What is it like to be reunited with an old flame? It’s likely they are an improved version; lost weight, new haircut, gone to the gym, toned muscles and gained an improved sense of style. That’s what has happened to the much loved Australian Youth Hotel. After months of being closed it has reopened with a new name and more. We are swooning. Yup, its knee wobblingly gorgeous.
Enter the main saloon bar and you are walking back in time as historic photos on the wall tell their story whilst chesterfield sofas and open fireplaces create a cosy atmosphere. Walk out towards ‘The Stables Bar & Grill’ and this where designers Alexander & Co (Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel, The Morrison Bar & Oyster Room, The Imperial Hotel) really shine. At night the far back bar emits a honey warm glow, a dusky pink spiral staircase leads to a romantic ‘Loft’ lit with candles and a door leads down onto the much loved beer garden.
The centennial fig tree presides over it like a caring grandpa, sparkling with fairy lights as red and white umbrellas create playful environment. A new open kitchen, (like a good party) is where all the fun happens and a beautiful jacaranda mural by Sydney artist Indigo Jo brings nature inside. Its retained everything we love, but made it all, just a bit more, adorable.
British Chef, Ben Allcock’s sophisticated menu tips us over the edge. Starters of delicate chicken patties topped with scallops on a bed of cauliflower cream and roasted split hazelnuts are all the right shades of seared. Calamari is a perfect marriage of delicate soft flesh, crispy coating and spices. Hunks of angular sliced baguette is dripping with garlicky butter and shavings of parmesan.
You could opt for more pub-fair ‘counter meals’ but why would you when the dish of the night is more ‘doona’ than ‘pillow’ sized gnocchi on a bed of butternut pumpkin dotted with fluffy cotton balls of coats curd. Could we have a nose bag of this please? (we are dining in the historic horse stables after all). Lamb rump with twice cooked lamb belly and crispy skin Atlantic salmon are more creative versions with Ben’s flair using bulgar wheat and tarragon infused leeks as pairings. Some staples can’t be beaten; here they are the best versions of their kind – fat chips, onion rings, roast cauliflower. Add a White Rabbit dark ale, a creamy Scarborough chardonnay into the mix and we are happy horses.
This 1862 pub was a place for wharfies and workers, today they are offering a different kind of ‘feed’ with a creative chef at the helm. The Glebe Hotel already had a mighty fine bone structure, but whoah! with its new look, we are falling, falling madly in love all over again.
63 Bay Street, Glebe, Sydney
Hours: Monday – Friday: 11am to Midnight, Saturday: 12pm to Midnight, Sunday: 12pm to 10pm