It’s not like we needed more reasons to love the Lord Wolseley. This excellent, old-school pub in the backstreets of Ultimo keeps the cold beers and the easy chat flowing in an otherwise pretty utilitarian area of Sydney. But food was never their big drawcard, until now. Say hello to the new home of the Pub Life Kitchen, the roving crew of burger buccaneers who aren’t afraid to mess with the recipe. Previously they’ve popped up in the kitchen at the Woollahra Hotel and the (now defunct) Macquarie Hotel, and now they’ve settled in at the Lord Wolseley.
The back half of the pub has been transformed into a bright dining room where you can get messy with a super saucy cheeseburger on a soft, sweet bun with two slices of Jack cheese, red onions, pickles, tomato sauce and mustard. It’s not the cheapest burger in town at $17, but it’s a sure-fire hunger-buster that wastes no time with extraneous salad. It also requires multiple napkins for clean-up.
As good as a cheeseburger is, the fun here is in the path less tasted. On Wednesdays they throw caution to the wind and put an experimental burger on the menu. How do you like the sound of a lamb burger with deep-fried pineapple rings, cheese and peanut butter gravy? Turns out the pineapple isn’t as sweet or as tart as it needs to be to cut through the rich trifecta of cheese, lamb and peanut butter. While we probably wouldn’t order it again, we certainly don’t regret giving it a red hot go.
Our appetite for experimentation is in no way diminished, so when a burger with battered deep-fried cheese, a stuffed field mushroom, Bloody Mary sauce, tomato relish and coleslaw hits the menu we don’t think twice. No-one could ever accuse a veggie burger of being either dry or boring after they’ve tackled this cheesy mushroom monster.
If you’re lucky enough to visit when the Snickers sundae is on the menu, lock it down. Scoops of house-made caramel ice cream in a glass dish come laced with hot fudge and caramel sauce and roasted peanuts and little shards of pork crackling double down on the salty, crunchy contrast. Wednesdays no good for you? These guys get into the community spirit on Sundays when they close up the kitchen and fire up the barbecue and spit roast out in the neighbouring park.
We’ve always held a candle for the Lord Wolseley, but thanks to the exciting grill-work of the Pub Life Kitchen now it’s more like a bonfire that can only be quelled with more burgers. It’s a delicious, vicious cycle and we’re ok with it.