Located in Waverly in the Charing Cross Hotel; a refurbished pub that’s now a combination of Pub and dining hall in a large space divided into two by their island bar. The fitout is modern gastro pub with an appealing hampton-esque cane furniture aesthetics. Ex Balzac chef Matt Kemp helms the kitchen here and the food is a blend of modern/fine dining and elevated pub/gastropub. The “Hotel” part to the venue is still there, with 8 rooms available upstairs.
Inside, the dining hall side is an appealing modern space with a long padded back to the one side.
The island bar has 20 beers on tap. Surprisingly Young Henry‘s Winged Victory Anzac Day beer with its cinnamony notes makes an appearance.
The island bar breaks up the Charing Cross’ dining side and the main pub area.
With an extensive wine and beer list, the charing cross will please. Of the courses we tried, Amaretto Sour (Also showing up on their dessert menu is Liquid Dessert), Blood Orange Magarita and Manhanttan were all well balanced and tasty.
Staters: Crispy Pigs Head and our Piccalilli $14 and a Roast Scallops with Baby Spinach and Tarragon Puree, Braised Squid and Brown Butter $22. The Croquette’s in the Pigs Head dish is choice eat but you’d wonder what crispy pig’s head is reading that menu. Crispy Tasty 12 hour Pigs Head is used to make the croquettes – they’re crispy with a perfect golden crust and pairs well with the piccalilli. Delicious Roast Scallops sit with the Braised Squid and its a nice seafood main that came with that beautiful florish of the puree. King Fish Ceviche with Pomegranate and Bloody Mary Dressing $18 is seafood “tacos” served up san choi bow style. Crispy Tangy and poppy flavours from the dressing. Quite generous.
The Hawkesbury Organic Salad $24 figs, Salt baked beets, Rivergum Blossom honey and goats milk curd is a delicious tasting main sized salad if you opt to eat it by itself. Of particular note; is the excellent salt baked beets – they’re tangy; pickled tasting almost and works well in a dish that seemingly greek with that flat bread with rosemary. That saying “you can’t make friends with Salad” goes out the window with this.
A trio of mains: Swordfish, Grilled Eggplant, Chickpeas, Mint & Za’atar with Spiced Yogurt $28; Braised Lamb Neck, Ras El Hanout, Sicilian Cracked Wheat (Freekeh), Charred Lemon $29 and a Borrowdale Farm Pork Belly and Pastrami with Whitlof, Pear and Radishes. $32 all arrived beautifully presented and plentiful on the plate. Most mains on the menu sit under $30. That pork belly dish is sort of pork-2ways with the pastrami and pork belly and a very satisfying dish with crispy pork belly and a nice mound of the crisp texture and slight bitter edge from the whitlof. Braised Lamb Neck goes middle eastern and the use of the freekeh which some might mistake for couscous was nice. Our favourite main of the evening; packed full of gamey lamb and complex spice flavours.
Hot snickers pudding with peanut butter fudge icecream and caramel sauce $15 was a hit. Gooey warm pudding served up with a generous serve of toasted peanuts and that rich salty caramel is bound to please as the temperature cools. Their bread and butter pudding here is called Matt’s Bread and Butter Pudding $16 and is a knockout of a classic with Bread was rather charred on the grill giving what is an fairly standard dessert a real edge with that slightly bitter char and an endlessly edible quality as we kept going back to this despite being rather full. It’s a winner.
Charing Cross also offers a $55/head Charo Dining Feast with options for matching Wines or Beers ($30 – Five 100ml glasses or Five Middies) It’s a fantastic value menu that will take diners through their eats – quite impressed with what’s on offer so if you pop in, read that Feast menu. It’s great value and a highly recomended way to dine way to dine here. From Start to finish, this was a a delight. The Charing Cross also as noted is a modern pub to the right and there’s plenty reason here to visit.
The Charing Cross Hotel
81 Carrington Rd Waverley, NSW