Deep in a city alleyway, low lights, swathes of pink and crimson velvet and a European bistro-esque menu are attracting a roaring crowd. Famous for burgers, booze and beats, the crew behind the Mary’s empire has rescued one of Sydney’s favourite below-stairs rooms, the jazz venue formerly known as The Basement. As you dive into a buttery duck liver parfait, a bunch of guys with beards and beanies are punching out soaring sax and toe-tapping drums under the red-and-blue glare of a stage at the end of the room. A clam bar, rotisserie and duck-fat chips are welcome additions, as is a tortilla (the eggy kind) covered with lemony flakes of crab. The Underground salad is creamy and pickle-spiked: potato, kohlrabi, egg and celeriac, with lobster or caviar extra. Definitely order dry-aged duck, with crackling skin, a hit of anise and a pourover peppery sauce you could slurp with a spoon. The good times definitely roll with the smart, natural-leaning wine list and, really, who minds yelling to be heard if you have great food, excellent drinks and servers with a smile?
29 Reiby Place, Sydney; (02) 9247 3430; open Friday for lunch and Tuesday-Saturday for dinner.