Salt caramelization on this rib eye fat is bold and beefy,
just like the porky goodness of chunky bacon bits on my baked potato.
There seems to be a fervent renovating competition among publicans and hotel owners all over Sydney, some costing millions of dollars in the name of attracting more diners.
Over the last twelve months, we have checked out the upgrades at The Bayview Hotel, Hunters Hill Hotel and Woolwich Pier Hotel in Sydney’s north shore, The Clovelly Hotel and Hotel Centennial in the east, Customs House Bar and The Flynn in the CBD.
Cocktail bars at some of these establishments have become hip and stylish with an equally suave and savvy cocktail menu to boot. Casual bistro and pubfare have become full-scale restaurant offerings where menus are dishing out a bit more than just fish and chips, burgers, pizza, pasta and steaks.
Soft shell crab, scallops, pork belly, free-range duck, gourmet sliders and slow roasts have become enticing options for a weekend lunch with the family.
And with a kind invitation from Polkadot PR, Mysaucepan and I together with our friends Molly and KC find ourselves at yet another spanking new hotel in the northern beaches area where weekend dining with the family has taken on an exciting new meaning.
The Belrose Hotel, Belrose
The renovated space is huge by any standard.
Separated into three distinctive dining areas, there are sunken lounges for afternoon cocktails, high stool and booth dining for the younger crowd and large tables for families.
The cocktail bar is understated yet stylish and a range of Aussie beers on tap is beckoning pre-dinner drinks.
A salted expresso martini with three roasted coffee beans take on bold coffee flavours with a boozy kick at the end.
It took a while as the espresso is freshly brewed from the coffee machine before being mixed with kahlua and vodka.
A Hendrick’s G & T in a tall glass comes with its fresh cucumber slice and is a refreshing summer elixir.
Wagyu meatballs and chicken tenderloin bites give us a taste for the starters menu.
They are well cooked though crying out for seasoning.
A chef smiles for the camera as she prepares fairy bread and sandwiches for the children.
There is a large children’s playroom and the kids are having a whale of a time while parents are chilling out.
A roast pumpkin salad with manuka honey and yoghurt dressing tells me we are well into a beautiful summer in Sydney.
With pine nuts, almonds, cashew and chickpea adding crunch to rocket leaves, beetroot and snow peas, this salad is as healthy as it is beautiful.
A Northern Rivers grain-fed scotch fillet is served with roasted King Edward potato topped with chunky bits of confit bacon and Belrose salad.
Salt caramelization on this rib eye fat is bold and beefy, just like the porky goodness of chunky bacon bits on my baked potato.
Cooked to medium rare, this steak is good enough on its own. A pepper and brandy sauce is rather thick and salty though this can be easily fixed with a splash of stock or better still with more simmered brandy.
A Clover Valley lamb loin is, well, a slab of lamb loin here at The Belrose Hotel.
A choice of sauce for beefs steaks is standard practice even for top steakhouses in town. But it’s hard to take a restaurant seriously when the same choice of sauce is also given to diners for a lamb loin, chicken breast and pork cutlet on the menu.
Cafe de Paris may be good on a beef steak but the chef might be shooting his or her own foot if a diner chooses this sauce for a lamb loin. Unlike a beef steak on a grill, lamb, chicken and pork are opportunities for a chef to showcase imaginative cooking using seasonal produce, paired with interesting sauces that bring out flavours of the meat. Kitchen logistics are important for a large restaurant but during such a competitive dining environment in Sydney, sacrificing kitchen flair can be a costly affair.
A kingfish fillet is rather dry and boring on its own. The flesh is overcooked and the skin dull and leathery. This piece of seafood is crying out for a creamy bearnaise or perhaps a healthier pumpkin puree.
The menu says roasted Kind Edward potato with confit bacon and salad comes with all meals. Though this may be a good match for red meat from the grill, it seems like a convenient and easy way out with a solitary piece of tuna, salmon or kingfish.
It’s only 6.30pm on a Saturday evening and this place is full of families with hungry kids tucking into their dinners after hours of fun in the playroom.
Self-saucing sticky date pudding is not overly sweet with a rich butterscotch sauce, a comforting dessert and a crowd favourite.
The orange and almond cake is moist and light, complemented with a strawberry sauce.
The Belrose Hotel is yet another new destination for Sydneysiders in the northern beaches with a modern, spacious and comfortable setting for families. Food portions are generous and prices reasonable but flavours need to be more imaginative.
Fresh seafood, lamb and pork need little cooking on the grill but it is creative cooking and a harmonious use of seasonal produce that brings it to life.
So dear readers, which is your favourite pubfare in Sydney?
ChopinandMysaucepan dined courtesy of Polkadot PR and The Belrose Hotel and received complimentary gifts. Prices are included for readers’ information. All views and opinions are our own on the day of attendance.
The Belrose Hotel
5 Hews Parade
Belrose, New South Wales
Tel: +61 2 9451 8585
Opening hours: 7 days lunch and dinner