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Friday 18 December 2015

The Royal Hotel, Paddington: FOOD REVIEW

Ah, when you find a gem you have overlooked for no good reason! Now, this place is firmly on my food and wine and relax radar.

An impromptu lunch date turned a so-so free lunch slot into a languishing lunch in one of Sydney's loveliest precincts: The Royal Hotel, Paddington.

In the heart of Paddington at the famous Fiveways, the iconic The Royal Hotel - with a heritage dating back to 1886 - is a vibrant local pub which has been injected with new energy, while retaining its much loved atmosphere. And on a glorious mid-week early arvo, the sunlight and relaxed atmosphere is just what you need to revive the soul, and carry on for the rest of the day.

Recently purchased by Public House Management Group, The Royal Hotel has been updated with an interiors refresh and new menus, to bring the venue into the 'now', without losing its historical charm. Regulars will still feel right at home, while the exceptional new offering will no doubt entice a new generation to experience all that The Royal Hotel has to offer. For newbies like me, it was a beautiful intro to my new fave Paddo haunt.

The Royal Hotel stretches over four stunning levels, each with its own unique ambience. So, if you like a midday rendezvous - head to The Verandah, where my dining partner and I ate and hung out.

If you want a relaxed drink while watching your favourite sporting team or function - stay on street level - the ground floor is the Royal Bara modern day, pub patron’s sports hub, with a hearty bar menu of pulled pork burgers and hot wings. The setting: comfy leather sofas, bar stools and live screening of all the top sporting events. Maybe I will pretend to like sport lots so I can head here for a cold one (wine, that is) and indulge in some hot wings!

Back to The Verandah, upstairs. Described as 'gastropub dining', The Verandah is bright and airy and inviting, with summery pops of blue and white decor. Enjoy the rooftop area and outside terrace overlooking Paddo's streets, while sampling the gourmet fare on offer. Look at the beautiful setting!
And outside:

On the same level as The Verandah, where you can lounge and have a lazy drink:

The Verandah has a new menu, so think delicious baked camembert with dried fruits, nut crumble and lavosh, seared Canadian scallops with miso butter and parsnip or the pork belly with pistachio and pork croquette, baby onions, smoked carrot and apple puree for a unique take on an Aussie favourite.

For the dessert aficionado, try the chocolate brownie dish, or the smashed pav. A small tight sweets menu means you can all order your fave, and share. Dessert pics below. 

More of the menu is below, but I had the perfectly cooked scallops. Behold. SO good, you guys:

My dining partner had the delicious wagyu beef burger, with Dijon, lettuce, tomato, pickles, cheddar and smoked tomato aioli, which was served up with WAFFLE FRIES. Yes, I am shouting. They were so, so good.

Waffle fries, ready for their close up:

Here is more of the menu:

Freshly shucked oysters. The Charcuterie board (cured meats, potted pork, pickles + local olives, smoked ham and cheese croquettes and curried mayo).

Salt and pepper squid, with pickled fennel and lime aioli (gluten free). The popular baked camembert (we are SO coming back for this!), with dried fruits, nut crumble and lavosh (gluten free).

Then there is the kingfish carpaccio, with baby capers, watercress, soft herbs and croutons.

The parmesan and truffle fries (oh my GOD! Next time, get in my belly), with aioli (vegan).

The salads:

‘Vitality’: organic quinoa, marinated feta, young spinach, roasted sweet potato, heirloom tomatoes, roasted seeds and green salsa (v, gf), and you can add smoked chicken for an extra fiver.

Smoked chicken salad, with dill, lime, roasted almonds, gem lettuce and watermelon (gluten free).

Sashimi salad, with green tea noodles, miso emulsion, crisp seaweed, wasabi peas, fried onions and sashimi tuna.

The mains: the Parmesan and herb chicken schnitzel, with chips, slaw, aioli and lemon.

The local Snapper, with Paris mash, beurre blanc and baby capers (gluten free).

The pork belly, with pistachio and pork croquette, baby onions, smoked carrot puree and apple puree.

The beer battered fish and Chips, with gherkin mayo and lemon.

The butternut pumpkin ravioli, with blue cheese and caramelised walnuts (vegan).

The 'Low and Slow' beef ribs, with chipotle BBQ glaze, chips and pickled jalapenos (gluten free).

And, from the grill: the Eye Fillet, 180g - Gippsland Vic; the 150 day grain fed sirloin, 400g on the bone; the 'Cape Grim' pasture fed beef; the rump, 250g; and the Riverina angus.

All steaks are served with cumin roasted tomatoes + your choice of mash or chips + choice of sauce Sauces; chimichurri, Paris butter, peppercorn, jus

The sides: green beans, feta and caramelised onions; baby gem lettuce, pear and blue cheese; the ancient grain salad and herb dressing; the roast carrots and sherry caramel, and fries with chipotle mayo.

The desserts: honeycomb and chocolate; apple and ginger crumble and vanilla custard; international cheeses (cheese condiments and breads).

They also have kids bento boxes, all served with fresh fruit, yummy snacks and ice cream.

Choose from: Teriyaki chicken and noodle salad ($12), mini cheeseburger sliders ($12), and fish and chips ($12).

Level three is the Elephant Room, with a lovely décor, with a vibrant dash of red and comfortable seating areas, making it a sophisticated destination for after work drinks or private functions.

You can even take in the stunning views of Sydney’s city skyline from the glorious rooftop area, with an impressive list of your favourite cocktails. Try the Passionfruit Rose Punch - a delicious mix of Cointreau, passionfruit syrup, fresh passionfruit, limes, orange segments and refreshing mint for a delicious summer cocktail.

With a renewed ambience and interiors, yummy new food menus, an excellent cocktail offering and an exciting line up of events (check their website here, and Facebook here), The Royal Hotel continues to be a local Paddington favourite while becoming summer’s new must visit pub for anyone looking for a great time with friends. I am IN!

I mean, look at my wine shot...

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