There is a comforting familiarity to the pub menu in Sydney. Nine times out of ten you'll find a steak, burgers, schnitzel, fish and chips, nachos and salt and pepper squid on there. If you're lucky there'll be a pot pie. There also might be pizzas, which will get the job done, even if they'd make a Neapolitan faint. And just maybe you'll land on one of the Sydney venues that are branching out and seeing if they can't raise the bar for pub fare. Our local watering holes provide good eats, and here's where they do it best.
At Four in Hand you can either kick back in the pub and order some of chef Colin Fassnidge’s brilliant pub food – a slab of corned beef, colcannon and carrots is great winter eating – or head next door to the restaurant and go the whole hog (literally: they do a whole suckling pig for ten if you order ahead).
Like your pubs no frills and your Thai food as hot as hell? Then the Triple Aces and House Thai is the pub-restaurant conjoined twin of your dreams. You can move freely between the two without stepping outside – get your drinks at the bar and then move through to the restaurant for the most chilli-laden som tum in the land.
Over in the adjoining restaurant chef Daniel Mulligan flexes his kitchen muscle with a modern Italian menu, but in the public bar the menu finds a middle ground between higher end dining and bistro stalwarts. Yes, they do a pub pie, but here it’s a little pot of comforting chicken and mushrooms stew with a caramel coloured pastry crown. Do not fear the pub pasta here. Mulligan’s former posting was at Pilu at Freshwater and his Italian pedigree shows in a plate of tender, golden saffron pasta tubes arrive with a pork mince and porcini mushroom sauce, fragrant with rosemary and finished with a restrained sprinkle of pecorino cheese.