Vanessa: This Anzac Day weekend was spent overindulging at various eateries including Papi Chulo in Manly and Chiswick in Woollahra. So to continue the gluttonous trend of the weekend, my fiancé and two of our dear friends headed to The Riverview Hotel in Balmain on a mission to try their Sunday roast.
The dreary weather made our experience at this cosy establishment even better as it brought back feelings of nostalgia from times spent in the UK. One of my favourite things to do when I lived in London on a Sunday was to head to the local pub with friends and enjoy a hearty roast, so this outing made me feel as though I was reliving the dream!
On this occasion we had opted to reserve a table upstairs in the dining room, a fabulous decision as we were given a tucked away table by the window where we could really settle in. The dining room was charming, intimate and the ambience was relaxed and subdued…again perfect for a long, lazy Sunday lunch.
Since the four of us knew there was no swaying from the roast (basically a pact made so as not to induce food envy at the table) there was little need to view the main menu selection. Instead we kindly asked our waiter for a non-traditional browse through the dessert menu before making any other choices. I must say, as weird as it sounds to ask for the dessert menu before ordering any food or drinks, it is in fact a very wise way to plan out your entire meal. The waiter was not even phased by this request which makes me think this is not ground breaking!
So with dessert decisions made (ill talk about that later so to keep this review in order at least!) we moved on to starters. We shared the parsley, black olive, chilli and caper pizza bread which was light and crispy with a bit of a kick from the chilli. We were very pleased to have chosen the one starter between us as it was enough to kill the pangs but still left us ready and waiting for the roast.
When our waiter motioned towards our table, carrying plates with Yorkshire puddings so large I could see them before they reached us, I knew we had all made the right decision.
Before us were placed four plates filled with a substantial serve of scotch fillet, all the traditional trimmings and one large Yorkshire pudding. Now to deconstruct the elements for you, let me say firstly I found the beef to be perfectly cooked to my liking. However, one thing we noticed, it was luck of the draw when it came to how the piece of beef we were given was cooked. This isn’t a fault, as understandably it is carved from a large roast, just something to be mindful of if you are particularly choosey when it comes to how your meat is cooked.
The trimmings consisted of the traditional serves of potato, pumpkin, carrots, peas and red sautéed cabbage. The vegetables along with the beef sat atop a smear of mushroom puree which added an interesting flavor to the dish.
Now to the Yorkshire pudding..the piece de resistance in my book. Apart from the fact that it was one of the largest yorkies I’ve had in Sydney the texture was perfect..light, fluffy with a crunch on the outside. There was however one controversial element on the plate which was the smothering of the Yorkshire pudding in horseradish cream. Traditionally a Yorkshire pudding is filled with gravy so this was a talking point at the table and later on across various social networks (believe it or not!).
Our plates were cleared in a timely manner and the waiter promptly returned with the dessert menu of which we knew what was on the cards. In an attempt to be somewhat sensible we decided to share two desserts and a cheeseboard between us. Again, we made the right decision as we were able to sample some great offerings on the menu.
We chose the pineapple & passionfruit cheesecake with coconut sorbet and ginger crumble along with the ‘Banoffee’ consisting of a banana pudding, espresso ice cream, caramel and chantilly. The cheesecake’s elements were light, fruity and fresh, perfect really to cleanse the palate. The ‘Banoffee’ was very nicely deconstructed and had great flavor but resembled more of a banana bread than a traditional banoffee pie.
Now, on to the cheeseboard. I thought this was fantastic value considering, for $25 dollars, we were able to sample four different cheeses ( 2 French, 1 English, 1 American). One massive shout out must be made for the fact that there was ample amount of accompanying crisp bread – something that doesn’t often occur with a cheese board. Not only did we not have to ask for a refill, if anything there was too much. This earns huge points in my book!
We settled up and slowly made our way back down through the bustling pub filled with patrons making the most of the dwindling hours of the weekend. What a wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon with great company and dining on delicious food. Thank you Riverview Hotel..we shall return!
– Vanessa Iacomino