As people open the doors into the newly renovated Charing Cross Hotel, you’re likely to hear a sharp intake of breath. The light, coastally inspired interior is a delightful surprise, especially considering the unassuming pub exterior plonked upon a busy five-way intersection. The wicker chairs of the stylish, baby blue dining room are but one place to relax and explore a drinks list that hits the trifecta. So expect to smile whatever your tipple – cocktails, wine or on-tap craft brew. A Locals Drop ($17) blending white rum, ruby grapefruit and Campari will help to reduce the rich excesses of Chef Matt Kemp’s Crispy Pigs Head ($14), pressed into fat, crumbed batons and complemented by lovely piccalilli. A relative cheapie – Sant Josep White Garnacha ($36/bottle) – is opulent enough to accompany a heroic Roast Pork Neck ($30) with crackling, radicchio, balsamic, honey and pears, without destroying a simple plate of Swordfish ($28) adorned with juicy, wet cucumbers, pink grapefruit and perilla. You’ll find the signature modern British touches – like a Peach, Raspberry and Champagne Trifle ($14) – that Kemp is famous for, sitting alongside area-appropriate seafood, like House Salted Cod Risotto with Poached Egg ($18). And everything, down to the sides, like compelling Thrice Cooked Fries ($7), show off Kemp’s usual mastery of flavour and technique.
Charing Cross Hotel
81 Carrington Road, Waverley
Ph: (02) 9389 3093 charingcrosshotel.com.au
British, Pub Bistro, Wine, Cocktails $$$