The London Hotel is one of those neighbourhood standbys that most suburbs are lucky enough to have gracing a streetcorner or two. This old-school pub and steakhouse has a history going back over 140 years, and it’s still standing proud up on Darling Street, near Gladstone Park and Balmain Market, itself the third-oldest market in Sydney. Accompanied by a well-stocked bar, and with views from the upstairs, iron-filigreed balcony boasting views out over the Harbour Bridge, we’re as fond of the steakhouse restaurant that this handsome edifice houses as much as Balmain locals are.
The London Hotel’s steakhouse is perennially popular with Balmain locals looking to gather a good group for a celebratory lunch or dinner. Parties of twelve can enjoy a range of set menus to suit any budget, the most lavish beginning with gourmet entrees like Sydney rock oysters and seared Japanese scallops acting as warm ups to the main event. Signature main courses include the Asian-inspired duck breast salad Chinoise with lychees, watercress, snow peas, mango and pickled ginger, or an example of the real forte of The London Hotel steakhouse: dishes like the 400g pasture-fed Cape Grim ribeye on the bone or the 200g 500-day grain-fed Darling Downs Tajima Wagyu beef bavette, clocking in with a marble score of 8 or higher.
It’s food like this that characterises The London Hotel’s offering as a whole, highlights being the range of mouthwatering, 100% naturally-raised steaks on offer, but it’s certainly worth noting that the set menus and a la carte menu are both packed with lush dishes that are awe-inspiring in their gourmet provenance. We’re happy to be able to flag up what might be regarded as merely another unassuming Sydney pub up on Darling Street as a real hotspot for fine dining. For instance, making the most of Balmain’s land-and-sea connection, The London Hotel’s menu offers plenty of fresh seafood. Just two of our recommendations have to be the Italianate blue eye fillet puttanesca with baked aubergine, cauli mash, garlic aioli and herbed oil, and the smoke eel croquette with minted pea puree, pine nuts and black garlic oil, a simple starter for what could very well turn out to be an opulent feast.