Address: Basement Lot 1, 209 Clarence Street, Sydney NSW
Tel: (02) 9279 4335
Monday-Thursday 4pm – midnight
Friday 2pm – midnight
Saturday 4pm – midnight
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The Lobo Plantation is a South American styled rum bar with a Caribbean influence, which has brought the grandeur and exoticism of Cuban sugar baron, Julio Lobo’s life to the Sydney CBD.
MDS, Mitch, Wallace, MattyCakes and I headed over to Lobo Plantation with some other friends for a birthday dinner.
I had never been to Lobo before, let alone heard of it, so I was intrigued by the unusual name and the interesting location in a basement in Clarence Street (not quite in the usual spots at Circular Quay, Darling Harbour or Kings Cross).
After waiting in the queue for about 15-20 minutes, we were finally allowed in. Our friends who arrived later waited 1 hour, so be prepared to stand outside if you arrive after 6.30pm on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday night!
The place is pretty crowded and, as it is in the basement, it is probably not the safest place to be if there is a fire or emergency. The only way I could see to get out was the windy, narrow and steep staircase that we came down on.
Most of the tables were taken up so we stood around the bar and ordered drinks before taking a seat at a red booth.
I ordered the Jamaican Julep ($18.00). It contains Appletons VX, lychee and black tea syrup, passionfruit, mint and ginger beer.
While the cocktail was delicious and the range on offer is extensive, they are a bit pricey at $18 each.
That said, I would definitely suggest trying one if you come here as they all sound amazing and it is interesting to watch them being made. I even saw the bartender using flames for one of them!
Service was OK. I think that generally, the staff were friendly and I definitely noted that the bar staff were skilled and knowledgeable on their alcohol.
However, as it was so busy, I feel that we didn’t get as much attention as we would have liked, and the service seemed a little rushed.
Perhaps earlier in the week it would be better?
MDS and I having a bit of fun!
As I had gone with some friends, one of the other members of the group decided to order for everyone.
She ordered a variety of dishes from the menu, which the eight of us shared.
I have to say that while the menu features some interesting and unusual dishes, the dishes were tasty but I did not think they were anything amazing. This is the sort of food I would expect to see but I was not surprised or wowed by anything on offer.
We enjoyed the:
- Slow braised beef and chorizo meatballs in alcaparrado sauce, $9.00
- Ensalada de Lobo, $11.00
- Black bean stew, $11.00
- Cuban paselitos with beef, raisin and guava, $8.50 for four
- Ropa vieja, $13.00
The Slow Braised Beef Meatballs were tasty: slightly pink on the inside, with a rich and thick tomato sauce.
The Ensalada de Lobo. By the time the dish came around to me there wasn’t any Cuban spiced chicken breast left. We did enjoy the fresh salad but it was nothing special.
I am not a fan of black beans, but the stew was not bad. The chicken was delicious and cooked well, and the beans weren’t too mushy or starchy so I didn’t mind them.
I do enjoy a good Ropa Vieja, which I have seen before at an Argentinian cafe (see Boca). The flank steak was soft and rich, and the chickpeas and cream added a bit of bite and lightness to the dish.
The crispy Paselitos were definitely my favourite dish, fried pastry with a sweet filling and a delicious sauce which was perfection. It was a mix of sweet and savoury and had the crunchy of pastry and the softness of the beef filling.
The food here is reasonably priced for tapas, but probably better suited to groups of 4 rather than a large group of 8, as the dishes weren’t big enough for us all to share. Perhaps it would have been better to order two of each dish.
Cocktails are delicious but can be expensive. They are worth a try but I would probably have pre-drinks before coming here!
Service is average as the place is quite busy, but staff are knowledgeable on the menu and drinks and are quite efficient.
I would rate my experience (out of 10):
- Service- 6
- Food- 6.5
- Ambience- 8
- Value – 5