Surry Hills Progressive Dinner:
Sugarcane, Bar H & Longrain

Visited on the 3rd of August 2013

*Philsosophyy dined as a guest of Lime & Tonic*

Rather than starting off with my usual blurb about a restaurant, I’ll begin by explaining the concept of progressive dining.

What is a progressive dinner/safari supper?
Simply put, it’s a successive dinner with courses prepared by a selection of hosts. Each course (i.e. entree, main & dessert/drinks) takes place at a different restaurant.

This concept is not as odd as some may think; I’m sure we’ve experienced an evening where we go bar hopping or had a dinner and ended up at our nearest Gelato Messina or Max Brenner.

It’s pretty cool to be able to check out the ambiance & food of a few venues in one evening and walk off those foodcomas in between courses.

Where can I experience this?
This experience can be purchased from Lime & Tonic Sydney. They have selection of hand-picked venues & courses to choose from and all the bookings and fuss are taken care of; all you really need to do is grab a friend or a few and enjoy!

If this sounds like a concept you want to explore, you can find them by clicking here.

Why did I write about 3 restaurants in this one post?

Sugarcane, Bar H and Longrain were the 3 venues we visited during the progressive dinner; the following dishes were all consumed in one evening!


First Stop: Sugarcane

Sugarcane is only a short walk from central station and serves up Thai/Vietnamese cuisine. Before any food was brought to the table, we were offered a glass of wine from one of the two varieties available to us.

Sugarcane’s sign

Prawn on rice cake with caramelised sugarcane, shallots, chilli

mmm… herby

This dish was a nice start to the meal; an abundance of herbs and little kick of chilli made this quite refreshing. The taste of the rice cake disappeared behind the prawn and mixed herbs but it did make for a decent delivery system to transport the food from the plate to my mouth.

Crispy pork hock & green mango salad

Following the prawns was a nice refreshing salad. Even though this dish had crispy pork in it, I still found the salad quite light.

Salt & Pepper Squid

The batter was crisp and well coated around the squid. The overall dish was seasoned nicely and the squid had a nice bite to it.

Close up of the squid

Stir-fried lamb, hoisin sauce, chilli & crisp garlic

This lamb was nice and surprisingly tender! Asides from the lamb being on the fatty side, the dish was decent with simple flavours reminiscent of a well-cooked home meal.

Crisp skin chicken with shallots & blood plum sauce

Up close with the chicken

This was my favourite dish of all the entrees from Sugarcane. Although I usually see plum sauce paired with duck, this combination worked. The chicken was juicy and tender and the dish as a whole was flavourful. Boneless chicken is always a win; all the taste minus the mess!

Ambiance: The lighting was quite dim and intimate; noise levels were fairly low (it wasn’t full on this Wednesday evening however). In the evening, Sugarcane would be most appropriate for an informal quiet catch up over dinner.

Service: Knowledgeable, attentive and down to earth.

Final thoughts of Sugarcane: I was very happy with the level service and the food was of a good standard as well. Personally unsure if it has the ‘return factor’ for me as I do consume a lot of Vietnamese/Thai food, but if you do enjoy Vietnamese/Thai cuisine I’m fairly certain you’ll have a pleasurable experience.

Second Stop: Bar H

After we finished the entrees at Sugarcane, we took a short 4 minute stroll to Bar H in which our tables were conveniently reserved and ready for us. As we were seated, the Bar H staff kindly offered to take our bags and coats cloak room. By this point, I was already quite content due to the sheer volume of food consumed at Sugarcane!

Sign outside Bar H

Steamed fish w/ ginger & shallots

Coming from a person with a Chinese background, I can’t possibly begin to count the number of times I’ve consumed this dish; it’s a timeless classic that I’ll never get sick of. I felt that Bar H’s execution of this classic did it justice. The fish itself had some bite and was still moist and the level of seasoning was nice as well.

Dong-po Pork

Pork belly is always a guilty pleasure; so flavoursome but so fattening. Dong-po pork is traditionally done by pan-frying the pork-belly before a slow braising process. Although I prefer my pork belly a little more tender, the seasoning was quite heavy and the overall dish was tasty.

The mains at Bar H were served with a glass of wine, side of boiled rice and salad.

Glistening pork belly

Ambiance: The lighting was very dim (much dimmer than Sugarcane), noise levels were moderate but the space around my table was a little cramped. If you’re looking to dine I think the space in Bar H is more suited for a small group of people rather than large parties.

Service: Bar H was full & busy while I was there. The service was a little on the slow side but the staff were knowledgeable and friendly.

Final thoughts of Bar H: I loved the decor and the lighting and the food was pleasant. If you’re craving Chinese food and looking for a modern venue with a degree of intimacy, Bar H is worth considering.

Third and Final Stop: Longrain

After our group polished off the fish and most of the pork belly, we headed over to Longrain for dessert and another drink. I’ve always wanted to visit Longrain for a full-course dinner but never got around to it so this was a great opportunity to explore the venue.

  Bunker Bar at Longrain

Pacific pash: 42 below passionfruit vodka, creme de peche, pineapple, mint, fresh lemon & pineapple juice

The bar staff were friendly and offered to make us a cocktail of our choosing. I opted for the ‘pacific pash’ which was reminiscent of a Mojito but more acidic and slightly sweeter.

Young coconut jelly, black sticky rice, coconut tapioca and mango

A little too much going on in this dessert for me but it was nice to finish off with something sweet and not overly heavy.

Ambiance: Lighting was on the dim to moderate, noise levels were quite low (it wasn’t a busy evening) and the decor was quite nice.

Service: Really friendly, helpful and informative.

Final thoughts of Longrain: N/A – I don’t think I can give a well-rounded opinion by sampling one dessert and drink. The service and ambiance were enough to keep this place on my ‘to visit’ list.

By the end of this evening i was most definitely in foodcoma status! If this concept of progressive dining looks intriguing to you, check out it out by clicking here.

40 Reservoir St
Surry Hills NSW 2010


Phone: (02) 9281 1788
Sugarcane on Urbanspoon

Bar H
80 Campbell St
Surry Hills NSW 2010


Phone: (02) 9280 1980
Bar H on Urbanspoon
85 Commonwealth St
Surry Hills NSW 2010


Phone: (02) 9280 2888

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