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For when you wants the hits and nothing but the hits, Matt Moran delivers at the Paddington pub’s second relaunch in as many years
There’s a reason people love best-of albums. They condense all the bangers and filter out the weird experimental B sides. It’s the parts you already know and love. This is also the reason we love a classic bar and grill. The menu is short sharp and to the point, and every last thing on it has earned its spot by way of a gastronomic popularity contest.
The Paddo Inn is the latest rework of this mainstreet pub, which was renovated in late 2016 with a high end dining room up the back, and then relaunched in mid 2017 to give the people what they wanted, which turned out to be good steaks (five kinds, to be exact), classic sides, nice wine, and your choice of mustards.
This is one of those bistros where you feel taken care of. The service is excellent, attentive without hovering, relaxed not rehearsed and genuinely warm. Start with grilled Spencer Gulf prawns and they’ll offer to even out the number to match your party. And even though this is an elegant dining room, it’s also very comfortable. The simple black-and-white art, sturdy timber, soft leather and flatteringly low light culminates in a feeling comparable to dinner at your rich friend’s house. In fact, if you haven’t been a good son or daughter this year, you could easily get back in the black taking a parent to dinner here.
The food is simple: Sydney rock oysters with Champagne mignonette; perfectly ripe and velvety oxheart tomatoes served in wedges with creamy stracciatella cheese and balsamic; and carefully caramelised gnocchi styled like a springtime forest with asparagus, oyster mushrooms and shaved pecorino.
Jack’s Creek in NSW produce the ‘World’s Best Steak’, a very expensive sirloin available in select venues. But here you can dine adjacent to glory with their much more affordable Jack’s Creek sirloin on the bone for $38, which is still an excellent steak in its own right, with a fresh, pure flavour and the right amount of salt.
Three courses might have gone out of fashion as sharing plates muscled in, but this is the kind of place where you save room for dessert, especially when it’s two light-as-air profiteroles barely able to contain their vanilla bean ice cream cores. The lot is drenched in salted caramel sauce at the table so that no sugar receptor gets left behind.
Anyone who says there’s isn’t a place for a classy bistro in Sydney’s famously mercurial dining scene has just forgotten how easy it is to spend a night eating the greatest hits. They’re classics for a reason.
338 Oxford St
|Opening hours:||Mon-Thu noon-midnight; Fri-Sat noon-1am; Sun noon-10pm|