The scene: This nautical themed bar and restaurant is a popular night spot with the local well-heeled business men and women who flock down to the waterfront after their working day is done. Whether you and your friends just want to have a few quiet beers to start off your night, or want to spend a few hours over a three course meal, Helm Bar has you covered.
On the top deck at night when the lights from the buildings in Pyrmont shine brightly off the water, it isn’t hard to imagine that you’re staring out to sea off the deck of a ship. The abundance of navy memorabilia, signal flags, timber decking and rope also help to continue the boating feel.
The grub: My friend and I started off with the antipasto plate ($18), a standard staple sharing entrée plate with thick slices of honey-roasted ham, salami, brie cheese, olives, pickles and lavosh. We coupled that with a few cocktails; I had a lovely, tart lemon Tom Collins ($12) while my friend went for the very berry Basil Brush ($14) which was very refreshing.
For the mains we dove deep into the seafood (surely worse places to do that than here, right?). The seafood paella ($25) was good actually, one of the better paellas I’ve had in Australia. Lovely, rich tomato sauce, well-cooked rice and a generous serving of chorizo sausage, mussels, calamari and prawns. My only issue was that (and this is going to sound really precious) I had to take the tails off of all the prawns myself and my hands wound up smelling really fishy.
My friend went for the marinière black mussels ($24) which came in a proper, Belgium pot. She wasn’t in a particularly sharing sort of mood when it came to the mussels, but I managed to liberate one or two from out of the simmered white wine and onion sauce. Some of them were a little small, but they were delicious.
Unfortunately we’d rather overindulged on antipasto and seafood so there wasn’t really room for desert. The $12 Nutella pizza definitely looked to be a winner though.
Behind the bar: Helm Bar has a pretty good selection of local and international beers and a strong, predominantly domestic wine list. It’s their cocktail list that was a winner for me, particularly their selection of Helm Bar special cocktails.
Verdict: Perhaps a bit expensive, considering it’s (for want of a better expression) ‘pub grub’, but you’re paying for more than just the food and the drinks. You’re also paying for the location, for the view – and what a wonderful view it is too.
Three mizzen–masts out of five.