch. My grilled pineapple and pepper martini (19) hit the spot (thanks for the suggestion Grant!) with its caramelised grilled pineapple muddled and shaken with pepper, vodka, caramel and chamomile liqueurs. Dericious! Am I slurring?
There’s always room for one more, right? My final choice isn’t for the faint hearted. Zeta prohibition iced tea with a screwdriver side (20). Talk about a mouthful. I was really chuffed at the quirky presentation of this one. A tall jar inside a brown paper bag with a pair of innocent-looking wedges of orange on the side. What’s this one all about? Well, it’s a refreshing mix-up of vodka, gin, cointreau and light rum and very easy to drink. The screwdriver side is that pair of orange wedges that have been soaked in vodka for what tasted like eternity. I actually almost fell out of my seat; a real smack to the senses.
I may have been a little inebriated but I did remember one thing … only a few more weeks before Zetas Tiki Fridays are over. Come the Easter bunny and it’s all gone. Thanks for a great night, guys!
hnf boozed courtesy of Hilton Sydney