Frozé ($7.50) - based on frozen rosé wine - has hit our shores after being the darling of the last American summer. Looking every bit the frozen pink slushie, its climate-friendly characteristics combined with the obvious Instagram appeal, is likely to make it the drink our own long, hot summer. I got my first sip at The Bayview Hotel in Gladesville, and I can definitively see the appeal of this blend of Luna Rosa Rosé, peach schnapps, strawberries and lemon juice.
Gladesville – one of the local council areas that valiantly fought against the Mike Baird Government’s forced amalgamations in court – has lost its village appeal since my last visit. It’s currently a zone of industry, with medium density apartment blocks springing up on both sides of the over-taxed Victoria Road.
The Bayview Hotel seems well placed to offer the impending influx of new residents a home away from home, with a diverse range of crowd-pleasing dishes, well-priced wines and an airy, all-weather deck.
Wipe away the remains of the day with a Foxy Lady ($17.50) that turns Hendricks gin, Cinzano dry, cucumber and mint into a pleasurably sharp, unsweetened martini-style drink.
The menu, which still includes pub classics, puts its own leftfield stamp onto what’s popular in contemporary pub cuisine. The Taco Salad of Southern Queensland Prawns ($23.50) takes a quirky mix of jicama (a wet, white yam), radicchio, star fruit and Thai nam jim and makes them into a cross-cultural, hot weather salad.
As Tracey, our personable Vietnamese waitress explains, most folk on this side of the Anzac Bridge “don’t like spicy” so expect to visit the wall of Sauces & Spices if you do.
Swapping out spicy for sweet explains why there was a bit of a disconnect for me with the Texan Butchers Board ($31). This dish presents four types of meat – bested by cider-glazed chorizo – on a long wooden board. Both the pulled pork and the five-spice chicken were too sweet for me, while the smoky barbeque ribs were a little dry. The festival of protein is accompanied by pico de gallo, and green beans in a little copper saucepan, which had me expecting something hot, but turned out to be more like a cold bean pickle.
Squid Ink Spaghetti ($28.50) has a home-cooked edge that reminds me of our kitchen-sink pasta creations where we chuck in everything in the fridge. This bowl contains everything from spinach to chorizo to cherry tomatoes and olives, along with the promised prawns, calamari and Cloudy Bay clams. It certainly keeps your mouth interested, especially with a glass of 2014 Cumulus Chardonnay ($12.50/glass).
The Orange chardonnay is from vines located above six hundred meters elevation on Mount Canobolas – hence it being named for the surrounding clouds. It’s elegant with good minerality, and if you ask me, drinks better than your average fifty-buck bottle of pub wine.
Not a fan of over-sweet desserts, after the sugar excesses of the meat platter I was a little fearful, but Tracey convinced me to try Nathan’s Vanilla and Clove Panna Cotta ($11.90). This creamy, smooth and milky custard is presented verrine-style under a strawberry and basil salsa. It’s well balanced with the cloves and basil giving it a clever sweet-meets-savoury edge. Tracey was right on the money.
The Bayview Hotel
166 Victoria Road, Gladesville
Ph: (02) 9817 2632