The Civic Hotel, Sydney CBD

Lifting local pub food to a whole new level

Located 388 Pitt St, Sydney NSW 2000

As comfortingly familiar as Australian local pub food is, it has also become predictably boring. The Civic Hotel, a well-established pub in the heart of Sydney’s CBD, has decided to step it up a notch and redefine their existing pub menu with a Greek twist. Head chef David Tsirekas of Perama and Xanthi fame, has brought his own Greek influence into the new menu stating, “The menu reflects a new direction of the pub dining. We have combined elements of pub food and elements of casual dining to create a new type of dining experience. We have moved away from the $10 steak and are passionate about offering better quality food while remaining mindful of budgets.”

“As comfortingly familiar as Australian local pub food is, it has also become predictably boring.”

Together with Huddle Group, The Civic Hotel hosted an interactive ‘Chef’s Table’ event treating us to an evening of heart-warming cuisine from the new menu. The feast kicked off with a customary Greek toast with none other than ouzo, a traditional Greek spirit distilled from anise. Opa! This is a not a drink for the faint-hearted and one shot of this licorice-like alcohol is enough to whet your appetite, ready for a night of feasting. We started with the meze board which included tarama, eggplant, dolmathes, spinach pie, marinated olives, zucchini chips and pita bread. The pita bread was unlike any other I’d tried before — so light, soft, chewy and incredibly fluffy. When asked how he did it, David Tsirekas let us in on his secret tip, it’s all about the circumference. The smaller, the better, as it puffs up and the rest is up to science. I loved this with the tarama, made from cured fish roe.

“The feast kicked off with a customary Greek toast with none other than ouzo, a traditional Greek spirit distilled from anise. Opa!”

For the next course, David shared his mini yeeros dishes. The selection included Athenian duck, pork belly and soft shell crab, paired with a refreshing Vulkan Santorini Blonde Beer or a refined Alpha Estate Malagouzia. The pork belly yeero would have to be my favourite — the pork was so crispy and cut into delectable bite-sized chucks. This, combined with the crunch of the crackling and the acidity of the slaw made for a very delicious yeero.

This was followed by a lamb shoulder and mushroom truffle moussaka complimented with Alpha Estate SMX. The mushroom truffle moussaka was delicious and filled with layers upon layers of mushroom and creamy bechamel sauce. If you’ve an avid Drool Worthy World fan, you’ve probably figured out that I, LeeLoo, am not a huge fan of lamb and avoid it at all costs. Well, for this feast, I was convinced by my sister and some fellow foodies from Excuse Me Waiter to try it and admittedly, really liked it. The lamb had been slow cooked for hours so it was incredibly tender and the charred bits on it were full of smokey flavour. Let me be the first to say, David Tsirekas may have converted to me into a lamb lover with this dish.

“Named after the year where the Greeks successfully took back their nation from the Ottoman Empire, 1821 is sure to also make a mark in Australian dining history.”

David also gave an exclusive sneak peek into the fine-dining establishment 1821, which is opening late September 2016 in Martin Place. Named after the year where the Greeks successfully took back their nation from the Ottoman Empire, 1821 is sure to also make a mark in Australian dining history. David shared one of it’s signature dishes and matching wine for the very first time: the Aeagan lobster spaghetti, served with Biblio Chora Biblinos, an ancient Phoenician cult wine. The lobster was cooked to perfection and the wine was amazingly rich and complex in flavour, the perfect way to end a night of feasting.


Overall

The Civic Hotel has truly transformed the way we see pub food in Sydney. It’s no longer the stereotypical fish and chips or calamari rings but rather, authentic, traditional cuisine and in this case, with a Greek influence. As head chef David Tsirekas put it, “Who’s to say you can’t have restaurant quality dining in local pubs? We are growing and evolving our offerings in line with the general foodie scene in Sydney.” We asked for it, and The Civic Hotel delivered.

Rating: Mindblown
Service: 4/5
LeeLoo and Gourmet Gumbo dined as guests.

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