Fancy a taste of home? The 2012 SMH and Age Good Food Guides launched recently and the The Best British in NSW and Vic are (drum roll please)….:
GFG Score: 15 / 20
The move to the Merivale camp suits ex-Brit-pack chef Jeremy Strode. His nose-to-tail menu matches the butcher’s stripe chairs and dark tables of this faintly blokey upstairs dining room in the heart of the… well, yes, CBD. Offal bits both wobbly and chewy are scattered through the list, from ears to bones to ‘hearts and minds’-a salad of marinated, sliced lamb’s heart and creamy brain croquettes. Quite a few dishes are loose-leaf compositions, as in a smokey yet sharpish duck salad with pickled plum; crackly pig’s ear on egg-topped leaves hiding crumbly blood sausage nuggets; or in a lilting combo of blood-red ox-heart tomatoes blobbed with shiny goat’s curd. There’s good steak-grass-or grain-fed, maybe with an up-ended marrow bone alongside like a little pot of jellied richness; or a wedge of wagyu corned beef with condiments that’s a triumph of the genre. So is champagne jelly layered like a trifle with oat crumbs and berries. Nice move, Mr Strode.
GFG Score: 14.5 / 20
The Middle Park feels like a club that specialises in good food. This grand Victorian dame with a makeover of marine plywood and sports paraphernalia is still a popular pub cashed-up tradies downing a light beer and a Scotch egg at the bar underline that. The adjoining dining room has a grand little entrance under a red awning and crest-embossed carpet. The waitstaff are professional and warmly familiar, with a hint of blokiness. Consultant chef Paul Wilson has handed down a Brit pub-style menu with a heavy push for local and sustainable produce. Prawn cocktail or devilled crab and egg add a retro touch. At the heart of this operation is a charcoal grill on which steaks are cooked. Properly rested and served with a good bottle of plonk suggested by the gruff but fun sommelier, they are among the best in town.
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