The Burwood Inn
77 Berner Street, Merewether
Pub favourites, $20 to $28; entrees/share plates, $8 to $22; mains, $26 to $30; steaks, $26 to $36; sides, $5 to $7; desserts, $12
Reasonably priced, interesting variety, Margans wines featured; 15 beers on tap
Lunch, seven days; dinner, Monday to Saturday
One entree/share plates, breads
Three courses about $110 for two without drinks
The dark timber chairs and tables are still there but the brasserie style paper cloths are no more. Instead, a new ceiling has been installed that goes a long way to cut the noise level.
Although this is still not the place for a romantic tryst it’s certainly a great choice for a family or group night out.
The menu offers traditional pub food, with five different steak dishes being given star billing. All dishes are substantial and include chicken parmigiana, Bulmer’s cider battered snapper, and crumbed lamb cutlets with mash, gravy and green beans.
But apart from a small list of nightly specials there aren’t as many modern Australian dishes as on a previous visit.
Having said that, wasabi cured salmon from the specials menu is innovative and a good choice as a starter. Finely julienned apple, fennel and sliced radish provide a nicely crunchy contrast to the thinly sliced, silky soft salmon but I would have liked a bit more than the hint of wasabi in the cure.
‘‘Open’’ beef and Guinness pie is a little misleading; first impression is a plate sized circle of golden puff pastry. But this cuts to reveal the main event of beautifully tender beef in a rich sauce, studded with an avalanche of green peas.
There’s no Wagyu tonight so we decide to try a couple of different cuts of beef, with the intention of comparing flavour and tenderness. Given the choice between eye fillet and a thick sirloin, I often choose sirloin. OK, it might be a bit more chewy than fillet, but flavour wins out. This sirloin is from the Riverine Premium brand, grain-fed beef which is known for its marbling and comes from a particular breed of cattle, not a region (not to be confused with the Riverina). It’s marble score of 2+ it is not nearly as high as the Wagyu’s 9+, but this 300-gram steak has been cooked medium rare as ordered and well rested for an excellent result. Slightly underdone green beans (so few kitchens get beans just right), some truffle flavoured butter and good hand-cut chips provide ideal accompaniment.
If you order the T-bone you can have your cake and eat it too ... or rather, you can have a small eye fillet and a sirloin in one go. And you have the advantage of meat cooked on the bone. This pasture-fed, locally produced black Angus beef from the Hunter Valley combines the tenderness of the fillet with all the flavour of the sirloin.
Brown sugar meringue, warm chocolate brownies and fresh lemon curd tart with lemon sorbet are possible choices for dessert. We go for the Turkish delight ‘‘panna cotta’’. This creamy concoction in a glass is perfectly acceptable. And it comes with beautifully trimmed, syrupy orange slices and a small ball of delicious pistachio ice-cream. Just don’t call it panna cotta; it’s more like a thick creamy custard which lacks the pleasant wobble of a perfectly executed, gelatine-set panna cotta.
The Burwood Inn fills the bill for very good suburban pub food.