On May 25, 1860, the Municipality of Paddington met for the first time at The Paddington Inn. More than 150 years later, locals still meet at the historic building, albeit for a very different reason: to eat, drink and enjoy all that the suburb has to offer.
These days, hospitality group Solotel runs the iconic venue, having refurbished and re-opened the space in mid-2016. The Paddington Inn now includes a state- of-the-art kitchen, a stunning dining room and bar, and interiors designed by renowned Sydney architect, George Livissianis. The end result is a pub with a split identity – part bar and part casual dining room.
Justin Schott came on board as Head Chef, having arrived at the pass via Heinz Beck and The Lanesborough Hotel in London, as well as Rockpool and Kitchen by Mike in Sydney. At The Paddington Inn, Justin has created a progressive Australian menu that celebrates great seasonal produce, with simple and distinctive flavours taking centre stage. He leads a kitchen team that makes as much as possible in-house, creating the ingredients that help him modernise the classics.
When something can’t be made in-house, the kitchen team turns to only the finest suppliers. Goldband snapper , latchett, flathead and Hawkesbury squid all arrive fresh off the boat, while lamb is supplied from a farm in Cowra.
You can try Justin’s fare in either the dining room or the front bar. If you find yourself in the dining room, you’ll have a front-row seat to all the culinary action: the sun-lit kitchen is on full display, and is complemented by a feature wall of artwork by artist, Christiane Spangsberg.
Once you’ve taken a seat, expect a journey through tastes and textures. Start with the chargrilled Fremantle octopus with grilled fennel and nduja, before moving plates around to find space for the lamb rump, accompanied by artichokes, peas, confit garlic and purple basil.
Finish the meal with Mumma’s Tart – a chocolate, coffee and whisky tart served with Pepe Saya mascarpone – or source your sweetness from the drinks list.
If it’s a quick lunch or a before-the-game pit stop you’re after, the front bar is the place to be. Here, the focus is on refined pub meals, informed by the same culinary philosophy of the dining room. The beef burger goes from good to great with the combination of caramelised onion, mustard pickle, jack cheese and the compulsory serving of fries, while the smoked chicken jaffle is a play on the traditional toastie, featuring corn, cream cheese, spinach and nduja.
Drinks are equally considered. At The Paddington Inn, award-winning Solotel Sommelier, Matt Dunne, has recognised the growing trend for low-intervention wine, interspersing a number of these with left-of-centre styles from across the globe, including an additional three wines on tap.
Vermouth is also the belle of the ball in the public bar, with spritzers and ‘fancy drinks’ galore. Opt for the Bold – a combination of Victorian vermouth Maidenii sweet, with orange, cucumber and ginger beer, or try a Kombucha Collins – Absolut Elyx, pomegranate, mint, lemon, lavender and kombucha soda.
The Paddington Inn has been around for centuries. With its new look, feel and approach to hospitality, it’s sure to stick around for many more.