The Lansdowne Hotel, Phoenix Diner – Chippendale.
Posted on November 14, 2013 by WX
Earlier this week, DL and I were invited to try out the newly refurbished, American style diner, The Phoenix, at the iconic Lansdowne Hotel. The hotel was burnt down in January this year from a fire which tore through the third floor, badly damaging the restaurant and bar beneath. After a much needed make-over, the aptly named Phoenix Diner was re-launched, along with the rest of the hotel on October 18. Located in Chippendale, right across the road from Sydney University, the Lansdowne had been a well established hangout for many university students, backpackers and locals alike.
The new 80s New York loft style diner sits on level two, away from the rowdy crowds filling pub below. Lime green walls give the otherwise antiquated establishment a fresh breath of youth and vibrancy. Despite this, every corner you could still catch glimpses of its old-time feel which strangely took me back to my days in London.
We sat in a well-lit corner of the diner, which provided plenty of opportunities to simply soak up the atmosphere and observe. It was a pleasant little place to enjoy the sunset with a glass of gin and tonic whilst reminiscing about the good ol’ uni days. Around us, several tables were filled with a range of students, some bustling with liveliness whilst others quietly exchanged confidences.
With the renovation comes a new cocktail bar which comes with a groovy selection of cocktails. The trick, however, is to order off the menu and ask their freshly minted mixologist to surprise you.
Our bartender for the evening, Arthur!
DL still remembers the time when lunch at the Lansdowne meant $5 steaks or fish and chips. With the Phoenix, you can sense its inspiration and renewed vision for the future amidst all the craze with American fare. One quick glance and you instantly feel the need to start your sentences with “y’all”. There is a good selection of nibblies available for $5 or less, such as Pork Crackling, Pretzels and Biltong Jerky, if you wish to simply graze away with a beer. Those opting for more substantial meals have a selection of “American Burgers, Flame Grill and Salads” or “Brooklyn Pizzas”, where all but one item sit below $16. For those hungry bargain hunters out there, for a limited time only, the Phoenix is also offering $9 lunches on everything on the menu (bar the Dry Aged Scotch Fillet), with unlimited soft drink refills.
Bucket O’Buffalo Wings – $12
Our order of Bucket O’Buffalo Wings arrived first, resembling a little like Colonel Sander’s creation without the Colonel-sized bucket. The chicken was moist inside, coated in an exquisitely seasoned, crispy batter that is not greasy. The order comes with a choice of three different sauces: blue cheese, BBQ or “F’n hot chilli sauce”. We stuck to the tried and true path of blue cheese and our efforts (or lack thereof) were generously rewarded.
Ever in search of the best fried chicken in Sydney following the demise of our beloved Chikyu-ya in Bondi, DL and I once again broke out into an argument over whether we had a winner. I was bought, on the caveat that comparing buffalo wings to karaage chicken was like comparing apples and oranges. DL was still undecided, although he did almost demolish the entire portion. “I wish I was back at uni every day,” he said.
Mac’d Out Cheese Bites – $9
The Mac’d Out Cheese Bites were a surprise entry to our order. Elegantly presented, these bite-sized triangles looked like pieces of fried tofu that you get at Chinese restaurants. I might add that, at $9 a plate, these were generous portions as the macaroni and cheese was incredibly filling and utterly satisfying – especially if you enjoy your hit of nutmeg.
“Sticky Fingers” – 12 hour slow cooked pulled pork, pear, blue cheese, walnut & mustard cress – $16
Our Pulled Pork “Sticky Fingers” pizza came out a little more albino than we would have liked, although the combination of toppings was just simply sensational. Delicious morsels of tender pulled pork laid nonchalantly over the top of thinly sliced pieces of pear which added a good touch of sweetness against the salty blue cheese. Walnuts were an incredible addition as it provided a good crunch and earthy balance.
Ruby Ribs – Smoked lamb ribs, braised in Texas smoke sauce and chips – $15
Finally, came the all-star Ruby Ribs. I will put a disclaimer here that what I am about to say is sacrilege to those who enjoy tearing into their chewy ribs like a Neanderthal. I prefer mine extremely tender, and boy were these ones good. DL attempted to cut away a piece to pick up with his fingers, only to discover that he simply deboned the ribs with a fork.
We tore away at the flesh, sloshing it with plenty of sweet Texan BBQ sauce, before quickly whipping it into our mouths before it slapped back onto the plate. These were good, so finger-lickin’ good.
Arthur’s “Surprise Me” Creations, I dub them (1) Cosmopolitan l’Orange, (2) The Lara Antipova, (3) The QF Volcano (actually I just forgot the exact name of the shot – you’ll just have to go and ask him yourself.)
People say that every cloud has a silver lining. I believe that this is truly the case for the Lansdowne and the Phoenix Diner. I wish it well for the relaunch, because there is definitely something incredible going on in the kitchen. For good food, good hospitality at a great price, the Phoenix Diner is definitely worth the visit.
Disclaimer: This was a sponsored post hosted by the Lansdowne Hotel. All opinions, observations and recommendations are strictly our own.The Phoenix Diner, Lansdowne Hotel
2-6 City Road
Chippendale NSW 2008
Tel: (02) 8218 2333 url: http://www.thelansdownehotel.com.au/
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