Having been a native of Paddington in the prime of 2009, when the suburb was the place the be seen with a vibrant culture of ‘English-style’ pubs and ‘Sunday sessions’ at the local. It has been honestly quite confronting to see how Paddington has been affected in recent years as a result of the lock-out laws and Bondi Junction’s booming Westfield precinct just up the road.
To see Paddington experience somewhat of a resurgence and the return to favour has been fantastic to witness! People are retuning to the quaint suburb that links the CBD and Bond Beach to take advantage of the palatial surroundings, great community feel and fantastic culture and lifestyle of its residents.
It was with this in mind that I decided to create a round-up here on Sydney Social 101 of the ‘Best pubs of Paddo’ for you all to peruse. My team and I are beavering away, doing our due diligence and research and making sure we have all the insider knowledge you need to choose your public house of choice.
I wanted to start the series with a favourite of mine that has recently gone through a change in management, a refurbishment and a menu overhaul; The Bellevue, that quite honestly requires no introduction.
The Bellevue is launching new menus, new service style, new look and a new attitude across the hotel to refocus on being an accessible, relaxed and friendly neighbourhood pub, which we can’t argue with at all and think it’s a great focus and change of direction for the pub. As a venue that’s struggled with being too far away from the hustle of Oxford Street and Five Ways, whilst still capitalising on the local public house counterparts, The Royal, Four in Hand, Grand National, The London and The Lord Dudley.
My partner and I decided to go along with our 14 month old son on a sunny Sydney Sunday afternoon. Upon arriving we were immediately blown away by the decor and the roof top terrace, where we decided to have a pre dinner tipple. A sun trap, we were able to play with our son on the sun soaked terrace, relaxed in the knowledge that the pub is family-friendly.
As we descended to the refurbished restaurant area, it was immediately inviting, comfortable, yet grand and impressive in its design. The friendly staff are one of the reasons that The Bellevue is such an inviting place that you want to go back to time and time again. Nothing is too much trouble, and they certainly made my partner and I feel at home with our son.
When it came to choosing the food, we were absolutely spoiled for choice! The new bar menu has all of the pub classics you expect – chicken schnitzel (panko crumbed and served with slaw and fries, $20), Rangers Valley rump steak (with peppercorn or mushroom sauce and fries, $26), and bangers and mash (a changing selection of sausages with onion gravy and house smoked mash, $24) – and also features five delicious burgers for every appetite.
We decided to opt for the lamb shoulder, which is a sharing dish for two and is $75, we selected the seasonal steamed greens and smokey mash potato to accompany the star dish. I’m not just saying this, it was phenomenal! Partnered with a stunning merlot wine, the previously extensive wine list has also been reduced and refocused to showcase familiar and high quality Australian wines alongside interesting imported varietals, the vegetables were fresh and el dente and the smokey mash was the ideal accompaniment to the dish.
Whilst the service style is definetely more relaxed and friendly, you can still expect full table service in the restaurant and fantastic quality across the board. As Paddington is such a diverse community, you can pick up the intention to reinforce the traditions that the local pub has something for everyone. The team at The Bellevue are engaging with the local community by offering members discounts on food and drinks, sponsoring local sports teams, and donating to local school fundraisers and other community events.
Upstairs, the décor remains unchanged, offering a bright, casual Terrace Bar perfect for weekend drinks, gatherings, celebrations and events. The Bellevue also offers function spaces for 10-120 guests with facilities for private dining, cocktail parties, and meetings.
*Sydney Social 101’s editor Lisa was a guest of the Bellevue and was hosted for Sunday dinner with her family. All views expressed are her own.