When news that Morgan McGlone (famed for Belle’s Hot Chicken and what is said to be some of the best fried chicken in the country) had moved into residence at the Harpoon Harry kitchen in Surry Hills arose, we sure knew to expect good mix of delicious food and cool vibes.The newly renovated pub Hotel Harry sits on the edge of Surry Hills and the city. It features an eclectic mix of South American inspired interiors with bright colours, print paintings and small trinkets. The vintage booths around the dining room provide a comfortable setting for what was to be a delicious but relaxed fine dining meal.The wine list is extensive and a short but sweet cocktail list is suffice. The Shake cocktail ($14) is an exceedingly creamy concoction of Melbourne Moonshine & Fior di Latte Ice Cream. Designed as an after dinner treat, the taste of alcohol is distant, drowned out by the rich milky gelato. Meanwhile the Blueberry ($14) sits elegantly in a stem glass with a bright blue liquid of Beefeather gin, blueberry & lemon jam.The menu boasts a range of dishes with Southern twists inspired from McGlone’s time abroad drawing on a collection of influences from the American South, North Carolina and Nashville. The menu is divided into entrée, main and sides with dishes such as the Cornmeal Crusted Ling, Tomato Gravy, Braised Greens, Pot Likke ($34) and St Louis Pork Ribs, Harrys BBQ Sauce, Crisp Pigs Skins ($24).
We try the latter as one of our entrees and it has us transported to the heat filled kitchens of Tennessee. For an entrée, the dish provides a huge portion of three big juicy ribs are coated in a finger licking sticky sauce. The ribs are full of meat and aren’t messy or difficult to eat as ribs often can be. They possess a huge porky flavor that is full of smoky tones and paired perfectly with the encasing of the housemade BBQ sauce. For those crackling lovers, huge ribbons of fried pigs skin crowned the dish beautifully.
The Beef Tartare, Smoked Oyster, Parsley, Benne Cracker ($22) does the French classic absolute justice, with McGlone’s own unique take shining through. The elegantly presented dish is just like its description, a serving of beef topped with an egg yolk just begging to be burst. The sesame benne crackers are a mix of cracker and shortbread, crumbling perfectly when bitten. Whilst the smoked oyster component consisted of a moorish, smooth creamy sauce sitting alongside the beef dreamily.For mains, the Steak for Two, Sides & Sauce ($85) seemed like the ideal choice to share. Today’s steak was a 500g grain fed sirloin on the bone, which was sliced and served alongside Crinkle Cut fries, Mac & Cheese and Iceberg Wedge, Radish & Buttermilk dressing. The steak was cooked medium rare and full of flavor complemented by Dijon Mustard, Seeded Mustard and a fresh green Chimichurri sauce. We especially loved the buttermilk dressing on the crunchy iceberg lettuce, and the crinkle cut fries which we may have requested a serve of the Smokey Oyster sauce for dipping purposes!We were advised not to go past the famed Shrimp & Grits ($33), which tonight was served with pork sausage and red peppers in prawn bisque all sitting on a bed of creamy corn polenta. The prawns were tasty, however the overall dish seemed to be lacking something, perhaps additional seasoning or spice would have benefitted.We had deliberately ordered our savoury dishes sparingly, insistent on saving room for the three desserts on the menu. The Fried Apple Pie, Cinnamon Ice Cream ($12) is a star dish featuring across both the Dining Room and Bar menu’s. A decently sized golden pocket of deep-fried goodness encasing cubes of caramelized apple goodness and the most delicious cinnamon ice cream. It is the glorified epitome of McDonald’s Apple Pies if there ever was to be one.The Banana Cream Pie ($12) was a cute little pot of what we deciphered to be a variation of Banoffee Pie. Banana, crumbled biscuit pieces, caramel dulce de leche sauce and a rich vanilla cream were layered together to create a delicious union that had us all crowded over the pot and fighting for the last mouthful.The Vanilla Pound Cake & Chocolate Cremeux ($12) was unusual. A vanilla cake sat in a bed of pink rhubarb syrup that sadly seemed to be somewhat bland. The salted chocolate mousse was reminiscent of Jaffa’s, with an orange twist in the fusion. With its rich smooth texture- and salty finish, it was perfectly executed. A dish of just that itself would have been sufficient! With a year long residence, it will be exciting to see what else McGlone has in store for Hotel Harry’s Dining Room and the more casual pub eatery downstairs. Special events and collaborations such as the South Carolina chef Rodney Scott Takeover featuring legendary BBQ master chef creating custom meat plates and other Belle’s Pop-ups are sure to be the first of many!
Harpoon Harry Presents BBQ Pitmaster Rodney Scott
Sunday May 15th (3pm until sold out)
Monday May 16th (6pm until sold out)
Harpoon Harry Dining Room
40-44 Wentworth Avenue, Surry Hills, Sydney NSW
Phone: (02) 8262 8800
Open: Wednesday to Saturday 5pm to late
Photography by Justin Isip
I Ate My Way Through dined as guests of Hotel Harry