You’d be forgiven for thinking that the Oxford Tavern is a seedy pub, seeing as up until last year, the main drawcards were the topless waitresses, jelly wrestling and the “live hot girls”. But since the Drink ‘n’ Dine group’s revamp of the inner west pub, the pokies area has been changed to a beer garden, “jelly wrestling” now refers to a dessert on the menu, and instead of girls, you can now get “live hot BBQ”!
Live hot BBQ sounds like something right up my alley, so we went to check out The Oxford Tavern’s new Black Betty BBQ. It’s an impressive beast of an outdoor smoker that has been operating for the past couple of months, churning out smoked meats cooked low and slow on the weekends until sold out.
There’s a range of smoked goodies on the menu, generally sold by weight. You can also see the prepared meats in the glass cabinet at the counter, and they all look amazing. Executive Chef of the Drink ‘n’ Dine group, Jamie Thomas, is there to serve up the meat himself, and he slices up a little bit of everything for us to try.
We end up with a huge platter of meaty goodness featuring all the menu items on the standard Black Betty BBQ menu, as well as the specials for the day.
The smoked chicken is the only poultry item on the Black Betty menu, and it has an amazingly smoky flavour and is succulent and juicy.
Lately I’ve had some major burger cravings – probably because I don’t think a day goes by without a burger appearing on my instagram feed! I’d heard about the awesome burgers at Chur and I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to check it out. I mean look at that beauty of a pulled pork burger! The pork is tender and juicy from the house made BBQ sauce and the generous slathering of mayo and there’s some cabbage slaw there for crunch.
Yes you heard right… Buns AND Balls. Get your minds out of the gutter people – we’re talking burger buns and meatballs here! And that’s exactly what the new Buns & Balls in Potts Point offers – a selection of tasty meatballs and juicy burgers.
Of course before we get into the buns and balls, we have a couple of drinks. At Buns & Balls, they have freshly made juice cocktails and we choose to sample the pineapple, ginger beer, vodka and bitters one first. I’m not a huge fan of ginger but thankfully this isn’t too gingery, and it’s also not tooth-achingly sweet because of the acidity from the pineapple juice. The watermelon, lime and vodka cocktail is equally as refreshing and is perfect for the upcoming warm summer nights.
We tried a selection of the meatballs on offer, as well as some of the spicy Louisiana wings. I enjoyed the barramundi croquettes with tartare sauce which reminded me a little bit of fish fingers. The crispy tofu balls were bathed in the deep fryer for a nice crispy outside and firm tofu on the inside. Both the chicken meatballs and wings used the same hotsauce and blue cheese dipping sauce, so they tasted very similar, though I preferred the wings to the chicken meatballs. The beef and pork meatballs with napoletana sauce and grated cheese on top were by far my favourite, reminding me of a classic meatball made by an Italian nonna!
After seeing pictures of crab boil in plastic bags and watching Adam Richman on Man vs. Food hammering the crap out of crawfish to get the meat (and making a giant mess in the process), I was super excited about the prospect of crab boil coming to Sydney.
Last week, the Drink n Dine group opened their newest venture, the House of Crabs, on the 1st floor of The Norfolk in Redfern. As expected from a place called “House of Crabs”, there’s plenty of crustaceans to be had in a variety of sauces, but for the non-seafood lovers out there, rest assured there’s also steak and some damn good fried chicken ($18) as well.
Looks like an old-skool Coca Cola vending machine right? But looks can be deceiving – this is actually the door to The Soda Factory, a bar in Surry Hills which serves an array of cocktails, floats and hot dogs. Pull on the Coca Cola bottle on the right hand side and you’ll be able to enter the dimly lit bar which is pretty packed on a Tuesday night.
The reason for it being packed is most likely because it’s Dollar Dogs day! Every Tuesday, the Soda Factory puts on 4 different hot dogs from their menu for you to purchase for a gold coin. The other hot dogs and menu items are also available to order, but we dive straight into the dollar dogs by ordering one of each.
The Mob Dog is probably most classic of the four, with a pork and fennel sausage, oven roasted capsicum, and jalapenos (though the menu says ‘hot fresh chili’). The roasted capsicum gives this hot dog quite a sweet flavour, and the jalapenos some heat. I think a saucy element would not go astray on this hotdog as it’s a little dry compared to some of the others.