Sorry about the lack of posts lately, guys! Life has thrown multiple curveballs at me and since this year I am to be plagued by yet another thesis that means more reading of journal articles and less blogging. I will try my best to post at least every week but a girl needs to keep her sanity somehow, and sometimes the best way to do that is to veg out in front of the TV.
Anyway – onto the food! Those of you who have seen Sir D’s extensive liquor collection will know that while I keep an eye out for tasty eats, he keeps an eye out for tasty drinks. As a long time appreciator of the cocktails at the Hilton’s Zeta Bar, Sir D decides to follow Zeta Bar consultant Grant Collins to his latest venture at The White Hart in Neutral Bay.
“But does it have good food?” I ask. A quick squiz of the online menu has me sold and before we know it, we’re sitting in a cosy space with a dining area and a lounge area, and decor that is a modern twist on the old English tavern. With a cocktail list that reads as long as a chapter book, we’re spoilt for choice in the drinks department but soon we’re happily sipping on cocktails.
The smokin’ tiki punch catches my eye – mainly the novelty of having my drink served in a “smoking tiki mug” – but the rum-based drink is fruity and well-balanced with flavours of apricot and passionfruit. How the mug is actually smoking is beyond me but give me a novelty mug and a cocktail umbrella and I’m happy hehe.
Sir D opts for the devonshire cider apple sour which is definitely a drink for the apple lovers. With homemade apple cider that is frozen into a giant sphere that chills and flavours the drink at the same time, this drink is a take on the classic sour with apple-infused vodka and bitters. I actually end up liking this drink more than my own!
Now that we’ve quenched our thirsts, we start on the food and we order an entree of WHFC served with creamy aioli. Shame on me that Sir D figured out what WHFC stood for before I did (it’s White Hart Fried Chicken by the way) but my ears pricked up at the words “fried chicken” and it just had to be ordered. Six pieces of tender chicken with a crunchy outside adorn the plate with the occasional blob of deliciously garlicky aioli. I love the super crunchy, knobbly bits of batter which are encrusted on the outside of the chicken and I can’t help but have a big smile on my face while eating this. Yes, it’s even better than KFC!
It wouldn’t be a proper English tavern if it didn’t serve roast beef, right? Sir D has a mammoth plate of roast beef with yorkshire pudding, roasted potatoes and pumpkin, cauliflower and spinach leaves placed in front of him, all covered in a silky smooth gravy. It’s comfort food at its best and one bite of the tender beef has me swooning. Believe it or not, this is the first time we’ve had yorkshire pudding so with no other comparison point, I can’t say if it was good or bad or authentic or not. I can tell you that it was mighty tasty though!
The snapper pie was the menu item that had me sold on the idea of going to The White Hart in the first place. It’s not often that I can find a good fish pie in Sydney (if anyone has any recommendations, leave a comment!) so I had my heart set on ordering this from the moment I saw it. It definitely lived up to all my expectations with a creamy white sauce, and chunks of perfectly cooked snapper, leeks, mushrooms and cauliflower mixed throughout. Usually I’m not a fan of open pies – I like a higher pastry to filling ratio – but this one was forgiven because the pastry was so earth-shatteringly crispy! It had also been scored so that it broke in all the right places and a little tile of pastry plus some of the fish pie filling = heaven.
We decided to skip dessert in favour of more alcohol and I spotted an ‘edible trio’ on the cocktail menu. The edible trio of American classics ($14, also available in British classics) included a mini edible martini of vodka jelly and an olive, a long island iced tea marshmallow with lemon sugar, and a homemade clover club sorbet. It was the first time that it had been served to a paying customer at The White Hart so the bartender came over to give us a bit of a rundown on how to enjoy it and what each item had in it.
Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo of this but it’s by far the most interesting way to enjoy alcohol that I’ve tried and I can see why The White Hart won the Small Bar of the Year award for 2011. Watching cocktails being served to other tables made me wish that we hadn’t drove to Neutral Bay (I saw one cocktail being served in what looked like a garden, another being served inside a massive book, and one served in a smoking teapot!) but I will definitely be back to explore more of their cocktail list and bar food!
The White Hart
19-25 Grosvenor St
Neutral Bay NSW 2089
Ph: +61 2 8021 2115
Tuesday to Thursday, 5pm – late
Friday, 3pm – late
Saturday, 12.30pm – late
Sunday, 12pm – 8pm