Sydney Park Hotel

Review: Sydney Park Hotel (Newtown)

When we first moved to Sydney, we lived in an apartment in Erskineville right between Newtown and St Peters stations. Every time I walked past the Sydney Park Hotel to catch the train in St Peters, I saw tradies drinking before 8am. That image stuck to my head until recently, when I learned from a good source that the pub, in particular the kitchen, had been revamped.


Dining room

We visited for lunch on a public holiday just because you gotta take every opportunity to have a drink with lunch on a Monday. Turns out we had been drinking the night before and so I was feeling a bit rough. I perused the drinks menu for an alternative to bloody marys, which I don’t like, and discovered the pickle back: your choice of spirit (gin in my case) with pickle juice and a cornichon chaser. If it didn’t work as a hangover cure, I thought, it might at least prevent exercise-induced muscle cramps, LOL. As I ordered my drink, I realised they have O’Brien gluten-free beers at the bar. Good to know for next time.

Pickle juice & gin

Pickle back with gin ($5.5)

If you’re in the mood for a fancy cocktail, the sloe gin fizz (sloe gin, gin, prosecco, lemon) is a good choice.

Sloe gin fizz

Sloe gin fizz ($12)

Foodwise, the menu has a few gluten-free options. Alvaro chose the bangers & mash: Irish pork sausages, mash, peas, gravy, which were fab.

Bangers and mash

Bangers & mash ($16)

In my hangover state, I chose the chicken wings, half kilo (!) buttermilk chicken wings with verde picante sauce, plus my beloved slaw on the side (other available sides are salad, vegetables and mash). The wings were excellent, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the sauce. Nice slaw, too.

Chicken wings

Chicken wings ($16)


Slaw ($6)

Another gluten-free option are the nachos with adobo beef or refried black beans, avocado, cheese, sour cream, salsa and jalapeños. The serving is massive and the flavour is good, although keep in mind the corn chips are baked with all the stuff on top, and thus can get soggy.

Beef nachos

Adobo beef nachos ($19)

The Bottom Line
Drinks: 4/5, good selection of cocktails/spirits (good value for money), O’Brien gluten-free beers available.
Food: 3.5/5, vegetarian and gluten-free options available, tasty and decently priced.
Service: 3.5/5, good service.

Sydney Park Hotel
631 King St
Newtown NSW 2042
(02) 9557 1188
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Sydney Park Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Cauliflower Hotel

Review: Cauliflower Hotel (Waterloo)

Hey, what’s up??!! Feels like I haven’t blogged forever! As I approach the end of my degree I feel like there’s too much on my plate (literally and figuratively) and some things have to wait. Like blogging. Like meditating more than once per day. Like going to the farmers market every Saturday. You get the drill.

On top of uni and work, our Buddhist centre recently moved so I spent a (tiny) bit of time helping out. The new centre is in Waterloo (Redfern, really) so naturally we have been exploring the area to find our new local cafes, restaurants and pubs.

Speaking of pubs, we found a pretty good one: The Cauliflower Hotel. Sounds like a name created recently to cater for low-carbers and no-grainers but no, this place has been there for a while. In fact, apparently food wasn’t very good in the past, but fortunately things have changed.


We’ve tried the Sunday roast ($18) a couple of times, a generous pile of slow-roasted meat (we’ve tried lamb and pork) serve on top of cauliflower mash and roasted veggies. Great bang for the buck.

Sunday roast #lamb #pub #lunch #realfood #jerf #aussie

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We also tried the pescado del día (fish of the day – yes, there’s a Latino theme in the menu), which comes with a very nice corn purée, corn chip crust and ensalada fresca. The fish was a bit overdone for my taste, but the dish as a whole was nice.

There are also smaller meals to share, for example tacos (1 for $7, 2 for $10) with either pulled pork, barramundi or chicken. We tried them with pulled pork, adobo de Oaxaca, crisp red cabbage & cucumber salsa tacos on gluten-free tortillas. There’s also the lemon pepper calamari ($10, also gluten-free) pictured below, Latino-inspired dishes and the usual pub suspects.

Pulled pork tacos in GF tortillas. #sunday #postmeditation #publunch #tacos #glutenfree

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Calamari #pub #lunch

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There’s live music every Sunday arvo as well. Most importantly, this place doesn’t get as busy as our old locals.

Sunday aperitif: gin & soda. #postmeditation #prelunch #pub #gin

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Cauliflower Hotel
123 Botany Rd
Waterloo NSW 2017
(02) 9698 3024
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The Cauliflower Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Review: Parkview Hotel (Alexandria)

This is one of our nearby pubs that happens to have gluten-free options on the menu. It’s quiet and has a RSL vibe to it. Music is bad, but on the bright side it’s not as busy and noisy as more popular pubs.

My friend ordered the 250g grass-fed Black Angus rump with mashed potatoes & steamed seasonal vegetables, surfed up with sautéed prawns in a béarnaise sauce. It was a massive serve, with good flavour although the steak was not cooked as ordered. The steamed vegetables were actually steamed and not drenched in oil/dressing, which is perfect for people who are watching what they eat. Bonus points for that.

Black Angus rump, prawns & bernaise sauce

Black Angus rump ($15), surf & turf ($6)

I ordered the slow-roasted Byron Bay free range Berkshire pork belly & seared scallops with red wine jus. It normally comes with mash and steamed broccolini, but I asked for no mash. They gave me steamed green beans instead. It was a massive, tasty meal. Once again, there were no unexpected oils or dressings on the veggies.

Slow roasted pork belly & seared scallops

Slow-roasted pork belly & seared scallops ($28)

Parkview Hotel
178-180 Mitchell Road
Alexandria NSW 2015
(02) 9557 1924

Parkview Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Review: The Norfolk (Surry Hills)

Here’s a pub that ticks all the boxes: central location, good vibe, wide array of booze, tasty food, and a menu where all items can be made gluten-free. The theme is Mexican (or Tex-Mex I should say), not only for decor and food but also drinks.

Norfolk Hotel

My sister and I shared the barbacoa pork feast, a plate of adobo rub pork for 2 with pickled jalapeños, curtido, salsas, gluten-free tortillas instead of soft rolls, and fries. We both loved it and are keen on coming back to sample more dishes.

Barbacoa pork feast

Barbacoa pork feast ($36)

The Norfolk
305 Cleveland Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010
(02) 9699 3177

The Norfolk Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Review: The Annandale Hotel (Annandale)

Back in Sydney, we had a good catch up with my sis at The Annandale. This is no longer our local, but we’re at a reasonable walking distance. The beer and cider selection is quite good.

The Annandale

Food sounded great but was a tad underwhelming. At least what we tried: pan-fried barramundi with eggplant, kipfler potato, bean shoots, cucumber, pickled onion, sambal, and 300g Scotch fillet with chopped cos salad, fried egg, tomato, and fries.

Pan-fried barramundi

Pan-fried barramundi ($24)

Scotch fillet

300g Scotch fillet ($27)

You know what happens when the meal doesn’t satisfy you completely, either volume or flavour-wise: you want more. We ordered a serve of triple cooked chips with aioli, which were awesome, especially with a second schooner of cider.

Triple cooked chips with aioli

Triple cooked chips with aioli ($7)

The Annandale Hotel
17 Parramatta Road
Annandale NSW 2038
(02) 9550 1078
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Review: The Henson (Marrickville)

My lovely sister shouted me lunch at The Henson to celebrate my graduation (second Bachelor degree!). The American-themed menu has many gluten-free options (not indicated, so ask the staff). Portion sizes are also Americanised, so come with a big appetite.

The Henson

My favourite were the smoked pork baby-back ribs with chilli orange glaze, jacket potato, Pepe Saya crème fraiche + ginger slaw. Huge serving and everything was very tasty. We were delighted to see that they provide the small Pepe Saya rounds when you ask for butter to add to the potato.

Smoked pork baby-back ribs

Smoked pork baby-back ribs ($26)

The pork belly burger with pickles, iceberg lettuces, kimchi kewpie, jalapeño mustard & chips, which comes with corn tortillas when ordered gluten-free, wasn’t as good as the ribs. The pork was on the dry side, but I really enjoyed the sauces and the chips.

Pork belly burger

Pork belly burger ($17)

The Henson

The Henson
91 Illawarra Road
Marrickville NSW 2204
(02) 9569 5858

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Review: The Oxford Tavern (Petersham)

When a friend tells you they’re craving meat, The Oxford Tavern is a great place to go. On weekends from noon they fire up Black Betty (the smoker) for American-style smoked meats, sold by weight.

The Oxford Tavern


We got some beef spare ribs, lamb ribs, pork ribs, beef brisket, pulled pork and chicken. All orders come with coleslaw and soft rolls (not for us).

They charge for weight, this platter for 3 costed about $65 and we had more than enough. I liked everything and would order the exact same thing again. Perhaps special mentions should go to the melt-in-your-mouth beef rib and the tender and juicy chicken. Note: the meats are marinated in BBQ sauce, so they have sugar, nightshades (watch out if you have inflammation issues), and possibly gluten and soy. Having said that, I didn’t have any adverse reactions.


Clockwise from top left: chicken, pulled pork, beef brisket, coleslaw, lamb ribs, beef spare ribs, pork ribs

The Oxford Tavern
1 New Canterbury Road
Petersham NSW 2049
(02) 8019 9351
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Review: The Duck Inn (Chippendale)

My sister and I had been meaning to try this pub for a while and now that we finally did I can honestly say it was one of the best pub meals I’ve had in Sydney.

Drinks-wise, the pub offers a decent variety of brews and wines.

The Duck Inn

The menu has several gluten-free options and each dish has a suggested wine pairing. One entrée and one main to share were enough food for us. Both the BBQ baby Fremantle octopus, chorizo, fennel purée, tomato, olive and the pan seared spiced Bangalow pork loin, spring vegetables, bacon, fennel, celeriac remoulade were outstanding. Looking forward to eating at The Duck again.

BBQ baby Fremantle octopus

BBQ baby Fremantle octopus ($17)

Pan seared spiced "Bangalow" pork loin

Pan seared spiced Bangalow pork loin ($28)

The Duck Inn
74 Rose Street
Chippendale NSW 2008
(02) 9319 4415

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Review: Four in Hand (Paddington)

Four in Hand is one of those places that has been in our special occasion bucket list forever. We had a family milestone to celebrate and big expectations to meet. We ate at the dining room, which is fancier than the pub and has the highest server-to-customer ratio that I’ve seen in a while. Service was top notch, I really enjoyed the dining experience there. They not only were helpful and totally honest with their suggestions but also didn’t seem annoyed by the photo shooting nor a last minute change (more on that later). Speaking about photos, apologies for the blurry photos; it was dark and I’m shy.

Table butter and salt are served on a split bone shaft. Very cute (for me) way to relate to the chef’s nose-to-tail philosophy. We didn’t have any bread but the butter didn’t go to waste :)

Butter and salt

Butter and salt

The meal kicked off with a complimentary smoked white fish and citrus soup with paprika that was excellent. It reminded me to make fish soup more often.

Smoked white fish and citrus soup

Smoked white fish and citrus soup

Four in Hand is known for its whole suckling pig for groups of 10 or more. The bad news? We were only three. The good news? They had whole pork shoulder as a special that night, so that’s what we ordered. The pig is slow-cooked and its skin is perfectly crispy. It comes with braised rainbow chard, red wine jus, celeriac salad (thinly sliced celeriac with creamy mayo-based dressing and sultanas), and colcannon (Irish potato mash with kale). As the waiter carved the pig and served us equally-sized portions we were silently and simultaneously grateful to have someone else do it for us.

Pork shoulder

Pork shoulder ($89)

I loved every single bite of the meal. If I had to complain about something it would be the ratio of meat vs. sides (too much meat or too little sides).

Celeriac remoulade

Celeriac salad



My sister and I enjoyed glasses of a great shiraz-malbec ($13) that went surprisingly well with the pork.

We were stuffed but Alvaro wanted dessert. He first ordered the sweet potato and goats cheese sorbet but upon double checking with another waiter we found out the sweet potato came as a (not gluten-free) cake. He then chose the chocolate and strawberry, quenelles of chocolate ice cream (or parfait?) with berries and mint, which Gladys and I got to try even though we said we were stuffed. Great dessert.

Chocolate & strawberry

Chocolate and strawberry ($16)

Four in Hand
105 Sutherland Street
Paddington NSW 2021
(02) 9362 1999

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Review: Smoked meats at The Erko (Erskineville)

Smoking (meats, not ciggies) is in the rise. In all honesty I couldn’t care less about cronuts being available in every single cafe but I do get excited when I see a sexy sign announcing smoked meats. Especially when it’s a stone’s throw away from home, in the good old Erko.

Erskineville Hotel

Erskineville Hotel

The smoker works Fridays 3-6 and while the menu is basically smoked meats in soft rolls, they told me the rubs and marinades are gluten free, and they are happy to serve the meat on a plate.

Smoking Hot Friday menu

We tried the smoked beef brisked (it came on top of coleslaw and topped with BBQ sauce) and more coleslaw on the side. Both had nice flavour and the combo was more filling than what it looked.

Smoked brisket, coleslaw

Smoked brisket ($7), coleslaw ($4)

To read about previous visits to the Erko click here and here.

Erskineville Hotel
102 Erskineville Road
Erskineville NSW 2043
(02) 9565 1608

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