Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Royal George, George St, Sydney

The Royal George, George St, Sydney
Thursday 20 December, 2007
Due to open mid December the Ivy still looks like a construction site from the street. However, with all the press around The Ivy and it's almost failed liquor license, Justin Hemmes is sitting on a goldmine again.
The Ivy is to comprise a boutique hotel, bars, a day spa, nine restaurants, a swimming pool with bar, European-style laneways, gardens, cafes, retail outlets, delicatessens, a ballroom and office space. I can't wait to see it finished.
Tonight we decided to try the only open venue within The Ivy complex....The Royal George. This is a blokes pub complete with exposed brick walls, wooden panelling, minimal chairs & tables, a large billiard table and pokies. Even though it has been open since last Friday it could have easily been opening night. The comedy of errors was a mile long but we still had a great time.
Justin Hemmes was sitting outside with some friends as we wandered up to the entrance. The huge bouncers welcomed us inside and we took the stairs up to the main bar. It was packed inside but we managed to find one table at the rear just near the back stairs. On the table was a postcard advertising lunch and dinner and the message - receive a complimentary beverage with every meal purchased*. There was no explanation around what this involved so we grabbed the first available staff member who had absolutely no idea what it referred to. To his credit he went to the bar to find out for us and returned to say we would receive a complimentary house wine, spirit or beer with each meal ordered. We asked where we ordered the meals and again, he didn't know so went to find out. Turns out you order and pay at the bar and are provided with a buzzer. Then you retrieve your meals from the kitchen and grab some cutlery and napkins from the bar.
One of my dinner buddies went up to the bar to order a bottle of wine and asked to see the wine list. 'Wine list?' came the reply. She asked to see a list of the available bottles and was told there was no wine list. She asked what they did offer by the bottle and the bar tender replied with 'you tell me what you want and I'll see if we have it'. So, there are some teething issues in their first week of operation.....
This extended to enquiring where the female toilets were - 'sorry, no idea' came the reply; when we did find out we discovered that there were only 3 female toilets, two basins and one mirror - clearly it was designed by a man; and being served an empty pepper grinder with our meals.
The minute, open kitchen with two chefs working side by side seemed far too small but the meals were pretty good and excellently priced. One of my dinner buddies enjoyed chatting up the head chef who was very easy on the eye and more than happy to speak with us. The menu comprised of t-bone steaks, home made lasagna, pork cutlets, pies and schnitzels which could be summed up a pub grub.
I ordered the Steak, guinness and mushroom pie with peas and mash as did two of my dinner buddies and the others ordered the Poached chicken salad with iceberg, bocconcini, roasted cherry tomatoes and Chicken schnitzel with mash, salad and a choice of sauced. Each meal was priced under $15 each. The pie was served on large plate with a medium size ramekin dish filled with steak, guiness & mushrooms and covered with a layer of thin, flaky puff pastry. We were all disappointed with the amount of peas & mash served alongside the pie
For pub grub is was pretty good and I'm sure the venue, service and food will continue to improve.

The Royal George - 320 George St, Sydney - (02) 9254 8002


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