Rosie Campbell’s Jerk Diner & Rum Bar Jamaican Restaurant Surry Hills Sydney Review

Rum Bar and Jamaican Restaurant Surry Hills

Rosie Campbell’s Jerk Diner & Rum Bar Jamaican Restaurant Surry Hills Sydney was quite a surprise!

Rum Bar Jamaican Restaurant
Rosie Campbell’s Jerk Diner and Rum Bar Jamaican Restaurant

My partner and I went on a wander through the streets of Surry Hills and stumbled upon an unassuming yellow and navy blue place with simple signage. For a moment we couldn’t tell if it was a food and drink only restaurant or whether we could enjoy a drink without purchasing food. (For those of you who are not familiar with the system in Sydney, there are three main liquor licenses that businesses can apply for. 1. BYO 2. Drinks with food 3. Just drinks. So, finding a nice place where you can drink without having to eat food can be difficult.) Fortunately, Rosie Campbell’s offers drinks without food at their rum bar.


They also have two signature beers under the Rosie Campbell’s name which had the right amount of maltiness to make them worth drinking again. A perfect accompaniment to anything with jerk flavour.



We weren’t hungry but it had been awhile since we’d had anything Jamaican, so the temptation was too great. Still, we went small and chose a jerk pork sandwich which, while simple, was flavoursome and filling. The waitress was helpful in advising what was in it and what they could do to help considering I can handle only a tiny amount of milk products. They were able to put the cheese on the side for me, which was great and which my partner enjoyed. The sauce was slightly sweet and the meat melted in the mouth. There was also a slice of ham on the sandwich to add some saltiness. Mayo is used in the bread instead of butter so if you like your meat creamy, this is the way to go. The jerk chips that accompanied the meal were a surprise as I hadn’t had chips that tasted like they had a light dusting of brown sugar on them. Definitely a perfect match to the sauce.


The wines were a surprise. Being a small restaurant I wasn’t expecting anything interesting in the reds on offer but they had chosen well and provided some delicious wines at prices that I would expect for a glass in that area. (Not overpriced) I had a very tasty Juniper Crossing Tempranillo followed by a glass of the Schild Estate Shiraz Grenache Mouvedre. Great choices.


Of course, if you’re looking to try many different drinks then this is the rum bar for you. Two pages of rum, mostly from different countries in South America. We didn’t have the time (or the $) but when we do we’ll be back to try other things on the menu and perhaps while away some time with a few glasses of rum.

We liked that we were able to get a booth seat and saw that other booth seats had been reserved, so it is definitely a popular venue. I strongly recommend, if you plan to go, reserving the middle booth seat.


The tables that are side ways in the middle are uncomfortable as you are lower than everyone else on the right side so you’re basically looking at people’s backsides in the upright stalls. My partner and I could see every customer that came in look at those tables and try and sit somewhere else. Anyone who was sat there begged to be moved to another table the moment it was available. As my partner and I have some restaurant experience we debated what Rosie’s could do about those tables to make them more attractive to people in the short term, before completely replacing them with smaller tables accompanied by chairs that had backs on them. The only thing we could suggest is turning them all 90 degrees so that people didn’t face people’s legs or had to look directly at other people eating or have the serving staff passing behind their backs. Though, I guess if it was really crowded, no one would notice.

The music on a Saturday night was ambient and not cutting at all. Soft bass that still made the area friendly without drowning out any chance of conversation.

If you’re looking for a nice new experience in Surry Hills, find out more here. Rosie Campbell’s Jerk Diner & Rum Bar Jamaican Restaurant in Surry Hills, Sydney

  • Neil A is an author, blogger and tutor, with a variety of books on Amazon. Check out his children's series here: