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Tuesday, May 03, 2005

The Porterhouse, Surry Hills

I've had lunch at The Porterhouse before but this time a group of ten foodies descended upon it, in search of homestyle Irish comfort food washed down with a pint of Guinness or two.

I always get good vibes about The Porterhouse. Inside it's spacious and airy, rustic without being musty, and devoid of any nosewrinkling ghosts of stale cigarettes or beer.

It's also one of the few Irish pubs I know actually frequested by Irishmen. Not just your motley crew of backpackers but Irish old-timers who sit there nursing a Guinness whilst they read the paper. There also seem to be a fair number of Irish barstaff and chefs about the place--although it does't feel like a cheesy deliberate marketing ploy.

We were seated in the atrium, a lovely converted space of what used to be a Greek church. The ceiling soars off into the distance and although I can imagine it would get quite echo-y with lots of people, we had the room to ourselves on a fairly quiet Thursday evening.

On what seemed to be a slow evening, I was pleasantly surprised to see our meals come out quickly and come out well.

Chef's duck live parfait with onion marmalade and toasted bread $9.00

Porterhouse famous Beef and Guinness Pie $16.50

Blue eyed cod fillet with saffron mash and vongole in tomato and garlic $21.50

Thai lamb salad in a wonton basket $14.00

Prime Porterhouse steak with potato and pumpkin gratin, horse radish creme and red wine jus $21.00

Confit of duck leg on garlic mash with red onion jam and red wine sauce $21.00

Braised lamb shank on onion mash with buttered beans and jus $20.50

A brief survey of everyone indicated that all were happy with their respective meals. There were some indications that the duck confit and the blue eyed cod fell a little short of expectations, but overall the grub was tasty and satisfying.

I had the braised lamb shanks which were... magnifique. Truly these babies were up there in the Hall of Fame. Moist, tender flesh fell off the bone with a gentle nudge of the fork, the onion mash was rich and creamy, and the jus was clean with perfect hints of red wine. I do enjoy my shanks and I couldn't fault these in any way. The only thing that was missing was a chopstick to get to the marrow and the beans were a little khaki and overdone.

I had a sampling of the Beef and Guinness pie but couldn't really taste much Guinness. The vongole were very tasty though and the presentation of the lamb salad in the deep fried wonton basket was funky and very effective.

Overall though the Porterhouse serves up fairly reliable upmarket pub grub at reasonable prices in ambient surrounds. The menu covers a broad spectrum of palates (from chips to vongole) without compromising the value or quality of either.

What to do when faced with such a gamut of delicious menu options? Stick by the adage "When in Rome...". And shank goodness I did.

The Porterhouse
Corner Campbell and Riley Streets, Surry Hills
Tel: 02 9211 4454

Open 11am to midnight 7 days

Related GrabYourFork posts:
The Porterhouse, Surry Hills Nov 04
9 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (AugustusGloop) on 5/03/2005 11:59:00 pm


  • At 5/04/2005 1:28 am, Blogger tara said…

    I should not have read this post before lunch. Where I am, today is a grey and gloomy day - the Porterhouse seems like it would be the perfect refuge. Lovely photos, lovely venue. I'm utterly jealous of those lamb shanks.

  • At 5/04/2005 9:06 am, Blogger Jess (fushmush) said…

    and they have bulmers cider on tap! mmmmmm, so refreshing.

  • At 5/04/2005 10:53 am, Blogger Veruca Salt said…

    I concur. Do NOT have a look at this site til there is food in the belly.

    Will now need to wipe drool off keyboard.

    Skanks alot!

  • At 5/04/2005 9:46 pm, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi Tara - Glad you enjoyed the post. Sad you seem to be suffering because of it! =P

    The lamb shanks were goood. I'd say they may well have been the best I've ever had (and that's saying something).

    Hi Jess - I forgot about the Bulmers. I was on Guinness and Tooheys Old all night. Next time...

    Hi Veruca Salt - Thnx for the kind words! Now I just need to work on smell-o-net.

    I was almost drooling looking at the shanks again myself...

  • At 5/05/2005 11:00 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Although i live close to the Porterhouse i never felt tempted to try because i figured it was just a place to fill up on Guinness and sports coverage. But thanks to this review of yours, i may pop in one day soon! Cheers, Augustus.

  • At 5/08/2005 5:23 pm, Blogger Ms One Boobie said…

    i read this like a few days ago.. and kept getting interrupted.. when i wanted to post a comment.. by of course you know who..!
    Anyhow.. the food looks delicious..!! and i love lamb shanks..ALOT..!!

  • At 5/10/2005 6:24 pm, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi CherryRipe - I hope I haven't built it up so much that it disappoints! I've been here twice and been happy both times with my selections.

    Hi MrsT - No problem. Thanks for taking the time to comment!

    I love lamb shanks too. Anytime they or osso bucco are on the menu I am instantly torn...

  • At 4/11/2006 10:39 pm, Blogger Benn said…

    This is right around the corner from me, and I'm currently deliberating over a location to have a team lunch at.

    This could just be the spot.

  • At 4/11/2006 11:37 pm, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi Benn - I haven't been back lately but the atrium is definitely a happy little spot for groups. Check it out and have a couple of ales on a reconn mission =)


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