Walking along King Street back to work the other day, I noticed a shiny red tiled sign boldly exclaiming, “Le Pub“, and gesturing downward into the old site of St Patrick’s Tavern.
“Wow.” I thought. “This I have to check out.”
See, prior to St Pat’s being closed down, it’s heyday was long over. I last had a meal there in winter 2010 (?) – solely because the nearby Bavarian Bier Cafe had a long queue (and we were marvin) – and poor St Pat’s was sad and desolate. While certainly no high brow establishment at its peak, on busy nights this Irish pub was host to bands and filled to capacity with thirsty travellers. I remember watching some of the 2000 Olympics here and it was packed! (And then later on, not-so-packed for the Paralympics.) I would love to see what plans its new owner had envisioned for this once great pub.
I had a quick wander inside and could see the bar was still where it used to be but the interior had been vastly changed. It was now a “Parisian Metro-inspired” bar and restaurant, whose kitchen was helmed by the chef of North Sydney pub, the Union Hotel, also owned by the same group.
Now, Le Pub is adorned with dark wooden panelling, decorative tiling and moody lighting. It’s “Parisian” more in aspiration than in execution but that is not to say its done poorly – it’s above average as pubs go. Don’t come expecting anything like Merivale’s Felix however. Consider the establishment’s tongue-in-cheek name as a forewarning.
A few days after this initial recon, I was desperate to get some food after boozy work drinks. B was also keen to check it out.
B got the Lamb Ribs from the Bar Menu, flavoured with Ras El Hanout Rub and served with Remoulade, Sliced Radish and Coriander. He rated it well.
I had the Collet D’Agneau, a generous serving of Lamb Neck served with Quinoa & Herb Crumb, Cauliflower Puree, Shaved Cauliflower & Pea Salad. The quinoa and herb crumb really made this dish for me; it gave the tender lamb some good crunch.
We discussed the place’s merits: it ticked all the boxes except for one. The food was great, the beer selection was large (we didn’t have wine) and the price was right. The only downside was the ambiance. Le Pub appears to suffer from multiple personality disorder. On the one hand, its decor and restaurant implies a relaxed chilled out vibe, to grab a drink and chat over wine and cool music, perhaps grab a long lunch or late dinner. On the other hand, the excessively loud daggy music and multiple LCD screens unfortunately shouts “sports bar”, having to yell to have a conversation or shudder aghast at the classic hits more fitting to Retro at the Bristol Arms. It’s an audio-visual contradiction.
The word? I hope they do something about the music and the TVs. I really dig the menu here and I’ll definitely be bringing colleagues back. If you pay Le Pub a visit, prepare to be thoroughly confused.