Out with pub-grub and in with Head Chef Elaine Lee’s gastronomic posh nosh (to borrow BBC’s ‘spoof’ cooking show name). I love seeing oxtail on the menu, so I jumped at the Oxtail Ravioli ($15); the parcels of homemade pasta and tomato coulis sauce are surprisingly light for such a rich meat. Their Lamb Shank Curry ($18) is on the heavier side, with meat falling off the bone into a mild curry with chat potatoes and coconut rice. The fragrant rice is cooked with coconut meat and adds a nice sweetness to the hearty Malaysian-style curry. If the oxtail is ‘hers’ then the shank is ‘his’ – and it seems I am having an identity crisis. The Panzanella Salad ($14) is summery but I can’t resist a sourdough bread salad. (Only Italians could get away with a salad of stale bread!) Don’t be deterred, the bread is toasted and chewy and tossed with cherry tomatoes and bocconcini cheese. The Fries with Garlic Chips and Rosemary ($8) sound better than they are; come on people, they’re shoestring fries with sparse flakes of dried garlic. From frills to no-frills I should mention $2 gets you a beer or glass of wine with your meal (Monday to Wednesday).
347 Kent Street, Sydney
Ph: (02) 9299 487 www.cityhotel.com.au
Pub Bistro $-$$