In the past year, I really haven’t visited any pubs or bars. Part of that is the fact that I haven’t had an alcoholic drink for well over a year now – putting myself in situations where alcohol plays a large part in creating the atmosphere hasn’t exactly been top on my list of priorities!
There’s a new class of pub on the rise though, where food is as central a focus as the drinks on offer. The Greenwood Hotel in North Sydney is one of those, and I was pleased to be invited to sample their menu recently.
The Greenwood has recently been renovated, and it’s looking absolutely beautiful. With wide open courtyard spaces where you can enjoy the bright lights and sounds of the North Sydney metropolis, and a series of more intimate bars and lounges, it offers a variety of different spaces. We sat in the Northern Courtyard for our meal, but I’d like to go back and spend an evening having a few mocktails on their Chesterfield-style couches in the cocktail lounge.
Note – not all spaces are open every night! Friday and Saturday are obviously their busiest nights where every bar and lounge is open, but on the Monday night we visited, there was just one of the bars and both courtyards open. Another bar area had been rented out for a private function.
If I was still on the sauce, I would have chosen a drink off their cocktail menu that included one of their house-infused spirits. The berry-infused vodka looked interesting, not to mention the apple-pie-infused bourbon and the chipotle tequila! Liam, the General Manager at the Greenwood Hotel was telling me about how they were inspired by past experiments flavouring vodka with candy – if candy, why not other flavours too? Sheer genius.
Liam was also kind enough to offer some guidance in the menu, pointing us towards his personal favourites on the menu. But first we started with a few drinks – a simple Coke for me, and an interesting American craft beer, Anchor Steam Beer, for K.
I love a bit of symmetry! Two mains, and two share plates – more than ample for two diners, and enough for three people if you’re not feeling too peckish.
The Greenwood Wagyu Burger is Liam’s personal favourite, and I can understand why! It’s an old-school kind of a burger – thick juicy char-grilled patty with top grade beef, crispy streaky bacon, melted cheese, fresh lettuce, and a sauce with a bit of a subtle kick. If you like good-quality, hearty, classic burgers, this is the meal for you. I was a big fan of the fries as well – the chefs had been very liberal with the salt shaker which I always love.
The Lamb Shank Pie is apparently one of the most popular mains on the Greenwood’s menu, and I can understand why. The crispy pancetta on top is just the start of a delicious dish – creamy crushed peas and mash, a strong gravy, crisp buttery pastry, and rich lamb. I personally think the lamb mixture could have been cooked slightly longer so that the meat was a little more tender, but I do tend to prefer lamb that’s on the verge of falling apart, whereas I know others prefer lamb with a bit more body to it.
I loved the entree of the Barramundi and Chorizo Skewer – the chorizo was wonderfully grilled and smokey with an amazing spicy kick. The barramundi was fantastic as well – perfectly cooked so that it was still tender. but with a nice flakiness to the flesh as well. Both went superbly with the paprike aioli.
The Mushroom and Pinenut Arancini entree share plate was quite good as well – with a good crispy exterior, and soft and creamy arancini insides. Very subtly flavoured, so it makes for a good sharing option as it will suit most palates.
I really loved the food options at the Greenwood, from the traditional pub fare like burgers and pies, to more interesting share plate options like the chorizo and barramundi skewer. The quieter Monday night atmosphere really suited the more romantic date night out for K and I, but I can see how a busier and rowdier Friday night would make the Greenwood a fantastic location for drinks and a longer night out with friends.
Note: Gourmanda visited The Greenwood as a guest of Sweaty Betty PR. All photos and words are her own.