With all the signature hallmarks of a Surry Hills gastropub, the newly revamped The Royal Botanical at Leichhardt is giving Inner Westies another reason to stay local.
The pub downstairs isn’t that exciting, but head upstairs for a garden party vibe that hipsters would approve of.
On the drinks front, expect more than your standard pub fare – we try the lusciously fragrant Hendrick’s Tea Cup ($15) made of Hendrick’s with its infused flavours of cucumber and rose combined with rose and apple tea, and The Royal Iced Tea ($17), a concoction of Gordons Gin, Cointreau, Ciroc Vodka, Tequila, Bacardi, lemon and lime.
This week’s specials menu includes a 180g eye fillet with crispy potato crocket, leek, baby carrots and asparagus; prawn and chorizo gnocchi; and a Bosc pear frisee salad with tossed hazelnuts, cherry tomatoes and Spanish onion. While the salad sounds enticing, I’m advised it’s a mains-sized serve so we opt for the side garden salad instead. At just $4.50, it’s a steal.
Let’s backtrack to the starters. Options start from $8 which will buy twice cooked fries with horseradish mayo or potato wedges with sweet chilli sauce and sour cream. Or there’s also 1kg of wings (smoky, sticky, devilled chicken wings with chilli, shallots and coriander and lemon) for $17.50. We end up with the South Australian salt and pepper squid ($14) served with a lime mayonnaise and fresh chopped coriander and chilli. The squid is soft and tender, and the batter is light and crispy.
As you know how much I love my prawns and chorizo, the gnocchi ($17.50) I’d mentioned earlier from the specials menu is irresistibly my choice for mains. They’re cooked with garlic, chilli, lemon juice, zucchini and grated parmesan. I love the sweet potato chips crowning the mountainous plate of gnocchi. The gnocchi itself is soft with a great bite, and the prawns are perfectly cooked. Slightly more sauce would’ve better combined the elements, although it’s still a winning comfort dish.
Zen on the other hand has the 300g char grilled Black Angus sirloin ($24) with mashed potato, green beans and dark beer gravy. Like what one of our followers said on Instagram, this is why #TGIF was invented. How deserving is it to just sit down and tuck into this at the end of a long week? Sometimes it’s hard to beat a good steak!
Furthering the indulgence, we share the housemade cinnamon doughnuts ($10), served with chocolate sauce. The sauce is confusingly too runny to dip or pour, and the doughnuts are more dense than what I would’ve liked.
So the menu seems a bit of a hit and miss, but it definitely has something for everyone. Had I not recently moved from the Leichhardt/Rozelle area, the Royal Botanical would’ve been a favourite local haunt, especially since getting a table is almost guaranteed. I mean, who has time to queue for a seat these days?
The Royal Botanical
156 Norton Street Leichhardt, NSW
Phone: (02) 9569 2638
I Ate My Way Through dined as guests of The Royal Botanical