If you’re sick of the pub gulls cadging your chips what you need is a one- person bar snack, and the smoked cod and leek pie at this Irish pub in Balmain fits the bill perfectly. Inside your golden pastry pocket is a salty, creamy sauce rich with smoke and packed with tender white fish and ribbons of soft leek. It comes with a side salad of cos, fennel, walnuts and apple, and since neither salad nor pie are sharing foods you can hoover your meal unmolested. While you’re there order a pint of Magners or Guinness.
When the Hotel Palisade reopened last year people were immediately drawn to the vintage-styled establishment right up on the top of Millers Point. Opening an elegant rooftop cocktail bar didn’t hurt their popularity either. But for more traditional pub fare you want to stick to the ground floor. The pie here isn’t what you’d call a budget counter meal, but the tender chunks of chicken, spring vegetables and tarragon in a golden buttery casing make for a seriously flavoursome hot pocket, and a generous serve of mash with a moat chock full of peas means you won’t leave hungry.
There’s a certain storybook quality to the Riverview Hotel. You can just tell that behind that glossy red painted door lie all the old world comforts that we’ve inherited from British pub culture. This is the place to post up by the fireside with a freshly poured ale and await the arrival of the house pie. The fillings change from time to time, but the quality doesn’t. The latest edition is a pork chipotle number. The filling is like velvet, but with a gentle heat from the chillies that lingers. It comes with a rich creamy corn puree, chimichurri and diced fresh tomato, which all come together for a South American flavour, but it’s still the comfort food you know and love.
We are longtime fans of this compact corner pub that ticks all the boxes for a top-notch local. The craft beers are fresh and exciting, you drink them in a cosy front bar that hosts a mean trivia, and chef Daniel Mulligan is bringing some serious kitchen prowess to both the modern Italian menu in the adjoining restaurant and the public bar menu, which finds a middle ground between higher end dining and bistro stalwarts. Thankfully they do a pub pie, and it’s a beauty. On a cold winter’s night nothing beats a little pot of comforting chicken.
We really appreciate the consistency to the food offering at the Woolwich Pier Hotel. We had their chicken pot pie for the first time more than two years ago, and today it’s still a winner. A properly golden brown crisp pastry dome protects a heavy baking dish filled with tender chicken pieces, carrots, celery and leeks. It’s creamy without being heavy and exactly the kind of savoury winter warmer you want on a chilly afternoon when the wind is blowing in off the Lane Cove River. Pair it with a local brew from Lord Nelson or a glass of the house white and you’ve got yourself a first-class counter meal.