Dinner At The Royal Paddington

In Sydney’s affluent Paddington, there’s a little slice of town known as ‘five ways’. It’s nothing special, nothing flash, nothing grand, but it’s what’s just below the surface – or above, in this case – that really makes the area and its tenants sing.

The Royal Hotel in Paddington is an institution. Say the name to any Sydney local or resident or leafy-street-strewn local and they reply with some sort of fond nostalgic memory or a feint smile on their face. It’s a place for the locals and those from afar that has carved a decent name for itself in its own right.

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Its bottom floor is nothing to write home about: a standard pub with pokies, a central bar, bar stools and tables and a hidden below deck bathroom. But head northwards up their rickety-looking old stairs and it’s what above that really does the place justice.

Though nowhere remotely near to water or any waterway of any kind, the Greco-nautical theming of the restaurant is a very typically Sydney, yet refreshing welcome to the urban sprawl of the street outside. It’s fresh, light and inviting, despite the myriad of separating walls and partitions. They’ve made a clumsy kitchen and eatery space work well for what it offers.

And what The Royal Hotel offers doesn’t disappoint either. Their sumptuous menu is well thought-out, consisting of Sydney staples and local Paddington-isms that cater to a much more discerning palette.

With entrees of truffle garnished shoestring fries, freshly shucked oysters with lemon and a housemade vinaigrette, as well as scollops with a parsnip puree and miso butter, the mouth is set to water and appetite primed for an onslaught more.

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With a recent revamp of their carefully thought-out menu, the restaurant’s offering is fair, wholesome, light-but-heavy and decadently rich without being overpoweringly sickening; just what you want in a great place to eat.

To accompany, their drinks menu is pretty expansive. From the staple Melburnism that is the espresso martini, to margaritas and a fair offering of Australian sparkling, red and white, the drinks complement the dishes handsomely.

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Though well-known for their baked camembert entree that leads-on ever so generously to what is one of their most impressively-touted mains of pumpkin ravioli, caramelised nuts and blue cheese, their dishes are hard to select based on mere preference alone. From the temptingly sweet ravioli to the hearty and wholesome – and well-cooked – 400g sirloin cut steak, the options are endless and each as satisfying as the last for the most picky of grazers.

Dessert on the other hand is a completely different story. With staples like cheese for the refined on hand, a chef’s special that alternates night-to-night can never go astray. A Tim Tam inspired tiramisu with caramelised Tim Tam dust, densely soaked spongecake and enough cream to stop the heart of any strong eater, it tops-off any meal so well. Rich, sweet – but not sickening – alcoholic, but won’t get you drunk, and with all the right hallmarks to be able to call itself an adventurous tiramisu, the Royal Hotel Paddington has it in one.

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