It’s interesting the things we Sydney-siders get to enjoy again. Gyms, exploring the backyards of regional Australia, international travel and trying out those places you never went to because they were so touristy!
The last time this writer went to the Pumphouse, was over a decade ago. A time when tumbleweed, bin chickens and fast food dominated the southern end of Darling Harbour. Today ‘Darling Square’ is a hive of eateries, culture and the Pumphouse is the latest venue to imerge from COVID with a stunning new look, menu and vibe.
It’s Friday night and Pumphouse is, well, pumping! The band is in full swing and its filled with groups enjoying cocktails and of course the house speciality – beer. Mmmm, this is not how I remember things.
Inside the memories flow back, there is still the wrap around upstairs gallery, a new long timber bar with lots of taps! The look is more femine with oversize 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. Cosy sofa’s snuggle around a fireplace, which in a few months will be the most coveted spot. 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 start with their signature Thunderbot Pale Ale, its fiesty, with a touch of spice and a difficult pick from the range of local drops. We settle on a juicy La Boca Malbec from Mendoza. Cocktail lovers are looked after though mostly on the sweet side.
The fun in this menu is all about the shares and starters and our advice is to go ‘boarding’ – we opt for the seafood board. So happy!!! This is something you would expect in a restaurant, not a pub. Its bursting with jumbo charred prawns, a tumble of lightly fried salt n pepper squid on puddle of spiced mayo, a mound of diced ocean trout tartere is delicious smeared onto on a bubbled squid ink cracker and the addition of Sydney Rock oysters make this one of the best platters out there. The wood fired breads are popular and the Prosciutto di Parma is generous dusted with shavings of grana padano and piles of baby rocket.
Our mains slightly miss a beat with the Southern Ranges, MB 4+ beef rump cap being a little over done and needing a much bigger wedge (and a spicier kick) from the Café de Paris butter. The chicken breast with a rectangle of potato gratin may have been too long on the pass, but when we think back to memories of a perfect quinelle of silky duck liver parfait with chewy char bread that we had earlier all is forgiven.
Pumphouse may have is origins in powering our suburb with hydrolic electricty in its early days, but today it gives us a new found energy, just in a different way.
17 Little Pier Street, Darling Harbour, Sydney
Hours; Mon-Sun 12pm-late
Check Out – Family fun days every Sunday, face painting, childrens mocktails and more!