With a convict-cum-chic menu, craft beers and views of the coat hanger, one of Sydney’s oldest pubs has reopened with a vengeance. Overlooking Barangaroo, it still has a certain quietness, with a whiff of potential; and with plans to open a penthouse bar upstairs, the owners are surely banking on this.
As people open the doors into the newly renovated Charing Cross Hotel, you’re likely to hear a sharp intake of breath.
Poet Banjo Patterson described the 19th century larrikin Rocks Push gang as ‘wiry, hard-faced little fellows’. Jump a hundred years and The Push was still rebellious but with a left wing group who met over a meal and a beer.
Thirty minutes and thirty years from Sydney is a pub where strangers talk to one another, and Bar Manager John Mundy uses common sense and conversation to enforce the rule of law. Over a malty pint of Old Speckled Hen ($11.50) you might enquire after his glass jar of Pickled Eggs ($1.10/each).
Perched on a balcony at the end of a peninsula my dining companion dubbed “the tonsil of Sydney Harbour” I survey the view. The wide, comfortable verandah affords a view of the Iron Cove, Anzac and Sydney Harbour bridges; a vista only improved by fireworks (thanks to the Sydney Opera House’s 40th Birthday).
Poking my nose in the door as I wandered past last year, I wasn’t immediately drawn into this warmly textured dining room. More fool me, as there’s a carefully considered dining experience to be had; honed since they first opened. Plus: with a well-mixed Pineapple Negroni ($16) in your hand, it’s easy to forget it’s only hump day!
I was warned: categorise this restaurant and whatever it is, will vanish in a puff of steaming chai, rather like their steamy yet elegant dessert: Hot Tea, Iced Tea, Aaah Tea featuring rhubarb, cranberry and raspberries. But I’m going to have a crack using Owner/Chef Adam Humphrey’s own words: “We’re very serious about what goes on the plate, but we’re taking the piss.”
With the weather taking a decided turn for the worse of late, Lyndey Milan’s latest series Taste of Ireland could not be better timed! It’s currently airing on 7TWO every Sunday at midday until the 17th March. Whilst home-cook hero Lyndey Milan has a knack for making foreign cuisines accessible, if you’re keen to get a taste of simple Irish peasant food without getting your hands dirty, head in to eat Colin Fassnidge’s colcannon at Four in Hand.
This venue has settled in beautifully; these days is looks more like a garden than a hipster pub affectation. Matt Kemp is clearly primed to lift it from a wine bar with optional food, to a modern British foodie destination. Pumped up floor staff are right behind him, too. His offerings are simple, produce-driven and seasonally sensitive.
As most of Sydney settled in to watch the new season of MasterChef unfold, I pondered the pressure points of a Scotch egg: a just-set yolk; intriguingly fresh flavours packed into a tasty, sausage meat shell; crisp, golden crumb.