The Old Fitzroy
To the undiscerning eye, the 1860s establishment seems relatively untouched. However, some significant, albeit subtle changes were made to bring new life to the heritage pub while striving to maintain its old charm – including the theatre hidden in its basement. Now, the place is primed for those seeking excellent pub food.
There’s schnitzel and steak, of course, but some standard pub dishes, such as the burger, have been reinterpreted (in this case as a retro rissole sandwich). Hill’s eight-year stint at The Ledbury in London’s Notting Hill shines through in the raw beef on dripping toast, as well as a heavy-hitting specials board that showcases an elaborate parade of delights. Think nuggets filled with chicken and tripe, pig’s-blood pate, a chicken pie with a protruding pair of chicken feet, and the remarkable “pigs head for two”.
One particularly humble special that attained semi-permanent status and gained ground in the instant-classics stakes: a deconstructed hot chip butty, featuring a mountain of thick chips, salted butter, two slices of white bread and a selection of optional extras including beef dripping, mushy peas and curried egg.
The wine list showcases an array of natural and family-owned labels. At the bar you can grab an $8.50 glass of sauv blanc, or a $100 bottle of orange skin contact wine if that’s more your speed.
The pub’s 22 beer taps (16 downstairs and eight upstairs) pour a diverse range of inebriants ranging from Carlton Draught to local favourites like Philter, Golden Bone and Young Henrys.
The cocktail list includes playful twists on classics, like the Irish French Martini that’s spiked with a hit of Jameson, and the Szechuan-pepper-laced Dark and Stormy. The Black Velvet, an original creation, featuring a mix of stout and sparkling wine is a strong contender for the venue’s signature cocktail.