Festooned with fairy lights, a stocking-clad doll, vintage photos, and boasting craft beers on tap, the bar at the Forest Lodge Hotel—or Flodge as I once lovingly knew it—has come a long way from my fond memories of stale beer and aromatic football socks. Where there were once VB jugs, rusted-on locals, and footy on the TV, there’s now Craft Beer Tasting Paddles ($15) and beard and flannelette-types relaxing to the tunes of The Strokes and Radiohead. Moving down the paddle from a fresh and hoppy Murray’s Stone Kicker Ale ($7) to the wonderfully named, and smoke and barley flavoured Draughty Kilt Scotch Ale ($9), I’ve got to admit—things have changed for the better. This becomes more apparent with the arrival of a perfectly cooked Kangaroo Fillet ($26), with chunks of burnished onion hidden under an earthy beetroot, walnut and goats cheese salad. The madras-style Fish Curry ($20) we’re told is “famous around here”. It’s turmeric heavy, mild and elegant, with a slab of crisp-skinned salmon; while Grilled Chilli Octopus Salad ($16) is reminiscent of a green papaya salad but a little too salty—nothing that can’t be fended off with a slurp of beer. This is a very cosy local and well worth a look.
Forest Lodge Hotel
117 Arundel Street, Forest Lodge
Ph: (02) 9660 1872 forestlodgehotel.com.au
Pub Bistro $$-$$$