In another revitalisation of Sydney pubs, the Charing Cross Hotel in Waverley has reopened last month after extensive renovations with Chef Matt Kemp heading the kitchen.
The Charing Cross, or the “Charo“, as it affectionately called by locals has undergone a major refurbishment that breathes new life into this Eastern Suburbs landmark.
The venue sees a spacious and light-filled public bar space with a fireplace and pendant lighting, cane chairs giving it a bright Mediterranean vibe right down to the blue-aproned staff. The semi-circular marble topped bar occupies a central spot. The focus is on craft beer and natural wines with a bar bites menu designed to share.
The sixty seat dining room is tucked away to one side of the bar and attracts the eye with the long and strategically lit powder blue Chesterfield bench against the wall.
Looking towards the dining room, the eye is lead onto an inviting a courtyard with CHARO lettering soaring seven metres high which were sourced from the former Concorde Lafayette Hotel sign in Paris. Look up, and a glass ceiling adds another dimension.
The feature wall of the restaurant is a pleasantly eye-catching design of blue and tan wallpaper handmade in Scotland. Stare at it long enough, and you might think it’s a Rorschach test.
On a Sunday night, families with young children are occupying a long table while the more cosy tables for two or four with banquette seating offer a more intimate dining experience.
Chef Matt Kemp (ex Restaurant Balzac and Montpellier Eating House in Randwick) offers a menu that is true to his origins of contemporary European food with British and French influences.
Lime Cured Scallops, Avocado, Coriander, Chilli & Grape Tomatoes
From the starters comes the zingy and moreish Lime-Cured Scallops, Avocado, Coriander, Chilli & Grape Tomatoes ($18). The scallops are delicately cured in a ceviche vinagrette and they retain a lot of their flavour.
Crispy Pigs Head & Our Piccalilli ($14)
For a hot starter, it’s difficult to resist ordering the Crispy Pigs Head & Our Piccalilli ($14). The pig’s head is braised with apples, stock and vegetables before the meat is picked, pressed into thick batons, crumbed and deep fried to a crisp. The meat is tender and the lovely fattiness is cut by the Piccalilli, a house-made curried vegetable coulis with mustard.
Braised Shoulder of Lamb Nicoise, Rocket Pesto & Fregola
From the main course, the Braised Shoulder of Lamb Nicoise, Rocket Pesto & Fregola ($28) falls off the bone on contact with the fork. The lamb is braised for 8 to 10 hours and the Mediterranean flavours sing with a mix of pesto, roast tomatoes, black olives, white anchovies and parsley.
Grilled Rib Eye, Bordelaise Butter, Thrice Cooked Fries
The Grilled Rib Eye with Bordelaise Butter ($38) is charred, smoky and perfectly cooked. The smokiness has permeated through the meat which makes each mouthful a taste sensation. The steak comes with a serving of Thrice Cooked Fries.
Both main courses are large servings so it helps to bring a healthy appetite as you would want to enjoy them to the last bite.
Hot Snickers Pudding with Peanut Fudge Ice Cream, Caramel Sauce
At the Charo, temptation has a name and it’s Hot Snickers Pudding with Peanut Fudge Ice Cream, Caramel Sauce ($15). The pudding is almost like a chocolate fondant, served cold with a decadent ice cream drizzled with a caramel sauce and sprinkled with peanuts. As indulgent and decadent as it sounds, it is not overly sweet and best shared between two people.
The Charo feels right at home in the neighbourhood and is a welcome addition to the evolving dining scene in the Eastern Suburbs. The revitalised venue is open and inviting, and even though it wears a shiny new face and modern interior, the welcoming staff make you feel right at home. The vibe is casual and relaxed though the noise levels in the dining room make it a little difficult to carry conversations at times. The menu offers value for money and the variety tempts you to come back whether it’s just dropping in casually for a main course and a glass of wine or settling in for a full three course experience.
Charing Cross Hotel
81 Carrington Road, Waverley
Monday to Thursday: 10am – 12am
Friday to Saturday: 10am – 2am
Sunday: 10am – 10pm
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