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Food meets fashion at Rodd & Gunn’s dapper restaurant and cocktail spot

The Weekend Edition

James Street is often the spot to spy snazzily attired shoppers and dressed-up diners, so it makes sense the high street would be the location for The Lodge Bar & Dining, Rodd & Gunn’s multi-faceted noshery.

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Boasting distinct antipodean-inspired aesthetics, a menu conceived and executed by Michelin-starred talent and a drinks list sure to entice wine lovers and cocktail cravers alike, this eye-catching eatery and bar is sure to stand out, even amongst James Street’s established cadre of acclaimed dining spots. The Lodge Bar & Dining officially opened Thursday May 19 – have a gander inside …

A clothing store with a restaurant attached, or a restaurant with a clothing store attached. Regardless of how you put it, a fashion-meets-food hybrid is always likely to raise eyebrows. Despite its peculiar-on-paper nature, Rodd & Gunn’s The Lodge Bar & Dining makes perfect sense once experienced in person.

James Street’s newest resident is an entity with two distinct, but complimentary, aspects. On one side sits a gleaming new flagship clothing emporium boasting racks and shelves of Rodd & Gunn’s rugged-yet-polished apparel. On the other is a stunning two-level Queenslander (which, over the years, has been home to Jamie’s Espresso, Molten Store and The Green’s leafy pop-up) that has been largely hollowed out and converted into a versatile hospitality hot-spot that can cater to 150 guests.

The Lodge is a concept that Rodd & Gunn has gently expanded in recent years, starting in 2016 with its first spots in Queenstown and Auckland, before leaping the Tasman Sea to open a site in Melbourne’s Myer Chadstone before starting work on its fourth location on James Street.

Aesthetically, Rodd & Gunn has ensured The Lodge Bar blends traces of its home country’s natural beauty with sophisticated and luxurious touches. A transportive sensation has been woven into the fabric of the venue’s various nooks, from its street-facing corner bar and main dining room to its upstairs cocktail lounge, private-dining spaces and wrap-around balcony.

Inside, wool rugs lay atop American oak wood flooring, tan leather furnishings are accents by brass fixtures, while Australian rock and breezeblocks help create a crisp airiness throughout.

Much like how Rodd & Gunn’s clothing range can help gents find an outfit for casual outings and more dressed-up occasions, The Lodge Bar & Dining offers a similar sense of versatility by catering to the drop-in cocktail drinkers, long lunchers and dinner crowds. Overseeing The Lodge Bar & Dining’s epicurean offering is executive chef Matt Lambert and head chef James Evangelinos, both of which boast experience working at Michelin-starred New York restaurant Musket Room.

Here, they’re championing seasonal and local produce (we’re talking seafood, beef, wild meats and homegrown fruit and vegetables) across a menu of balanced, timeless classics. The offering starts with small plates featuring the likes of wood-roasted cuttle fishheritage pork terrinesea trout tartare and sprouted grains, before moving towards large-format mains, including blue crab spaghetti with sea urchin butter, Berkshire pork chopsbar cod with smoked dashi beurre blanc, and dry-aged bone in NY strip steak.

On the menu’s flip side is a range dedicated to shells – think oysters (sourced from famed coastal areas like Coffin Bay, Bruny Island and Kangaroo Island), crustaceans (buttered Moreton Bay bug rolls, eucalyptus-grilled tiger prawns and open-fire-grilled rock lobster) and eggs (devilled eggs with trout roe and caviar tarts with egg yolk). 

The Lodge Bar Group’s beverage manager, master sommelier Cameron Douglas, has ably curated a complimentary array of libations to suit all tastes, from a globe-spanning wine list featuring drops from Italy, France, Spain, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand, so a clutch of signature cocktails like the Rose Gold NegroniKiwi SunsetEarnslaw Express and the Cecil Peak Sour.

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