The New Sydney Hotel is a constant on Hobart’s pub landscape: Irish-leaning, an ever-changing array of beers on tap, live music, no blaring TV and no pokies.
You can still go out back for a fag and during winter there’s a cozy, and depending on where you’re standing, ferocious fire. Last time I was there, I couldn’t get my drinks fast enough, fearful my stockings would melt to my legs.
As Hobart’s long-standing CBD hotel, it’s always drawn a huge crowd, and it’s always had friendly service.
It's the fried chicken
The New Sydney has also always had a pleasing and plentiful pub menu. For years my go to was the chicken parmigiana with avocado and cheese. It was simply delicious. The epitome of comfort food, served with chippies and veg. No amount of begging them has encouraged it back on the menu since it disappeared.
To the contrary, they’re heading in the opposite direction. It’s less schnitzel and more carpaccio darling.
A bar that caters for all demographics.
People have been raving about their new look. Ms Melbourne Archivist came to Hobart for the annual conference, I took her along for a countery.
A few of the old favourites remain on the menu but the real focus is a series of small plates at $12 each or three for $30, large sharing plates, and a handful of fancy-pants mains for one.
We ate three of the small plates:
spiced cauliflower, quinoa, pickled cauliflower, puffed rice and tzatziki
dry aged beef tartar, gochujang, peanuts, ponzu, yolk puree and cassava and
fried chicken (our way), kim chi, Japanese mayo, sesame and spring onion
How much did cauliflower pay for its PR? It's THE new thing.
We also chose a main each:
Hickory Duck Breast, game dumplings, red cabbage smear, pear and pickled grapes, $32, and
500 gram Cape Grim beef short rib, smoked for eight hours then into a water bath for 12 hours, $36.
Stupidly full and food-crazed, we decided to share the dessert of Lark whisky pudding, a date pudding, whisky gums, toasted barley, cocoa nibs, milk mousse and 'dry and lime' bubbles, $14 (as are all the desserts). Like orange is to black, bubbles are the new foam. This was a dessert full to the brim with intent, and more savoury that sweet. For the record, I prefer my desserts on the feminine-side.
A hunkin' short rib
This Girl takes her hat of to anyone who gives it a red hot go in the kitchen (or anywhere for that matter) and the New Sydney is. They’re trying to set themselves apart, offering a more sophisticated experience. The comfortable and well-loved ambience is not a close match for the menu’s new style however.
We were inquisitive and enjoyed our journey around the absolutely beautifully presented meals, but our enthusiasm went no deeper than the plating up; their good intentions are not consistently executed: the beef tartar was overshadowed by chilli, the cauliflower was devoid a certain je-ne-sais-quoi, and a visual assessment of the chicken speaks volumes.
This Girl's pick - duck, beautiful.
The pick of our meals were the mains. The short rib was melt in the mouth and a HUGE feed and the duck was a beautiful meal that This Girl would be happy to eat again, although I wouldn’t go out of my way to do so.
At $80 + per head, we lamented the decline of the value for money pub meal. Cheap eats are increasingly a thing relegated to memories of years gone by.
Try the New Sydney’s new menu and let us know what you think.
You can find their website including their menu here.