Neutral Bay's Cali-cool bar is turning up the heat

SoCal, the Californian-slash-Mexican bar-slash-restaurant owned by the guys behind Bondi Hardware, The Butler and The Botanist, has got a hot new toy: an impressive smokehouse just imported from the States.

Head chef Zac Smart has reworked the north shore hotspot's menu to include house-smoked, American-style staples, inspired by his recent trip state-side. SoCal regulars, rest assured: crowd-pleasers like the Baja fish tacos and snapper ceviche aren't going anywhere; it's just now they have SoCal-smoked BBQ pork short ribs and brisket with slaw, pickles and BBQ sauce to compete with.

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What we're most keen to try: the new pulled chipotle chicken with green (yep, green - it's a Cali thing, okay?) waffles and ranch sauce and scallop ceviche with zucchini and charred salsa.

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SoCal isn't the first Sydney establishment to start smoking - we're pegging it as the next big food trend, with new restaurants like Firedoor in Surry Hills offering a completely wood-fired menu of smoked meats, fish and vegetables. Seems like smoking is - say it with us - so. Hot. Right. Now. 

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