When you mention pub food I immediately think of salt and pepper calamari, Thai food or a stodgy parmie. None of these are available at the Old Fitzroy Hotel in Woolloomooloo now with Nicholas Hill (ex Sepia) at the helm in the kitchen which is a relief in a town with the same ol same ol on the menu. Instead, the menu is British influenced bistro food with a rotating specials menu featuring a pie of the day. Order at the bar and grab a pint before making your way past the kitchen to the mezzanine area which also connects to the theatre- warning, the place gets packed with pre theatre guests and staff will ring a bell when a show is about to start.
We start with the Hot chip butty ($10), which is only available at lunch with optional upgrades of beef dripping gravy ($4) and curried egg ($4) and trust me, get them. It arrives deconstructed style so you can sneak a chip or two while slathering your devils white bread with butter. A less OCD person would dump all the chips onto the bread but well, I wanted to ensure even chip coverage and so carefully jenga stacked the fat golden chips before adding the curried egg layer and then smothering in the rich gravy.
Carb on carb perfection! There’s also bottles of HP, Worcestershire, vinegar and hot sauce available to customise your sammich to your liking.
There’s quite a few snacks on the menu and we cannot pass up the Scotch egg($8) which is picture perfect.
Inside the crispy, golden breadcrumbed shell is a deliciously peppery sausage meat layer around firm egg white and a gloriously golden and gooey yolky center.
We score a complimentary Chicken and lardo terrine ($16) from the kitchen, a tile of chilled, pressed chicken with ribbons of creamy rich lardo on top that I may have carefully peeled off to eat separately. I quite liked the tarragon mustard which provided a nice heat to the terrine.
The Raw beef on dripping toast($14) is basically a steak tartare on toast and it’s one tasty dish! The meat is nicely seasoned and the sprinkle of finely chopped chives providing a pleasant crunch and brightness against the rich umami laden toast.
The Tripe and chicken nuggets ($8) only comes 2 for the portion which made me a bit sad because I reckon the scotch egg would be more value buuuuut they were delicious and I’d totally order them again.
If you’re a fan of the textural elements of tripe you might be disappointed with how they’re reduced to nubbins and vying for center of attention against the chicken but there’s just something about these nuggets that explode with flavour and make you wish there were 20 more.
I’ve never eaten a rissole before so was curious about the Rissole sandwich with fries ($17) and was pleasantly surprised about how soft and tender the rissole was! I would definitely return for this and loved the melty cheddar against the sweetness of the beetroot. A special mention to the fries, they were covered in some crazy addictive salt that we would gladly buy to sprinkle on absolutely everything.
Pie fillings (and sizes) rotate daily so check out their grams for what’s on. On one visit our group shared the Roast chicken and artichoke pie for two ($45) and ohhh boy the pie was spectacular and so fricken massive! I reckon it would’ve been enough for 3-4 people for mains! The chicken fat and yellow wine sauce was velvety smooth and just so delicious that I wanted to bathe in it but settled for drowning the very juicy pieces of chicken dug up from the cavernous pie. And of course the puff pastry was amazing, golden with many flaky layers.
On another visit the pie of the day was Pigs head with grilled onion and cheddar ($22). I loved the juicy meat and tiny cubes of fat that melted on the tongue with the rich gravy.
While smaller in size the pie was no less tasty and in fact I actually preferred this pie as it felt like there was a higher puff pastry to innards ratio.
The Old Fitzroy Hotel
129 Dowling St,
Monday – Friday: 11am – 12am
Saturday: 12pm – 12am
Sunday: 12pm – 10pm