As I got stuck into an excellent crusty French-bread take on Sydney’s obsession with miniaturisation – Le Petit Dog ($6) with lamb shoulder, lime labne, green chilli jam and coriander – the ladies at the next table mused: “I guess if I order a Grilled Chicken Salad ($18), I won’t feel so bad about the wine.” So expect to find both the venue and clientele much changed from the old Monkey Bar days. The beverage list takes the best of beers from The Heritage, and throws in a decidedly French selection of drinking fun. Enthusiastic staff will happily guide you through how to best consume your Lillet Blanc ($7) – lemon and soda – or Lillet Rose ($7) – orange segments and lemonade. The menu reproduces the best of Gallagher’s sister Le Pub in Sydney’s CBD, with a bit of a Balmain twist. I tucked into a beautiful Whole Lemon Sole ($20) dousing it with my dining companion’s Béarnaise, which accompanied his nicely cooked grass-fed L’Entrecote ($26) scotch fillet. Dishes come with beer matches that see your steak teamed with Kronenbourg 1664 ($6.50/330ml). Though I’d personally recommend double-parking small ceramic cups of Manoir De Kinkez Cidre Cornouailles ($16/375ml) and Eric Bordelet Calvados ($14) against a Pork Cheek ($16) with crispy pig’s ear, blackberry and cauliflower ‘velvet’.
Le Pub Balmain
255 Darling Street, Balmain
Ph: (02) 9555 5711 lepubbalmain.com.au
Pub Bistro, Modern French $$