Next Door Kitchen and Bar, Shop B11 Little Stanley Street, South Bank, ph: 0738466678

Date of Review: 8 February 2013

With the slogan "Next Door Kitchen and Bar; a nod to the 1920s," this restaurant is one of the newest to grace South Bank's shores. It's certainly a classy establishment, with beautifully presented share plate food, fabulous cocktails and sleek decor - perfect for a girls' night out. But seeing as it is a themed restaurant, I would have expected to see a bit more 1920s flavour.

Atmosphere: 4/5

The leather-bound cocktail book placed on the table, beckoned us over. 10 pages of drinks awaits us. But cocktails are all we are interested in. Divided into 3 sections: moonshine and marketplace; bootleggers and baptists; and housemade hooch, these sections are decidely 1920s in character. I opt for the Pineapple and Basil Fix ($16), which comes served in a jam jar. It is crisp and refreshing.

Next Door recommends 2-3 share plates per person. We ordered 5 plates between 4 people (as often in the past I have been fooled into thinking we need more than is necessary). However, this is not the case and the serving size is just right. Plus there are a number of gluten free options which are clearly marked.

We ordered 2 x truffle parmesan fries ($8.50 each); gangster chicken wings with the blue cheese sauce (8 pieces for $9); the special of the day - pork belly with fried calamari and salad ($19.50) and the beetroot and blue cheese arancini ($12.50). Only the aranchini was not gluten free.

As I'm currently watching My Kitchen Rules, I am tempted to be more brutally honest in my opinions. I couldn't taste the truffle in the fries and there was no sauce with it, but the fries themselves were stick thin, crunchy and delicious. The chicken wings were spicy and the sauce moreish. The Pork Belly was the stand-out for me. It tasted like butter and the minty salad that accompanied it was great. As for the aranchini I couldn't comment, but my friends raved about it.

For dessert, I had the dark chocolate marquis with salted caramel ($14.50). In case you're wondering what a marquis is, it is like a thick mousse. It was incredibly rich with delicious biscuit crumbs on top and gluten free too. However, I was dissapointed that the salted caramel was just toffee.

Food: 17/20

The table water was continually topped up which was good. We were going to order more share plates, but our plates were whisked away before we could ask. The dessert menu was brought out and before we had even finished, the staff approached us to pay and then kindly asked us to move on.

Staff: 4/10

The prices were pretty reasonable. Even with the cocktails included, it worked out at approximately $45 per person - and that included 4 different dishes, dessert and a cocktail.

Value: 8/10

The place was spotless.

Cleanliness: 5/5

TOTAL SCORE: 38/50 or 76%

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Next Door Kitchen & Bar on Urbanspoon

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