DINING REVIEW: The Greenroof

NEW LIFE: The Greenroof at Hamilton has undergone a refit that reinvigorates the old pub. Pictures: Max Mason-Hubers

NEW LIFE: The Greenroof at Hamilton has undergone a refit that reinvigorates the old pub. Pictures: Max Mason-Hubers

Isolated and unassuming on the corner of Tudor and Lawson streets, the locals have always known the Hamilton Hotel as the "the green roof" ever since Tooth & Co. built it back in 1936.

BUILD YOUR OWN: The meatball dishes are designed by you.

BUILD YOUR OWN: The meatball dishes are designed by you.

Well, now it's official. The Greenroof is the Hamilton Hotel reborn, and apart from a few shiny new tiles and a glowing red neon sign; the old family pub looks pretty much the same as it always has.

OK, so I don't really recall the old hotel having framed photos of astronauts and cats with rainbow coloured glasses hanging above the stair case, or large black and white photographs of rock stars such as the Rolling Stones and Prince stuck on the ceiling above booth seats and dining tables.

Come to think of it, I don't really remember seeing the silver rhino mounted onto such clean white tiles laid out in a herringbone pattern above the old brick fireplace, or the weird timber framed collage of Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott hanging on the wall in the dining room.

Well, OK, it's not just the name that's changed at The Greenroof, there's a few other things as well, including the menu. 

TASTY: The menu has an American flavour with meatball subs and waffles.

TASTY: The menu has an American flavour with meatball subs and waffles.

You can stare at the menu for as long as you want, but you won't find a steak or a schnitzel anywhere. Inspired by New York restaurant, The Meatball Shop, it’s spheres of ground meat or bust. Just pick your protein - beef, lamb, chicken, and pork, even lentils for the vegetarians - add an 'Under' including grits, beans, and mash, or have a salad on the side, and then choose a sauce, including tomato, barbecue, American cheese and more.

Or, you can pick a dish from the Chef Suggestions. There's subs and burgers, bar snacks and sides, including waffle fries, cheese tots and chilli 'slaw, and cheeseburger spring rolls that taste like a reheated cheeseburger from the golden arches.

They don't take bookings for tables and you order food and drinks at the bar. It was pretty hectic when I went out with a group of friends on a recent Friday night, and securing a table big enough to seat everyone looked like it was going to be a bit of an ask.

Luckily, the new refit sees the place sprawling with seating options, either at the bar, or in the bar, in the Tony Turnbull dining area, or out the back in the beer garden.

There's even a dedicated space for the rug rats to hang out in, with blackboard walls to draw on and games to play.

The food took a while to arrive, even for a Friday night, and by arrive I mean you pick up your order from the kitchen. As a group we ordered a good spread of items with mixed reviews coming in from a few friends about their specific choice (everyone's a critic these days).

The Mob Spaghetti was a highlight with its classic combination of rich tomato sauce, al dente pasta, and a few fat meatballs resting on top. The waffle fries were deliciously crunchy, while the shoestring fries in the Baller Fries dish were sloppy and limp.

The cheese tots were crispy and a great match with the smoked bacon and green jalapenos, while the Kikin' Chicken burger is a nice combination of mild spice and slaw. In this reviewers opinion, Mac n' Cheese should never taste like an imitation of packet mix and the cheese component is best made up of either Gruyère, Comté, Gouda, or a combination of all three.

 I ate the Ball Field lamb meatballs with truffle field mushrooms, goat’s cheese, watercress, green sauce and truffle crumbs; pretty fancy for an old pub, and the clear winner of the Best in Show Award on the night.

There's a lot of promise and potential underneath the Greenroof in Hamilton. The refit respectfully blends the old with the new and nostalgia with novelty.

The menu concept is unique but I think it could be better executed.

Nonetheless, the drinks are cold and wet. While ordering beers I asked one of the old boys at the bar what he thought about the changes, and he replied, "It makes me feel like a young bloke again, I love it."

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