Tuesday, 25 September 2012

New Sydney Hotel

Following the resounding gastronomic success of my pub outing last week with Christina to Republic for a beautiful lunch, Bec and I decided another pub meal was the ideal dinner choice last night. She suggested one our favourites, Dr Syntax, but having had a long term desire to review the New Sydney (and having felt extremely guilty at not having done so in 6 years of food blogging), Bec happily took up my suggestion of New Sydney, especially as my son (Bec’s brother) and many other friends always heartily endorse it!

As I drove there, I pondered to myself the small issue of how I was to rave about their food (which I was certain we would absolutely love) in comparison to my descriptions of last week’s superb Republic meal. Luckily for me, but unfortunately for them, I was subsequently saved this conundrum!

We had looked online earlier at the menu and pretty well decided what we would select, whilst obviously keeping an open mind in regard to daily specials.

After much debate, we decided on two courses each: Pirates Bay octopus ($14) and Tempura Mushrooms ($12) for entrees, then for mains, we both had decided that the best sounding meal was the Spring Bay Mussel pot, corn and smoked paprika chowder with chips and aioli ($27). Two of us couldn’t have the same thing if we were wanting to taste a good cross section of the menu, so I opted for my alternative choice of the Confit Duck Leg, mixed bean cassoulet and salsa verde ($30).

Unfortunately, when we ordered, we were told that the mussel dish was off the menu because they’d run out of mussels the night before. Bec then had to do a re-think, and decided on a Chicken Schnitzel Parmigiana (which, by the way, was not free range! Most disappointing!) for $22.

To start the evening, the wait person/bar person demonstrated an unfortunate lack of innate sensible hospitality service delivery at order taking time. Bec provided the food and drink order, credit card in hand, at the bar. Bar person, realising she needed to get a new container of orange juice from out the back to complete the order, dropped everything, and disappeared for easily five minutes, before reappearing and continuing with the transaction. Why did she not finish with the food ordering, take the money, then ask Bec to take a seat whilst she made the drinks? Who knows, but Bec was left standing at the bar like a knot on a log for, as I said, a good 5 minutes.

So to the food. When the entrees emerged, we took one look and decided we’d made a mistake ordering two courses, as both plates of food, particularly the mushrooms, looked quite substantial. The octopus was a total letdown. It tasted like what I imagine cat food to taste like! I am Pirates Bay Octopus’ biggest fan, and if it’s ever on a menu anywhere, will always order it. I don’t know how New Sydney treated this old favourite but it tasted awful. We left it, after having a valiant try at it. The mushrooms were a bit on the salty side for me, but for avid salt-lover Bec, they were fine. But we had to leave half the plate uneaten as well, as we knew we’d have trouble finishing our mains.

So out came the mains. My duck leg was served in a sweet little individual casserole dish, which presented well, but was awkward to eat out of, given the high sides of the casserole dish, especially when trying to extract meat off the leg!  It was ok but I really couldn’t say anything more positive about the food than that, much as I’d love to. The cassoulet was reasonably flavourless, unlike the traditional cassoulet which is a splendid meal in its own right.

Bec’s parmy, she believes, was one of those pre-made jobbies, and not at all satisfying. She ended up leaving most of it. We love that at Syntax, they prepare their own parmies. This was a big letdown.

All up, for the two courses, two soft drinks and a glass of house red for Bec, it cost $96, and we left feeling most unsatisfied, and, to be honest, a bit ripped off, as you do when you eat out and don’t enjoy your meal, for whatever reason.

I have long held out great hopes for the food at New Sydney, and am now wondering if it was indeed a case of the Emperor’s new clothes syndrome with all those fans of NS?

 New Sydney Hotel
87 Bathurst Street
Ph 6234 4516

Posted on by Rita


lemon curd said...

I have to say, I've had a few standout meals at the NS over the last year, but the last couple of times I've been it was pretty shoddy. Mussells were ridiculously overcooked (which I ordered again without hesitation after loving them the first time around), and then had a pretty ordinary steak.
Changed a bit after Klaa moved round to the Pumphouse...

Anonymous said...

That bloke wot was sous chef at Meadowbank is the chief in the NS kitchen now. We had a stayk that was as stringy as a bark and a parmi straight outta the Bidvest catalogue
Ruud Gullit

Anonymous said...

I had always hear good things about the NS menu so thought I would book it in for a work function. I was rather dissapointed with their attitude as of the day of the function, I called to say that we had 15 instead of 18. I was then told that if we minded coming in an hour early (6pm instead of 7) as they had two 18th already booked in the upstairs around at 8pm. I was dissapointed that one they had only given us an hour to eat, and no one had actually called me about it - i accidently found out. We had to cancel it and go somewhere that we weren't going to be rushed out.

Mel B said...

My partner and I went down to the NS for dinner around two months ago, and were left feeling a bit like you did, Rita. The place was jam-packed, the menu looked great but the meals were overpriced and a let-down. It was a real shame. Oh well, back to the Repub for us too.

Btw, perhaps you could consider going along to review Amici at some point? we were there just last week and it was fantastic, and totally packed. Somebody might be finally able to make that little spot work!