With dumplings one buck each on a Thursday night, most patrons are tucking into steaming bamboo baskets—but at The Balmain Hotel there’s also a new menu to try. This is an intriguingly designed pub, each room has its own style, with the dining area around the kitchen dark-wooded, low-lit and casual. In here, salty creamy goodness is doubled down in both smoked cheese-enriched stuffed zucchini flowers and aromatic jalapeno croquettes, each irresistibly deep-fried and crispy. Throw in some fluffy Peking duck steamed buns topped with fresh slivers of spring onion, and you have one tasty Share Plate for 2 ($35). But this is a pub, and pubs live and die by their classics. Fortunately the Balmain Burger ($18) stands and delivers. This is classic Australiana: smoky, charred beef patty, sharp with grated beetroot and pickles, and freshened up with salad. More out there is the overly sweet and slightly dry Chargrilled Mahi Mahi ($26), with pineapple and quinoa salsa. For dessert, Salted Caramel Sliders ($12) are fluffy little ice cream buns with a nice hot-cold dynamic when dipped into the warm chocolate sauce. But beware; eat them quickly to avoid distressing sogginess. This is a solid pub menu, and the stand out dish reflects it – that’s one tasty burger.
The Balmain Hotel
74 Mullens Street, Balmain
Ph: (02) 9810 7500 thebalmain.com
Pub Bistro $$-$$$