At street level, the CBD The Civic Hotel pub looks like any other mid-century Sydney corner boozer, with its tiled facade, red brick facade, and curvy corners. But make your way to its rooftop terrace to the moody new restaurant Ni Hao Bar, where you’ll be transported to a place that feels millions of miles from the city center – 1970s Hong Kong, to be. exact.
The restaurant, which opened in February, evokes the free buzz of the era; neon signs abound and classic Hong Kong movies are projected on the walls. Overlooked by the murals of Hong Kong legends Bruce Lee and Donnie Yen, punters savor Cantonese-inspired snacks and sip cocktails inspired by the flavors and ingredients of the Asian continent.
Owner Howin Chui has a pedigree in Hong Kong-inspired restaurants, having previously opened Kowloon Cafe and Kowloon Stir Fry King, both nearby. He seeks to bring what he loves about the bustling island, especially its food and nightlife, to the people of Sydney. Ni Hao Bar is his latest business.
âWhat I love and miss most about Hong Kong is its nightlife. There isn’t a place in Sydney where you can just have fun and feel like you’re on the busy streets of Hong Kong. This is what I want Ni Hao Bar to be â, says Chui Large format.
Chui works closely with the venue’s chef, Bremmy Setiyoko, to offer a menu of remixed Cantonese classics.
Highlights of the menu include the wok hay cheung fun (rice rolls and noodles stuffed with Wagyu beef with a smoky glaze); spinach noodles with key crab, XO sauce and pork crackers; fried fries with Cup Noodles seasoning (and served in the brand’s plastic-lined container); and a Peking Duck Toast that combines the classic hoisin flavor of Peking Duck with the suave mozzarella strands of a top notch toast.
âPeking duck toast is one of my favorites,â says Chui. âI created the concept and Bremmy brought it to life. The Peking Duck is tasty so we knew putting it in a toast would work. You can’t find it anywhere else in Sydney.
Not to let its gastronomic endeavors attract all the attention, Ni Hao Bar is also causing a stir with its signature cocktails, made with ingredients from Hong Kong and Asia at large.
âWe blend our Long Island iced teas [dubbed âKowloon Iced Teaâ] with Vita Lemon Tea, which is popular in Hong Kong, and for Asian children here in Australia who grew up drinking [it]. It also makes the classic Long Island smoother and more pleasant.
There is also the Yuenyeung Martini – a riff washed down on Yuenyeung, an iconic drink of Hong Kong combining coffee and tea. Here, Hennessy cognac is infused with black tea and then mixed with condensed milk, cold infusion and Mr Black coffee liqueur. Five spices are added to the Negronis, while the Pandan & Coconut is made with pandan infused rum, kaya, red beans and soy milk.
Ni Hao Bar offers various specialties on weekdays, such as two glasses of sparkling wine with a dozen oysters for $ 20 on Thursdays and a dozen crispy chicken wings with two Tsing Tao beers for $ 20 on Wednesdays. âWe are trying to attract people to the city again,â Chui says. âThe pandemic has been difficult for everyone, so we are running these promotions so that we can attract people to our doors during this difficult time. We just want Sydney’s nightlife to come back.
Bar Ni Hao
Level 1/388 Pitt Street, Sydney
0420 205 020
Wed and Thu 5 p.m.-12 p.m.
Fri & Sat 5 pm-2.30am
Sun 5 pm-10pm