The Oaks, Neutral Bay ($)

Address: 118 Military Rd, Neutral Bay NSW

Tel: (02) 9953 5515

Website: http://www.oakshotel.com.au/articles/Home/1

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The Oaks in Neutral Bay, is owned and run by the Thomas family. They purchased it about 40 years ago from the Furlong family, which had held the licence for it since 1918. It has been described as an “institution”, serving lower north shore patrons since 1885, and has become an icon in the food and bar world, especially north of the bridge.

When I mentioned that I was going to The Oaks this weekend, a number of my friends (mainly those who are older than me- in their 30s and 40s) exclaimed “oh, The Oaks”, or “yeah I know that place.”  When I had asked people my age, some had heard of it but not many had visited.

Based on these reactions, it is was easy to see that The Oaks was more popular with the older crowd, or even with Generation Xers, than the recent 18-25 year olds.

In order to attract a younger crowd, The Oaks recently hired renowned architect Paul Kelly, who has worked on masterpieces such as Black By Ezard, Sokyo and Cargo Bar. The majority of the $4 million renovations were recently completed, and I was lucky enought to be invited to try the new menu by Celebrity Chef Danny Russo and long time The Oaks cook, Denise Brinson.

Owner, David Kelly and the lovely George from Wasamedia took us on a tour around the historic hotel.

Atmosphere

The atmosphere varies depending on which room you are in.

The Bar & Grill area is where we started our tour, and concluded it.

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It is the newly renovated area of the Hotel, with dark colours and funky lights, beautiful wooden finishes, and a modern yet classic look.

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The cellar in the Bar & Grill room makes this room feel more like a restaurant than a pub

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The glass partitions add some depth to the room, while the dark colours ensure the room is still cosy and welcoming

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The stone walls and chequered carpets ensure that The Oaks retains some of its pub characteristics, despite its classy new look

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The bar area is quite large and there are plenty of great beers on tap

The Oaks Butcher sources some of the best meat in Sydney and The Oaks offers diners the option of cooking their own meat! While some find this a little strange (why would you pay to cook your own meat?), others (such as MC) are fans, and think it is a novel way to make cooking exciting, like Korean BBQ!

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Fun fact: apparently the purple lighting in the room was a mistake!

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In the outdoor area, you can cook your own meat on the DIY BBQ and enjoy the lovely sunshine or the shade of the giant oak tree, planted by Ms Kathleen McGill (nee Furlong) in 1938.

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The BBQ area is located in that little hut with a chimney…

It was a custom of the store in the 1930s to give an Oak Tree to any patron spending more than Ten pounds in one purchase.

It is now a tradition that good luck comes to anyone struck by an acorn from the tree in Autumn.

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The Garden Pavilion is coming soon and renovations are currently underway for this area of The Oaks.

Following this, Mr Thomas led us to Nineteenthirtysix, the funky bar which opened in that same year.

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Mr Thomas told us that the bar was popular with locals in the area who would rush in for a beer after work at 5.00pm, before it closed at 6.00pm.

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Mr Thomas giving us a tour of the Hotel

He said the bar originally had many doors facing onto the road, and the actual bar was in the middle of the room, to make it easier for the crowd to get in and get out in the one hour after work.

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It was interesting to see the original tiles and the $90,000 painting hanging in the bar, which are historic parts of Sydney’s history.

It was also intriguing to see the Bottle Department window where patrons used to purchase bottles of beer and alcohol to take home.

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While the bar looks a little dated, I think the old school retro vibe adds character and authenticity to The Oaks.

We moved through the back kitchen areas to the Garden Bar, a quaint little art deco space with a lovely view of the courtyard.

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The Garden Bar from outside

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The view from inside

Inside, the bar is the perfect sports bar, and offers a great space for a chilled out drink or a game of pool.

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The Garden Bar area

Next we headed up to the Cue & Cushion, the pool table area of the bar, located upstairs.

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Mr Thomas told us that the wooden stairs and paneling are all original. They looked to be in excellent repair and I was impressed that a Hotel that is over 100 years old could be in such great condition.

We walked through some of the many pool table rooms, and the outdoor balcony area which can be hired out for functions including birthdays and special occasions.

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The upstairs bar

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An old telephone, still mounted on the wall in one of the rooms

Walking through the rooms we were led past the poker machines, and back down the stairs to the Bar & Grill. 

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The tour gave us a lovely insight into the historic Hotel and really brought home the importance of supporting local businesses which work so hard to preserve Sydney’s historic and cultural history.

Service

Mr Thomas was lovely and MC and I both commented on how he and his son, Andrew worked in the pub, wearing the same uniform as the rest of the staff, and doing the same jobs.

They were friendly and down to earth, and you could see that they had a real connection with the patrons and locals in the area.

MC and I both noted that the staff were also quite relaxed and friendly, very helpful and polite (although I’m not sure if this is due to the fact that we were a table of food bloggers!). 

Nonetheless, we had no complaints with respect to service.

We were also excited to hear Chef Danny Russo’s explanation of the menu.

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Chef Danny Russo

He mentioned that it was designed to deliver tasty and exciting food which is good quality, without alienating the locals who were after good value pub grub.

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He also noted that there were plenty of salads and dishes to please the ladies, as well as a number of good sharing options. 

Food

The Oaks has about 5 different bar and restaurant areas: Bar & Grill, Garden Pavillion, Cue & Cushion Bar, Nineteenthirtysix and Garden Bar, each with it’s own distinct style and vibe.

We dined at the Bar & Grill area and had an array of entrees, mains and desserts.

We started off with a drink- I had a Lemon Lime Bitters and MC had a cider.

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Entrees

To start off with we had:

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Brioche bun with smoked butter, $6.00

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Buffalo wings with blue cheese aioli, $15.00

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Beer battered potato scallops, with sea salt and vinegar, $10.00

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Fried buttermilk chicken with aioli, $15.00

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Popcorn shrimp with chilli mayonnaise, $19.00

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Ocean trout gravlax with baby capers, radish, horseradish cream & fresh dill, $22.00

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Fried baby calamari with lemon and aioli, $18.00

All the entrees were delicious: the salmon fresh and light, the calamari and chicken crunchy and golden, the brioche (best I have ever tasted) soft and sweet, and the blue cheese aioli, creamy yet tangy.

There was a great selection and although some of the entrees were a little pricey for their size, they were quite filling and all were great quality.

My favourite entree: a toss up between the Buttermilk Chicken and the Brioche. The chicken was so crunchy and flavoursome, and the brioche was just soft and moreish.

Least favourite entree: the potato scallops were a bit too oily for my liking and not very crunchy either.

Mains

For mains, we shared a variety of dishes around the table:

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Slow roasted Pork Belly with cauliflower puree, brussel sprouts, bacon, red wine jus & apple cider relish, $28.00

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Roasted brussel sprouts, crispy bacon & almonds, $8.00

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200g fillet mignon (grain fed), wrapped in bacon with spinach and mash, $28.00

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Not sure which steak this is (I think sirloin- 300g $28.00?), served with Cafe de Paris butter 

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Eye fillet, 200g (grain fed), $28.00

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Au Congo Mussels, cooked with coconut cream, lemongrass & chilli, $29.00

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The Original Burger with tomato, lettuce, ‘tomato ketchup for grownups’, fries & condiments, $18.00

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The Vegie Burger with grilled zucchini & eggplant, roasted tomato, rocket, haloumi cheese, caramelised onion, aioli & fries, $22.00

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The Classic Cheese Burger with tomato, lettuce, beetroot, cheese, apple wood smoked streaky bacon, ‘tomato ketchup for grownups’, fries & condiments, $23.00

All the dishes were great but the delicious steaks were cooked to perfection (we ordered them medium rare). They were soft and juicy and there was a lot of variety from the meat to the sauces.

The burgers were great too, with a quirky brioche bun and some crunchy and golden chips on the side.

Favourite dish: I loved the pork belly, I am always a fan of it but the crunchy crackling and soft belly, paired with bacon (double pork) and apple cider relish, is definitely a winner.

Least favourite dish: the mussels. Although there was a fabulous portion size, the flavour of the mussels did not appeal to me, it was a little too much as I would prefer them with fresher flavours like chilli and garlic. Perhaps Provencale would have been better!

Desserts

Finally, we tried three of the desserts:

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Hot apple pie with vanilla bean ice cream & cream, $14.00

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Warm sticky date pudding with butterscotch sauce & vanilla bean ice cream, $14.00

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Banoffee pie served with caramel gelato, $14.00

All the desserts were tasty but the Sticky Date could have done with a little more sauce (personally I thought my own version of sticky date was better and so did MC).

I would have liked to try the soft centred chocolate fondant with hazelnut gelato ($14.00), and the passionfruit creme brulee with passionfruit gelato ($14.00), but we ran out of time and couldn’t wait the 15 minutes for the fondant. Oh well- next time!

Favourite dish: Can’t beat a banoffee pie, and this one was delicious with a gooey caramel and a creamy gelato.

Least favourite: probably the apple pie. It was pretty average and just not as good as the other two!

Summary

Overall, The Oaks is a fabulous place for a Sunday lunch or a post-work drink. It is a 30 minute bus ride from the city, and the Coles carpark in Neutral Bay has free parking on weekends (there is also metred street parking).

The lovely family-owned Hotel has a warm and welcoming atmosphere and the renovations are modern but still in line with the pub feel of the Hotel.

The new menu is extensive and full of great options which are sure to please anyone and everyone.

Definitely recommend this place!

Cost

TCFB and MC dined as guests of Wasamedia and The Oaks.

Rating:

Overall I would rate my experience (out of 10):

  • Service- 8
  • Food- 9
  • Ambience- 7.5
  • Value – 7.5

The Oaks on Urbanspoon

Guest Review: The Australian Youth Hotel – Angus and Bacon Cheeseburger

Address: 63 Bay St  Glebe NSW

Tel: (02) 9692 0414

Website: http://www.australianyouthhotel.com.au/

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One of the final burger reviews in the Guest Blog series by Mike & Dave, this review    looks at Glebe’s Australian Youth Hotel.

Let us know what you think in the comments, below!

Mike’s Review

Following the completion of our five-burger challenge, we were informed by Dave that The Sydney Morning Herald’s Pub Food guide team had previously declared The Australian Youth Hotel’s ‘Angus and Bacon Cheeseburger’ as the best burger in Sydney. Naturally, we were inclined to check it out to see how it stacked up against the rest.

Thankfully, the burger lived up to its name. The beef, bacon and cheese melted in your mouth and was complimented nicely with tomato chutney which had sultanas in it – a great touch. I do like a bit of salad in my burger so it was nice to have tomato and lettuce thrown in but the flavours were still very powerful. It was this diversity and a superior bun that helped it to edge The Landmark Hotel’s ‘100% pure beef burger’.

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I gave the Angus and Bacon Cheeseburger a 9.5/10. It’s got everything you need in a burger.

Dave’s Review

The Australia Youth Hotel in Glebe offers a dining environment like no other venue whose burgers we’ve reviewed. Within the white walls of the gloriously quaint old pub is a dining room, where the furnishings and table service are absolutely up to restaurant standard.

These features almost made us hesitate to say “3 burgers please”, as the classic pub burger seemed almost out of place in such an elegant setting. When it came out, however, all such hesitations were swept away.

The burger was incredible. A sensation on the tongue, with texture and flavour melding together in every harmonious mouthful.

Above and beyond expectation was the crowning feature – the relish. As it is usually tasty no matter how or where it comes, relish can be glossed over by burger creators, who spend more time and effort on the paddy.

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The chefs within the Australia Youth Hotel, however, have gone to every effort to ensure that no aspect of this splendid burger has been overlooked. The juicy, succulent, sweet relish was as tasty as you could possibly imagine, and then, on top of that – raisins. I’m not saying that this is unique to the Australian Youth Hotel, but having previously sampled Sydney’s “top 5 burgers” without a hint of a sultana, they were a surprising and most welcome addition.

Now, unfortunately, I have to write that my burger had a faint taste of burnt bun to it, taking away slightly from the experience. Had it not been burnt (and I was assured that my colleague’s were cooked to perfection), I may well have given this a perfect score.

As it was, this burger had to get a 9 out of 10.

The guys also made a YouTube video review which you can find here.

DISCLAIMER:

This review is a guest review and reflects the reviewers’ own personal opinions on the product. The Casual Food Blogger accepts no responsibility for anything that is said in or caused by this review or anything contained in, caused by, or arising out of, the videos or photos contained in or referred to in this review. 

 Australian Youth Hotel on Urbanspoon

Guest Review: East Village- Wagyu Beef Burger

Address: 234 Palmer St Darlinghurst NSW

Tel: (02) 9331 5457

Website: http://www.theeastvillage.com.au/

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One of the final burger reviews in the Guest Blog series by Mike & Dave, this review checks our the Wagyu Beef Burger at the East Village Hotel.

Mike’s Review

After the long anticipated “Return to East Village” we were finally able to sample the last of the five burgers on our list. Unfortunately, the burger’s fate was sealed as soon as I sunk my teeth into the bun.

Ironically enough, we postponed our review of this burger because they had run out of burger buns and I’ve got to say that it certainly wasn’t worth the wait. The bun seemed to be cold, stale and hard to chew. It didn’t match up with the soft meat patty, cheese and aioli. The tomato relish was also applied fairly lightly and absorbed into the bun so it hardly made an impact.

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The flavours were all there, don’t get me wrong, but the bun spoiled it for me. It wasn’t quite as disappointing as the burger at Three Weeds so I’m going to give it a 7/10.

Dave’s Review

East Village Balmain was to be my first review, but for a cruel twist of fate which saw us awkwardly exit the premises after being informed that the kitchen had run out of buns.

A few months later, we were back, nervous, excited and most importantly, hungry. Somewhat ironically, it ended up in fact being the last burger we reviewed (of the initial 5).

I’ll dive straight in.

The burger was great. It presented well, with cheese and aioli blending in and oozing over the paddy, which was succulent and jammed full of flavour. The chips, delicious, and the salad was served as a side, which was a nice touch. Unfortunately, the burger was let down by the bun.

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I’ll admit straight away that I generally prefer pre-warmed, toasted or charred buns, though, when fresh, an unaltered bun can sink in quite nicely to a warm paddy. With this particular bun, however, I wasn’t impressed. It was almost stale, and certainly detracted from the burger as a whole.

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I would’ve loved to have given the burger a 9 or more based on flavour, however the bun really did bring it down to an 8.

The guys also made a YouTube video review which you can find here.

DISCLAIMER:

This review is a guest review and reflects the reviewers’ own personal opinions on the product. The Casual Food Blogger accepts no responsibility for anything that is said in or caused by this review or anything contained in, caused by, or arising out of, the videos or photos contained in or referred to in this review.

East Village Hotel on Urbanspoon

Sweethearts Rooftop BBQ, Potts Point ($$)

Address: 33/37 Darlinghurst Road, Potts Point NSW

Tel: (02) 9368 7333

Website: http://sweetheartsbbq.com.au/

Open: 

Wednesdays to Sunday

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Atmosphere

Sweethearts is a restaurant I stumbled across when searching for a place to go with some of my friends from work.  Eventually we ended up going somewhere with more variety but I always kept this place in the back of my head in case another opportunity arose to check it out.

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After climbing about 7 (?) sets of stairs and getting a great thigh workout, we finally got to the bar. 

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A lift would have been helpful but the one we saw out the back was only for staff.

The place isn’t as big as I had expected but has a cute holiday bar sort of vibe. The string lights, high wooden tables and old leather stools give it a sort of 70s beach bar feel to it.

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Service

When we arrived, past the Backyard Cricket Rules at the door, we were greeted by a staff member who informed us that it was bar service, and we could sit at any table (despite the fact that I had made a reservation- apparently unnecessary on a Thursday night).

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We ordered ciders (James Squire) as there was a $5 beer, wine, cider offer on that night between 4-7pm (woo who doesn’t love a long happy hour?).

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When the others arrived, including Wallace (formerly known as Nic), and MDS, we ummed and ahhhed a bit over what to order.

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I was really disappointed that the menu was not the same as the one online, and some of my other friends who had also had a look at the menu online, agreed. MDS even suggested going somewhere else for dinner, but eventually the group decided to stay and try it out.

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Food

MDS, Nancy and I decided to share some dishes so we could try a few things out. Best decision ever as we got to taste a little of almost everything on the menu.

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The soup tin table numbers.

Laura and Olga decided to go with the brisket sandwiches ($20.00), which came out as very cute looking sliders.

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Emma ordered the garlic prawns ($30.00) with a vegetable skewer, while Borna and Wallace ordered the $15.00 special medium ribs.

MDS, Nancy and I ordered garlic bread (MDS’ favourite) to start with. While, it looks like Coles or Pizza Hut/Domino’s garlic bread, it was actually amazingly buttery, fresh and hot out of the oven and deliciously fragrant with herbs.

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Next up we ordered the medium sized ribs for a special price of $15.  The ribs were lamb ribs, and when i tried to cut the bone off with my fork and knife, the meat just fell away and the bone came off clean. The sauce was sticky and rich, with a charred and smoky flavour.

I love citrus and the fresh lemon was great over the sweet ribs and added some colour to the plate.

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The marinated vegetables were a bit of a disappointment for me. While there was a good mix of Mediterranean vegetables including zucchini, Spanish onion, tomato, capsicum and mushroom, the vegetables were a little too oily, and the serving was very miserly for $12. I think at least two skewers minimum would be needed to make this dish worthwhile.

While the salad was fresh and the aioli delicious (especially with the chips- see below), the dish overall was a let down.

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Next up were the chicken skewers. This was basically the same situation as the vegetable skewers, While the chicken was well-cooked, juicy and flavoursome, there just wasn’t enough to justify charging $13 (you could buy over a kilogram of chicken breast for that price!). The pesto was chunky and tasty although perhaps a little slimy looking!

I loved the presentation of the sauces in cute little jars though.

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Finally, we ordered a side of chips ($9.00) which were billed as “the world’s best chips”.  They were pretty good. I don’t know about “world’s best” but they were quite crunchy, thick cut, well salted and had a creamy taste. We dipped them into the aioli and pesto which made them even better!

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Overall, good food, a bit pricey (especially the skewers- bit of a rip off!), but a cute chilled atmosphere. Would be great for long afternoons in summer.

The menu thing was a little disappointing, maybe it’s a weekend menu on the website? If so, I think the weekday menu should be on there as well as it was a little misleading for us.

Cost

MDS, Nancy & I paid about $22 each for our meals (not including drinks).

Rating:

Overall I would rate my experience (out of 10):

  • Service- 7
  • Food- 7.5
  • Ambience- 6
  • Value – 5.75

Sweethearts Rooftop BBQ on Urbanspoon

The Lowenbrau Keller, The Rocks Sydney ($$)

Address: Cnr Playfair & Argyle Streets  The Rocks NSW

Tel: (02) 9247 7785

Website: http://www.lowenbrau.com.au/

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Wednesday night brought MDS, Mattycakes, Nic and I to Circular Quay for the Vivid Sydney Festival. Vivid is a festival that comes on once a year, where the City of Sydney lights up in colours, lasers, shows and neon art installations.

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Me and the gang- inside a light tunnel near CQ

The main events are the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge (of course), but there are smaller shows, cruises and events on around this time as well.

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We headed to Jafe’s Jaffles for some pre-dinner snackage whilst enjoying the view from near the bridge.

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Amosphere

After checking out the lights and brights of Vivid we were starving and decided to head over to the Lowenbrau as Mattycakes wanted a schnitty.

The Lowenbrau is a cute pub-style Bavarian restaurant with lively music indoors and long wooden tables outdoors.

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The stone interior and dim lighting make it look very cosy and warm and definitely somewhere inviting in winter!

Service

There was a bit of a line to get in the restaurant and we waited about 5-10 minutes before getting a table outside. The table was a squeeze to get into as the benches were quite close to the table and difficult to manouevre in a skirt!

Service was very very poor. It was a long while before we got to make an order, it was extremely difficult getting their attention when we wanted a drink or the bill, and when we Mattycakes did order a drink it took ages for it to come out.

Food

Mattycakes ordered the …I’m not even going to attempt to say it out loud…”Knuspriger Schweinebauch”, which was roast pork belly with a beer sauce, sauteed potatoes and braised red cabbage. We all tried a bit and thought it was great as the dish was well presented and the pork was soooo soft and melted in your mouth. The crackling was extremely crunchy and well salted- delicious

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Nic and I ordered the  “Huhnchenschnitzel”  which was served with chips and herbed mayo. The schnitzel was a little thick and not very crispy, while the the chips were a tad soggy and quite a small portion.

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MDS ordered the “Zigeunerschnitzel”- chicken schnitzel on creamy mashed potatoes, spicy gypsy sauce & side salad.

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Overall, my first Lowenbrau experience was pretty average. Service was not very good, food was OK (with the exception of Pork Belly which was delicious), and the prices were quite steep for average food.

Cost:

My meal came to $33.00 including a small lemon lime and bitters.

Rating:

I would rate my experience (out of 10):

  • Service- 3.5
  • Food- 6.5
  • Ambience-7.5
  • Value –6.75

Lowenbrau Keller on Urbanspoon

Some more Vivid Pics:

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Guest Review: Royal Exhibition Hotel – The Homemade Beef Burger Review

Address: 86 Chalmers St, Surry Hills NSW

Tel: (02) 9698 2607

Website: http://www.royalexhibition.com.au/BarsDining/tabid/58/language/en-US/Default.aspx

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We have a brand new guest review for TCFB readers! This one is of the Homemade Beef Burger! Check it out!

Michael’s Review

Most of the burgers we’ve tried so far have had a degree of ‘specialness’ about them. While that’s nice in principle, it’s always good to have that old favourite that you can rely on to satisfy your taste buds.
For the Homemade Beef Burger at The Royal Exhibition Hotel in Surry Hills, this burger lived up to its name, as it felt like it had been made with a bit of love and care…the sort of feeling you would get if you were trying one of your mum’s home cooked meals.
The burger had all the classic ingredients – beef, tomato, lettuce, mayo, bacon, cheese, seeded mustard and tomato relish for a bit of kick.
The bun had char marks on top for added presentation and the fries were pretty much as good as what you’d get from Maccas.
I was very content with the burger. All of the ingredients complemented each other very nicely. The only criticism I would give is on the quality of the bun. A little more crunch would have been nice.
This burger didn’t quite reach the level of the burger at the Landmark hotel but nonetheless it was still very impressive.
I give it an 8.5/10.
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Simon’s Review
My relationship with The Exhibition Hotel was off to a rocky start when I received $5.50 change in mostly gold coins. I was required to pay $14.50 for the burger (with a request for no tomato) and paid with a $20 note. I was then given two $2 coins, one $1 coin and a 50 cent coin. I knew they had a $5 note because Dave had just given them one.

However when the burger came out quickly (almost no waiting time) all was forgiven. It was your standard presentation (just the burger and chips). The burger bun was grilled at the top (mostly for presentation) and the chips were the best tasting pub chips I have had.

After removing all the lettuce, I dug into the beef, bacon, cheese, mayo and relish that comprised the burger. Taste was fantastic. Just enough mayo, just enough relish (very nice taste) and just enough cheese. The beef gave you the ‘melt in your mouth’ feeling craved for in a burger.

One down side was the softness of the bun. The bun was easily pulled apart. This can be problematic when you eat your burgers with a knife and fork (like I do). Apart from that, this burger was solid all round.

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I give this burger an 8.5 out of 10. While it tasted nice, it was not as good as the burger from the Landmark Hotel (which rated a 9). As mentioned, I didn’t like the softness of the bun. Will go back to get this burger.

Dave’s Review

At $14.50, the home-made beef burger at The Exhibition Hotel in Surry Hills is the cheapest of all the burgers we’re reviewing. It also arrived in quicker time than any of the previous burgers. Those two factors led to an initial skepticism which was instantly eradicated once the first mouthful of succulent beef patty and perfectly-charred bun passed between my lips and seeped into every one of my taste buds. This burger was near perfect.

The secret was in the simplicity. Just the classics are present: tomato, lettuce, and a beef patty topped with bacon. All extravagance was saved for the relish – perfectly-textured and delicious enough to drink.

My rating of a 9 is the highest mark I’ve given thus far. The only thing lacking was creative presentation and some sort of originality with the chips (simple yet tasty ‘shoestring’ fries), though I am being particularly harsh with this criticism, as anything too creative would’ve taken away from it’s near-perfect simplicity.

In summary, this is just about the only burger I ever need to eat again.

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TCFB: Big call Dave! Great work guys, love the review!

The guys also made a YouTube video review which you can find here.

DISCLAIMER:

This review is a guest review and reflects the reviewers’ own personal opinions on the product. The Casual Food Blogger accepts no responsibility for anything that is said in or caused by this review or anything contained in, caused by, or arising out of, the videos or photos contained in or referred to in this review. 

Royal Exhibition Hotel on Urbanspoon

Establishment, Sydney ($)

Address: 252 George Street Sydney NSW

Tel: (02) 9240 3100

Website: http://merivale.com.au/establishmentbar/

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Post-work Happy Hour drinks brought us to Establishment hotel in George Street on Friday night.

MDS, our friend Nicole and I decided to grab some $5 vodka lemon lime bitters and a quick bite to eat before heading over to Opera Bar to see Nicole’s sister for her bday (Happy Birthday Jen!).

Atmosphere

Establishment is one of Sydney’s most popular hotels/bars, especially with the corporate crowd. It has a great atmosphere and a sleek, modern look. The white bar and floors and quaint outdoor garden area, make it the perfect place to unwind after a busy week at work. Establishment’s more classy (and pricey) brother, Est., is located on the first floor and offers a more sophisticated and private experience. 

The one thing I don’t like about Establishment is the lack of seating. There are plenty of bar stools around the bar but not enough seats or tables to accommodate the people who attend. It was after about 30-45minutes of standing that MDS and I finally found a table!

Service

To be honest, I think service here is pretty shocking. The staff are slow, disinterested and at times a bit rude. The only reason we come here is because of Happy Hour and the bar’s close proximity to Wynyard train station.

If you want good service, go elsewhere.

Food

We all decided to order the Establishment Burger. At $18.00 it is quite cheap but, while the burger was more than enough for us, it would probably be too small for hungry guys looking for a big meal.

3

The burger was definitely not the best I have tasted, nor the worst. The best description would be “average.”

There was a lot of beef and beetroot (which I love on a burger), but the beef was a little dry. The fries were unsalted (we added out own salt), and they were a bit overcooked as well.

Overall not a fab meal.

In the future I will probably try to avoid dining here and stick to the cheap drinks!

Rating:

Overall I would rate my experience (out of 10):

  • Service- 2
  • Food- 4.5
  • Ambience- 7
  • Value – 5

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