Australian natives menu launches at Pumphouse Sydney Darling Harbour

A few years ago the Pumphouse in Darling Harbour got a fab do-over, it shook off its dark woods and laddish interior and said ‘Hello Sydney’ with a more approachable modern style and the changes are still coming with a new menu dedicated to showcasing not just Australian produce but our natives.

Sometimes its easy to overlook Sydney’s icons. But for those great ones, there is a reason they endure. The space is now more feminine with oversized charcoal lampshades illuminating the bar with its painted plant artwork on the inside by artist Lance Corlett. There is a handsome timber clad wine room doubling as a private dining space decked with shelves of wine curled around a central high table. Upstairs is our favourite. The Terrace has a breezy modern conservatory vibe with greens, creams and wicker chairs along with lots of hanging fernery. We are happy to be here again, though our fav balcony spot is closed due to arriving at lunchtime midweek. We take up our high seats in the covered outdoor section and watch the world go by.

The new autumn menu is broken into ‘Snacks, Signature Boards, Large & Smhouse Thunderbolt Strong larger in hand we are ready for the feast to commence!

I am a sucker for stracciatella. It arrives in all its oozy, gooey puddled glory topped with toasted pine nuts and a dusting of lemon myrtle. Two official looking squares of garlic and rosemary focaccia are the perfect vehicle to deliver this to our mouths (other than a spoon!). Slices of Hiramasa Kingfish garnished with finely cubed cucumber and finger lime pearls which pop with flavour, it doesn’t need the calypso mango, it’s great as it is. The crowd favourite is fried chicken. Meh? Well, this is SOME fried chicken. A medley of golden almost petal-like pieces splay out on a plate, all sticky from a glaze of honey, smoked soy and crispy garlic. The chicken has been soaked in buttermilk and is soft, crispy, sweet and salty all in one go, it’s fab. We opt for a wood fired flatbread topped with thinly shaved jamon serrano, baby rocket and shavings of Grana Padano. Perfect for sharing.

If you are into your Gin and Tonics you can have a lot of fun with a new menu focused on botanicals and natives. We liked the look of ‘The Outback’ with Beachtree Quokka Gin and Fever-Tree Blood Orange Soda and lemon myrtle, though the ‘Goanna’ could be worth ordering just to say that at the bar!

We have had more prawn pasta in our lifetime than Netflix binge sessions. So to say we are still dreaming of this baby, is high praise. It’s a labour of love due to a complex process of dehydration, confit and care which produces a chilli oil with so much complexity and depth of flavour. The pasta is made in house, whilst fresh prawns are hand deshelled – only curling softly from a touch of heat. A twist of the fork and the perfect combo land;, silky al dente pasta, rich umami chilli oil and the sweet flesh of the prawns. Oh my! This is my hero dish, just knocking the fried chicken off the top spot. Our other main is locally sourced fish of the day. It’s a fillet of swordfish accompanied with a burnt cauliflower puree which is tied together with a Sicilian salsa.

The team in the kitchen led by Executive Chef, Anthony Kirk have to be commended. This is restaurant quality dining. Many might dine here not really appreciating the attention to detail from sourcing, hours of work creating housemade ingredients and showcasing flavours that have lived on our red earth for thousands of years. So few chef’s choose to fully commit in this way.

Pumphouse may have had its origins hundreds of years ago powering our suburb with hydraulic electricity, but today it gives us a new found energy. Its team are sharing the best our land has to offer and it’s an honour to eat in the present but be reminded of our heritage and lands.

Pumphouse Sydney
17 Little Pier Street, Darling Harbour, Sydney
Hours; Mon-Sun 12pm-late

About the author

Karen’s corporate job back in the UK had included entertaining clients in some of the best restaurants. This ultimately sparked a curiosity 'Just how do they do that?' (she confesses she was brought up on meat and vegetables, so this was all very exciting). Currently a Mr & Mrs Smith 'Tastemaker', she’s flashpacked around the world, learning about wine, experiencing different cultures and cuisines and had a two- year love affair with it all. Originally from England, she finally settled in Australia and continues to be besotted by food, wine and travel preferring to focus on the luxury end of town (thread count does matter).


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