You wouldn’t expect to get French bistro style meals such as duck confit from walking past – or even in – this old Newtown pub on the Tempe end of King Street but if you head straight past the bar, the pool tables and the locals who eyeball you (well, they’re eyeballing me), you’ll find Darley Street Bistro tucked away at the end. At least, you’ll find the kitchen, with the dining area upstairs.
Following in the footsteps of the bistro in Newtown’s The Carlisle Castle, which has been offering some of Sydney’s best restaurant (not to mention pub) food in one of this city’s least ostentatious settings, the Darley’s specials board offers a bewildering array of temptations. (Actually, to be exact there are two chalkboards to look at. One has standard pub fare such as burgers and chips for those on a budget but it’s the other board that interests me).
As with the Carlisle’s bistro, the wide range of specials here change frequently. Tonight I opt for the duck confit (which I haven’t had since I was last in France) with beetroot risotto and crispy prosciutto while the Amazonian Croatian goes for the southern highland beef with sweet potato and roast tomatoes.
The highlight of my meal is the beetroot risotto (which is surprising since, aside from the obvious reason, I don’t normally even like beetroot) and while the duck could arguably be a little more succulent I still enjoy it – and at $24 it’s great value. Meanwhile, the Croatian is loving her highland beef, which is definitely tender and beautifully cooked.
Since we’re not exactly in cocktail country we stick to tap beer (I’d say which one but I’d probably alienate the sophisticated Bar Zine readers who expect more from me. Still, for all my love of sazeracs and negronis, part of me will forever be in love with the draught beer of my wondrously misspent youth).
My only real criticism of this place is the atmosphere of the upstairs dining area. There’s nothing wrong with it but, with the turned-off TVs on the wall, lack of music and bright lighting, it just feels too sterile to me (although I do like the photos on the wall). Then again, the dining area of most pubs aren’t exactly much to write about, as if they’re only temporary areas for drinkers to eat in before they go back to the main bar. However, with friendly kitchen staff and highly affordable meals that are definitely a cut above the usual pub fare, the Darley Street Bistro is definitely worth checking out.
Botany View Hotel / Darley Street Bistro, 597 King Street, Newtown.
Now it’s your turn – how do you rate the Botany View / Darley Street Bistro?