Since having moved into my new place, I have made it my self-proclaimed mission to check out every single pub in the area until I find one I can deem “the local”. Since making this claim, I of course have been to about three out of the 84,000 pubs around me, so it’s not going particularly well.
To make up for this, a few dining friends and I went to check out The Norfolk Hotel on Cleveland Street a couple of weeks back. The Norfolk is one of those pubs where somebody was probably once stabbed, where the paintwork peeled and where bouncers through punters out the door and onto the street. It is one of those pubs where some hipster thought to themselves…I can make some money out of this hell-hole, and immediately appointed an interior decorator, some attractive bar staff, a couple of decent chefs and a drink called the Tijuana Camel Toe (it’s delicious).
A few beers (and camel toes) into our night, our stomachs made note of the fact that we had been drowning them in alcohol without so much as a stick of grissini to balance it out. We swiftly approached the bar, ordering a duck, a fish, a chicken and a beef taco (4 for $20), “salt n pepa” squid with jalapeno mayo ($14), a beef burger ($18.50) and a deceptively spicy “Chickn” Burger ($17).
We later worked out that the Chickn Burger had on it sriracha mayo, which we appeared to have missed in our menu selection. DF1, being a spice-sissy, regretted this decision immediately and swiftly went to gather as many glasses of water as would fit in his hands. Otherwise, he said the chicken was reasonably juicy and the bun was brioche-y. The chips, he said, were crunchy, but did look like they’d come out of a McCain’s packet. No picture of the beef burger, but the two did essentially look precisely the same (and probably could have been, given the number of beers we had consumed). DF2 said “good…nothing special” after wolfing it down.
The tacos were light, fresh, flavourful bites enveloped in a chewy tortilla of deliciousness. Both meats were tender and well marinated. The duck taco came with tart orange and surprisingly delicious cabbage slaw (for a girl that does NOT like cabbage). The accompanying wedge of lime added a delicious, fresh twang.
The Salt N Pepa squid was great. The squid was cooked perfectly – a light crispness on the outside, and perfectly cooked, non-stringy squid on the inside. The jalapeno mayo had a very decent kick, but not so much that it wasn’t enjoyable. The wedges of lime cut through the creamy sauce and everything was brought together beautifully.
I’m a fan of the Norfolk Hotel, not just for its crazy-named drinks. I like their fresh, no frills fare. I like the fact that their kitchen copes pretty well and produces pretty decent, cheapish food for what seems to be a pretty hectic affair. I think I have actually found myself a good, ol’ local.
The Norfolk Hotel
305 Cleveland Street
Redfern NSW 2010