I’m fully aware that in the last four posts I’ve reviewed four pubs and given a recipe for a cocktail. Believe me or not, I’m not an alcoholic (yet). It’s all been a coincidence, a tipsy and happy coincidence, I must say.
This is the last boozy post of the lot. Saturday lunches have been pub lunches for the last few months and I’ve managed to drag my friends to the pubs I wanted to try with no complains so far. This time we went to the Carlisle Castle Hotel, an old-fashioned pub tucked away from the Newtown buzz.
The pub is located on the quiet Albermarle Street, a couple of hundred meters away from the Camperdown Memorial Park. When we arrived, around noon, there were no customers at all. I had the feeling we were in the wrong place because of all the great reviews I had read about this pub. Following the bar tender’s directions, we headed to the courtyard. There was a couple of smokers on one table but we preferred the nasty ciggie smell to the sticky warmth of being indoors.
I went back to the bar to get a drink. Once again, there was a limited selection of beers on tap, which luckily included James Squire Golden Ale. Bonnie and Neil had Hahns and Alvaro a Bulmers (I regret the day I made him try cider).
We spent some time chatting, enough to let hunger arise. I guess it was partially because some more customers showed up for lunch. It took us quite a while to decide what to order (a sign that we were not really hungry, perhaps) and ended up choosing four items in a row from the sandwich selection. A beef burger and haloumi & vegetable open sandwich for Bonnie and me, a chicken & avocado burger for Neil and a fish burger for Alvaro.
Neil and I went to the kitchen to place the orders and noticed the specials blackboard, with more interesting (and expensive) options. I’ll have to try some of those another time. I also noticed that the dining room is quite nice and modern-looking, as opposed to the front of the pub.
We didn’t wait too long for our meals to arrive. All burgers were stacked high (thanks to the magic of a toothpick), not only making them look big, but allowing us to see that the fillings were generous indeed.
The beef burger and the haloumi & veggie sandwich were tasty. The chips were hand-cut and correctly cooked (soft in the inside and crunchy in the outside), although Bonnie found them bland. I agree to some point, but to me the cooking technique is more important than the actual taste of the potatoes in this case. The burger was good, not the best one I’ve had but heaps better than the one in the Orient.
Carlisle beef burger with chips ($15)
Weirdly, the open sandwich was not really open. But it didn’t matter: the familiar combo of grilled haloumi, zucchini, onion and capsicum, sandwiched between two slices of toasted bread, was delicious. Bonnie found the onion flavour overpowering; I didn’t mind it at all.
Chargrilled haloumi & vegetable open sandwich with salad greens ($14.50)
I tried a bit of Alvaro’s fish burger, it was good, but I liked the beef burger better.
Fish burger with deep fried flathead, tartare [sic] sauce & chips ($15)
Neil said his chicken & avo burger was average; I’m not really know what that means considering he’s recently re-become an omnivore.
Chicken and avocado burger with lime aioli & chips ($15)
After a long, relaxed conversation and just another round of beers (see? we’re not alcoholics) we decided to shoot off. Bonnie, Alvaro and I stopped at Gelato Blue for affogati; Neil went home for a nap. No wonder he’s the skinniest!
Carlisle Castle Hotel
19 Albermarle Street
(02) 9557 4852