Restaurant Review: The Commonwealth Hotel, Union Street Cooks Hill

THE relatively new fit-out and restaurant has given The Commonwealth Hotel a new lease on life, while keeping the old boy charm. 

Outside, hanging plants are suspended in abundance above chatting families and friends, while inside, in between gold-pressed metal detail in the roof, stained timber floorboards and old maps of Newcastle that hang on the wall, the citizenry sit, drink and dine in front of the passers by at the newly-improved restaurant.

There are starters to share or enjoy on the side, salads as big as main meals, pub favourites, kids meals, more mains and dessert; and they serve rolls, not burgers.

The seven-spiced squid and crispy fried prawns with rock melon and tamarind sauce, for instance, is a standout. Both the cephalopod and the crustaceans are cooked perfectly - firm, not rubbery - and encrusted with a fragrant blend of zesty spices that paired well with a schooner of Six Stings Golden Ale.

And there are the specials like cornbread waffles with buttermilk fried chicken, beer battered jalapenos and maple syrup. 

And there’s the Sweet Home Alabama roll, which is bursting with pulled beef cheek, charred corn salsa, battered onion and chipotle between two halves of a long brioche bun, with chips on the side. 

The taps in the front bar often rotate with a few craft beers from local brewers, like Grain Fed and Rogue Scholar. They're poured alongside a slew of old favourites, including Kent Old Brown, which, I reckon, would be smartly matched with a plate of crumbed lamb cutlets, chips and vegies. 

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