Whether you’re a cafe, bar or restaurant, a great first impression is key to a thoroughly enjoyable dining experience. Should those first moments fall flat, no matter the quality of food or drink, as an establishment you’re already fighting an uphill battle and typically it’s one you’re unlikely to win. Such a simple thing can be so devastating but on the opposite end, if absolutely nailed, it can also raise you to that next level. Enter 83 Hanover Street.
Which side of the coin does 83 Hanover Street land on?
Obviously the positive one. Walking down off busy Hanover Street, the venue is absolutely stunning. From the drop lighting, the wine glasses, the open kitchen and the simple table layout, 83 Hanover Street is incredibly easy on the eye. Staff are welcoming and knowledgeable while walking you elegantly down the uncommon road of a Scottish-Chilean fusion menu based around the concept of sharing. With the best seats in the venue (at the bar) always free for walk-ins, 83 Hanover Street will always be an option for both serious and casual diners alike.
In my interview with Dominic Wright of Brauhaus, he said something that will stick with me (forgive his language) for the rest of my life. “I believe if people give a shit about food, they should give a shit about drinks as well. So if they’re not giving a shit about both then it’s fallen apart at some point.”
At 83 Hanover Street, they absolutely care about both and it is amazing. It’s great when you see a food and drink menu that interact, even better when the wine is well chosen and includes one or two natural options. I think the real genius of the wine menu is the option of 125ml glasses or 350ml carafes which ties in incredibly well with the sharing concept. It gives you the chance to try a range of wines (at great prices) either alone or in a group while going along your Scottish-Chilean adventure.
This though brings me to a negative of the 83 Hanover Street concept where the food will arrive simply when it is ready. Great for big groups willing to share but not for dining alone or if you’re (like me) attempting to pair a wine with each dish. If dining in groups of less than 4 I would highly recommend ordering as you go rather than all at once, as it all comes quite quickly. While this method of service may be great for the restaurants turnover on tickets and diners to experience more options, in smaller groups it can somewhat distract from the dining experience and be perceived as rushed. Especially with such large portions.
I was advised to order 2 starters and one main on arrival at the bar. After taking my first bite of the pork belly (amazing by the way), the next two dishes arrived together and I was still only half way through my first glass of wine. I had planned my next two glasses already! At this point I just became confused and overwhelmed by all the options presented to me, it was too much all at once.
The food though is class. The pork belly chichirones with a roquito pepper jam were a great combination, the spice of the jam cutting through the richness of the pork. Amazing.
The flavours of the beef short rib were nothing short of incredible, the purple causa was absolutely superb and again cut through the fat of the short rib. Causa is apparently a spiced mashed potato from Peru, but hey, Chile and Peru have a history fighting over who invented what. Pisco anyone? The causa had a big citrus punch and was probably the highlight of the entire meal.
A lowlight was my second short rib, though luckily I was reaching my limit of food intake for the night. I know short rib tends to be fatty but this was beyond edible, if I was sharing and received this I probably would have sent it back.
Overall though, I really enjoyed my time at 83 Hanover Street. While there were a couple of low points, the entire experience of the venue made up for it and left me looking forward to my next visit. Dining is an overall experience and the team at 83 Hanover Street are offering a fantastic product, I have absolutely no doubt the issues I encountered will be improved upon my next visit. I will though, if dining alone next time, order at my own pace as an easy solution to being overwhelmed the first time around, it may be something the staff should advise for lone diners at the bar.