Neutral Bay could well be home to the best Californian food this side of LA with the recent opening of SoCal, a southern Californian inspired restaurant & bar.
SoCal is the third venue to be launched by Applejack Hospitality and should prove to be as popular as their other venues, Bondi Hardware and The Botanist.
Renowned designers Luchetti Krelle (of Momofuku Seiobo, Ananas, Hinky Dinks and Sake fame) have truly evoked the laid back, Southern Californian vibe and feel. SoCal has a retro chic ambience with bright colours, along with unique furniture and features. The design has taken full advantage of the generous outdoor terrace which should prove to be a very popular spot to enjoy the relaxed bar area.
An added bonus at SoCal is their 2 a.m. Licence.
Their fabulous Del-Martini cocktails, consisting of Ketel One Vodka with Peach Liqueur, fresh lime, peach puree and a dash of peach bitters are definitely on my list as one of the all time best cocktails I’ve had.
Newly appointed Head Chef, Zac Smart (formerly from Steele Bar & Grill) has created a menu with a Mexican, North American and seafood emphasis, including Cali-inspired share plates, taco’s, mini dogs & ceviches.
The Hawaiian tuna poke on corn tostada, crab and sopressada empanadas, refried bean and rice quesadilla, SoCal chilli dogs, Pollo Loco Pinchos (spiced chicken skewers on rice with sauce Mole) that I tried were all excellent.
I could not leave without trying the Churros and chocolate sauce for dessert. If I closed my eyes, I could easily have thought I was in Southern California.
SoCal has my vote as having some of the best food and cocktails for a fun night out.
Sandra Tiltman PHOTOS: John Pond