While normally they come in carafes, you can order cocktails as a single serve too. We both opt for the ‘Thyme Machine’, which is made of Kettle One vodka, pear, lemon, thyme and ginger beer. It’s so refreshing and has that lovely floral thyme hit that works well with the sweet and sour notes in the drink. I could definitely see myself knocking back a couple of these on a hot summer’s day.
As we sit back and relax, I take the opportunity to look around. Aesthetically it looks great, with a wide open bar that you can see into the kitchen through. The tables outside are spread out, with an upstairs decking that I can imagine would make for a pretty setting when the sun sets. I really like the way they’ve set this place up – you’d never suspect it walking down Roe Street that this place would hold such a lovely setting.
Something you actually may not know about me is that when I was little, my dad used to be a deep sea diver for his profession. The reason I mention this is to share the fact that I grew up eating seafood. I’ve always loved it, always been fascinated by the different types and flavours, and the versatility of this style of produce. Now it’s not as readily available (i.e. I now have to pay) as back then, but my love for it hasn’t wavered… in fact it feels stronger than ever.
Keeping this in mind, it felt only right that we order a seafood dish. Tossing up between the spanner crab salad and the clams, we go for the latter. The garlic clams ($19.00) come out in a bowl with a sauce made of cider, cream and chives and is accompanied by a couple slices of grilled sourdough. I have to say, I really enjoyed this dish. It’s simple but really flavoursome, with the clams cooked perfectly. The bread is definitely a welcome addition, ideal for dunking into that umami rich broth that sits at the base of the bowl. I did find a couple of little broken shards of shell in the sauce but luckily I managed to spot them before they made their way into either of our mouths.
Our final savoury dish for our dinner is the chicken grill with rice noodles, peanuts, herbs and nuoc cham ($21.00). I always hesitate ordering Asian style dishes at non-Asian restaurants but in this case I was pleasantly surprised. This felt very Vietnamese meets Thai, with a blend of different flavours that compliment each other, as well as the protein.
I really like the tender chicken thigh which is completely juicy and flavoursome, with a nice kick of heat following each bite. The noodles are wonderfully soft, perfect for slurping up and then munching on some crunchy peanuts afterwards. It’s very fresh, though we’re realising that we probably have over-ordered, and knowing we want dessert we don’t manage to make it completely through this dish.
When dining at The Standard, desserts are a must have. There’s only three on the menu, but from what I hear they are all phenomenal. But my eyes are all for the vanilla pannacotta, strawberry and lemonade ($14.00). It was this dessert that brought me back to The Standard and so while an adventurous part of me wanted to order something else, I was too committed.
Arriving as a glass of pannacotta flecked with vanilla bean specks and topped with fresh and freeze-dried berries, our waitress takes the small blue jug on the dessert board and pours over the top a strawberry liqueur. From there, housemade lemonade is charged in a soda siphon and topped into our glass to create a dessert meets drink. There’s also a side bowl of crumbly shortbread cookie to inject some slight savouriness and crunch between bites.
The pannacotta is lovely and lightly perfumed with vanilla flavour however I do prefer my pannacotta wobblier personally. I love the different textures and flavours of berries which range from sweet to sour and the bubbly lemonade is light and tasty. I find myself swapping between using the straw and spoon – it’s a very fun and engaging dessert!
Seeing the trend of little bespoke bars which serve brilliant drinks and share food is an exciting trend for me, and The Standard has done well to burst onto the scene with aplomb. Service was wonderful, the food tasty and the dessert fun. I can’t wait for summer weekends to sit back in their expansive garden and enjoy carafes of zingy cocktails while relaxing in the sun.