Derived from the Spanish ‘topar’, meaning to come across or run into, Bar Topa wants its guests to pop in, choose a few snacks, a drink and enjoy the close quarters, informal atmosphere of this latest addition to Palings Lane.
Drawing on inspiration from the western edges of the Mediterranean coast, Lauren Murdoch, the original head chef of neighbouring restaurant Felix has returned to Merivale, collaborating with Executive Chef Jordan Toft to develop a snappy, ever-changing tapas menu.
The simple affair brings the immediacy of Mediterranean cooking to Palings Lane. The food gets in, gets cooked with as little fuss as possible and you get in, join the energy and enjoy it as easily as possible.
“Bar Topa will be the perfect pit stop for someone on the go, but who still wants to enjoy the pleasures that food and wine play in one’s day, and enjoy a vibrant atmosphere in close quarters,” Toft explained. “They don’t mind squeezing to the front of the line to grab a glass and pick some snacks to share with the friends they’ve just met.”
The space holds a mere forty standing guests, with only a few stools to sit. Inspired by intimate tapas bars of Spain, the fit-out is a collaboration between Justin and Bettina Hemmes, stylist Amanda Talbot and interior designer George Livissianis. Compact and intimate, the space features rich timber tones, earthy terracotta coloured walls and a green terrazzo bar, evoking a rustic Mediterranean feel.
There are two sides to the food on offer. Small bites and snacks like sliced jamon on crisp bread or whipped salted cod are available on the counter, you just stand and point before taking it back to your table. Then there is the selection of tapas-style dishes, cooked on a la plancha, a flat metal grill originating from Spain. Chorizo, cuttlefish with parsley, garlic and olive oil, whole sardines, lightly sautéed chicken livers and grilled vegetables, like grilled broccolini and romesco are the style of dishes you should be on the look out for.
Half-sized drinks encourage you to try a bit of everything. Cocktails, at eight dollars a pop, include dry martini, ti-negroni and more as well as sangria on tap, and beers served as miniatures at four dollars and a tidy list of twelve wines – all of which fit the bill of this nice little tapas bar.
(02) 9114 7368
4 Palings Lane, Sydney
Mon-Wed: 12pm - 12am
Thu-Fri: 12pm - 1am