Champagne at Reign
Walking along the ornately-tiled corridors of the QVB, we pass a gentleman in a suit playing a black grand piano – a dash of sophistication within this royally-named Sydney landmark.
At Reign, we take our seat in a prime position by the grand arched windows overlooking George and Druitt streets. Not only can I see the sandstone steps and clock tower of the historic Sydney Town Hall building; but the bronze statue of Queen Victoria herself sits beneath us, making us indeed feel like royalty watching the tourists below and bustling after-work crowd scatter like ants among the streets. My tip – reserve a table by the windows if you can.
Interestingly, the Queen Victoria statue was created in 1908 in Dublin and was transported to Sydney in 1986 for the grand re-opening of the Queen Victoria Building.
The interiors are light, bright and feminine. I’m seated on a low dusky pink fabric chair with chrome legs in front of a marble-top table. Around us, seated on a mix of chairs, bar stools, high top tables and tan poufs are groups of friends, couples and after-work colleagues of various ages, taking advantage of ‘The Royal Hour’ from 5-7pm. Staff are busy at the long counter shaking rose-gold cocktail shakers – perhaps making for guests one of their renowned concoctions which includes The Hummingbird and the di Nonancout among the favourites.
Our sommelier Kyle talks us through the drinks list. With more than 150 champagnes and sparkling wines on the menu, bubbles are definitely the order of the day as far as I’m concerned. Sparkling wines come from not only the top producers in France’s Champagne region, but also rare boutique drops from craft producers. You can taste drinks by the glass or sample a Champagne Flight.
We opt for the Producer Spotlight Tasting Flight which changes regularly and includes four 75ml tastings.
The nibbles menu has a fairly extensive selection – including oysters, smoked salmon, kingfish and beef cheek. We sample the beef sliders on fluffy, pillowy rolls with a spicy sauce; goat cheese tortellini, watercress pesto, black olives, cherry tomatoes; and duck liver mousse served with house-made chive crumpets (we were presented with more crumpets to finish off our paté).
For dessert, we finish with donuts, honey, yoghurt, cinnamon, star anise and pistachio; and coffee served elegantly with sugar cubes gold teaspoons – a little touch of the royal-life.
Reign is not quite nightclub, not quite bar and not quite café – but quite possibly a merging of the best elements of all three. Queen Vic would surely give her royal seal of approval.
Level One, Queen Victoria Building
455 George Street, Sydney (Druitt Street entrance)
This is an edited version of my story which first appeared on Vacations & Travel.