Spuds. Did you know the name originally comes from Tasmania? Really. The potato trucks used to drive the North-West route with the pick up towns painted on the side, in order: Smithton, Penguin, Ulverstone, Devonport.
They became known as the spud trucks, and in time, potatoes became spuds.
Who would have known? It’s not from Ireland!!! My aunty Joan taught me that not long after she and my Uncle Ray had done a stint in Tassie as he was teaching the army the use of modern weapons. Ray was an RSM, and expert who survived 5 tours of Vietnam during the war. Amazing.
He could never get over the American troupes marching through the jungles with ghetto blasters on their shoulders – completely oblivious to the guerrilla war they were fighting. Sitting ducks. And spuds came up because we ordered a side of pink eyes which were to die for. Anyway, on to the topic!
“New Sydney Hotel is a shining example of an old pub that’s been given new life by a sharp, clever entrepreneur. Boring old pub food? Think again. Think pigs’ ears. In a really good way.”
Everything old is new again. Or so the song goes. And the New Sydney Hotel is a shining example of an old pub that’s been given new life by a sharp, clever entrepreneur. Boring old pub food? Think again. Think pigs’ ears. In a really good way.
Alistair, our resident publican, also owns the Westend Pumphouse, which I reviewed some time ago. The food was terrific there, so I was curious to try the food at the New Sydney Hotel when I found out it shared the same management.
What better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than a wander down Bathurst Street, and follow the music inside, where a group of Irish music lovers jam together from 2 or 3pm onwards. And it’s free. The entertainment is terrific, and the afternoon we were there, they had a guest artist on the
mandolin from Sydney. What a treat!
We looked at the bar snacks, and my daughter had recommended the pigs’ ears. Which is not like her – she’s never been that adventurous, so I thought they must be spectacular to get a rave. We hadn’t booked – big mistake.
But Paul, the head waiter made room for us upstairs as long as we were out by 7. No problem.
So a few pints in, and some marvelous feel good music, we wandered upstairs to sample the menu. And it’s impressive. I’m posting the menu here of their “With your hands page”, which saves you (and me) ploughing through the descriptions.
“The standouts? The Wagyu, blow-torched at our table, the Pigs’ Ears which were a crispy, salty, sweet sharp bit of heaven on the tongue, and Sonni is vowing to make the pub a regular haunt just for those little bites of goodness”
Needless to say: they were all pretty damn good. The Kingfish Sashimi could have been a bit sharper, and the Citrus Sardines were a big mangled on the skewers, but the flavours were on the money, and between three of us, we ordered 6. At $13 each or 3 for $33, these were damn good value.
The standouts? The Wagyu, blow-torched at our table, the Pigs’ Ears which were a crispy, salty, sweet sharp bit of heaven on the tongue, and Sonni is vowing to make the pub a regular haunt just for those little bites of goodness. The fried chicken was more of a croquette, and we passed on the duck tongue tortilla – another time.
They also sport a degustation menu for 6 courses at $55 per person, which looked interesting, and I did note that the menu had no dollar signs and the money was spelt out – an interesting form of menu engineering. But hey, if that’s what places have to do to get those sales? Good luck to them!
There’s also a selection of mains at around the $35 mark, and they looked good. Which I’m sure they are, given the quality of the tapas. Mind you, the dishes really did need a knife and fork, which Paul produced anyway, but they were hardly “with your hands” material.
We had a superb Joseph Chromy Pinot Gris for $47, which Paul was a bit late in pouring (the food came out from the kitchen before the wine!), but they were flat out. And we hadn’t booked, so I’ll give them a leave pass on that.
Alistair was on deck downstairs clearing, serving, keeping an eye on things, as well he might. So good to see an owner in the trenches, making sure that business is brisk and booming, as it is. The beers on tap are a good range too, and so many of my friends make it a local haunt that it has to be doing something, or most things, right.
So if you’re not from Hobart, and want a really good pub experience as a counterpoint to the up-market scenes on offer, the New Sydney is certainly worth a visit. Even though it’s old, the New Sydney feels fresh in the way of a comfy chair. And don’t ignore the food.