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You can bring a motley crew to the Erko for dinner and somehow everyone leaves happy
Lots of Sydney pubs are throwing out the rule book when it comes to pub dining. We’ve got pubs like the Green Lion and the East Sydney Hotel going vegan; high-end Chinese happening at the Queens Hotel; and venues taking a one-way trip to fancy town, like the Buena. But when we’re talking about a counter meal there’s certain criteria that need to be met, and none of them involve mud crabs, flower garnishes or facon.
Firstly there should be burgers. Ideally a classic beef number, a jumbo buttermilk fried chicken edition that you’d need to dislocate your jaw to eat, and something for the veggos. The Erko guys don’t slack in the meat-free department – their mushroom and halloumi burger is juicy and salty with a sweet kick from roast capsicum and extra dressing from a herb aioli. There should also be hefty platters for hard-earned hungers, like a parma and a steak.
Once you’ve locked down the classics (which they have) you can start to get a bit experimental. Maybe you want to try and mix a cheeseburger and burrito as a special and call it a burgerito (silly and fun) or perhaps you just want to focus on one particular offering, like low and slow smoked meats. It’s a proposition that’s certainly earning a lot of fans for the Erko, which is rammed at dinner time any night of the week.
A platter of smoky, tender brisket comes with a side of coleslaw that doesn’t try and waterboard your cabbage with mayo – thank heavens – plus two little hot rolls and sweet barbecue sauce. It’s $28 but could easily feed two. As could the pulled pork plate. Prefer everything with fries? They’ll put that same pork to work as the star of a poutine. It won’t make you skinny but it will make you happy.
The Erko gets top marks for chatty, personable staff; a swift kitchen and tables designed for groups over couples. Lucky too, because there’s a real community vibe here and you’ll likely run into a mate and need to draw up another chair while someone else hits the bar for a jug of Stone and Wood Cloud Catcher that hits you with sweet apricots on the nose and a bitter hoppy finish that will reset your belly after an-all American feast.
102 Erskineville Rd
|Opening hours:||Mon-Sat 11am-midnight; Sun 11am-10pm|