In the type of pub you’d usually go to find a blue, there’s a surprisingly nice little bistro.
Prejudice well and truly checked, I settled in amongst the families and local Ambos to enjoy the well-priced Malay dishes of Chef Richard Wai. For the last fifteen years, his laksas were the talk of Woolloomooloo’s Old Fitzroy.
After one mouthful of BBQ Pork and Greens ($10.50) I could see why – it’s better than most I’ve had in restaurants far more expensive.
I’m not going to lie; Richard’s Roti Canai with Curry Chicken ($10.50) was too sweet.
However after the perfectly balanced house-made sauce accompanying the Satay Chicken ($8.50/4 pieces), I suspect the problem is not him, it's us conservative inner westies – so don’t be afraid to let him know we can handle a bit of heat. Dim Sim ($8/8 pieces) also impress with a crispy, oil-free exterior and a tasty filling that made me sit up and smile. Try the whole range of entrees on the Mixed Entree Platter ($12) - no failures if you ask me.
Small touches like complimentary Neapolitan ice cream and a ping-pong table nearby to amuse the kids make me thankful that brave licensees like Caroline Stening can renovate a pub without taking the usual gastro-pub route. After all, even us yuppies need a cheap eat with well-priced bevvies (try the sweetish Swedish Koopaberg Pear Cider ($6)) on mortgage week…
Orange Grove Hotel, 311 Balmain Road, Lilyfield
Ph: (02) 9810 2835