With most inner city pubs traipsing merrily along the gastro-path, it’s almost a relief to find a Surry Hills watering hole in the midst of uber-cool Crown Street pleasing a quiet mid-week crowd of locals with a range of pub-favourites.
I'm not saying it's completely devoid of cheffy touches, but overall it's neat but not devastatingly trendy, spacious with retro chairs and a working fireplace. It’s a great place to down a popular Angus Rib Eye Steak ($26) cooked on the bone with mash, green beans and a disc of Café de Paris butter.
The tapas menu provides the most joy, with perfectly tender, curled little hands of Salt and Pepper Calamari ($12) dished up with nahm jim and lime mayonnaise;
...or a crisp hunk of Berkshire Pork Belly ($16) balanced nicely by sweet potato puree, apples and Calvados sauce.
Or there are lighter options like a Cajun Spiced Prawn Salad ($16) with cucumber, rocket, tomato and a couple too few slices of juicy, green pear.
The tapas option is obviously popular with groups, who also come to enjoy Jack O’Leary’s interesting wine list; well priced for the area. For an edgy breath of fresh air, kick off with a Chartreuse Mojito ($16) – grassy, herby and a breath-freshener to boot. I’m a big fan of the Bird In Hand Sparkling Rose ($45/bottle), but if you’re craving red meat, the 2008 Red Hill Estate Pinot Noir ($9.50/glass, $46/bottle) is very slurp-able companion.
381-385 Crown Street, Surry Hills
Ph: (02) 8333 9999 www.thewhitehorse.com.au