Buzz: Touted as the CBD’s largest brasserie and bar, The Exchange marks the arrival of the Asia Square building on our radars.
Décor: A little more clean-cut and contemporary than its nearby financial-themed counterpart The Bank Bar + Bistro,The Exchange has an inviting vibe of its own with its lengthy marble-topped island bar, open concept kitchen and airy interior. On the walls are images of a stock exchange and traders, which, given the general public’s feeling towards them these days, could serve as a dartboard. There are also big TVs tuned in to Bloomberg should you miss the opening bell on Wall Street.
Drinks: The Exchange has an impressive wine list (impressive enough to rival most venues that claim to be wine bars) ranging from glass house pours at $15 to a $1,688 bottle of Krug Clos du Mesnil. Pretty much every varietal is represented and one can assume that the Champagne flows freely whenever deals are struck upstairs. To go with the wine, they’ve also got a large range of single malt whiskies ($16-72), top shelf spirits (from $14), liqueurs ($13), cocktails (from $16) and great coffee ($3.20-4.80).
Food: A spread of Western restaurant standards leaning towards Aussie fare with standouts including the smoked duck and poached pear salad with Roquefort cheese ($18), the Anzac Burger ($24) and The Exchange roasted lamb shank ($29). Dessert items like the Hokey Pokey Parfait ($12), mixed berry trifle ($13) and pavlova ($12) are temping too. The Exchange serves two-course lunches from $28 (three-course from$35) and they’re open for breakfast from 8am.
Music: Soft rock and other blend-into-the-background grooves.
Crowd: Yup, the long sleeves and suits, but at least their ties are undone.
Why we’ll be back: They’ve got special menus (like the one currently available for Christmas) and, hey, in a perfect world, every bar would open at 8am.