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Sunday, April 30, 2006

Deco, Civic Hotel, Sydney

Civic Deco interior

Despite its recent classy refurb, with rich burgundy curtains, grand piano in the corner and art deco fittings, the Deco dining room at the Civic Hotel remains true to its Aussie pub roots: the unrelenting wobbly table.

"I'm really sorry", says our apologetic waitress, as she disappears out of sight underneath our table. We try to offer some direction as she carefully wedges a folded linen napkin into various positions. The enormous circular bases on each table don’t help her cause.

"It's these olden wooden floors", she says, standing up with a flushed face. "They're beautifully restored but because they're old they’re a little warped in places."

BBQ baby octopus
BBQ baby octopus $15.00
with radicchio, chorizo and chilli dressing

Our food, thankfully, is not similarly afflicted. An entree of barbecued baby octopus is ferried from the kitchen with frightening speed. It arrives modestly plated, nestled amongst a bed of salad greens and visibly charred strips of red capsicum and chunks of spicy chorizo. The octopus is delightfully tender.

lamb shanks
Red wine braised lamb shanks $25.00
with bacon and polenta

A loud gong within the depths of the kitchen sends the floor staff scurrying. Seconds later the lamb shanks arrive on our table, tantalising the air with wafting tendrils of aromatic steam. The shanks, hearty-looking and resplendent with meat, look magnificent. Crowned with jewels of crisp bacon and a confetti of herbs, they recline majestically against a dollop of polenta, buttery smooth in a creamy yellow.

The meat falls off the bone like good shanks should. The gravy is rich and warming with nuances of reduced red wine. However the polenta is a little too buttery for my liking, overwhelmingly luxurious after more than a mouthful.

Linguine pasta
Spinach linguine with crab and salmon roe $24.00

The spinach linguine is awash with crab morsels and plenty of plump pearls of salty salmon roe. Tossed generously throughout, I take great delight in popping each roe individually, allowing the briney goodness inside to explode spectacularly on my tongue.

As we meticulously clean the final morsels on our plates, we watch a couple being seated at a table nearby. Within a few minutes they call a waiter over to their table, and, like clockwork it seems, a folded napkin is summoned as he disappears beneath.

Civic Deco exterior

Deco at the Civic Hotel
Level 1, 388 Pitt Street, Sydney
cnr Pitt & Goulburn Street

Tel: +61 (02) 8080 7040

Lunch: Tuesday to Friday 12:00pm - 3:00pm
Dinner: Tuesday to Saturday 6:00pm till late
4 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Anonymous on 4/30/2006 02:47:00 pm


  • At 5/01/2006 7:25 am, Blogger Reb said…

    Those lamb shanks look the ticket! Thank the deity it's nearly winter and we can eat this stuff for a few months!

  • At 5/01/2006 2:44 pm, Blogger Julia said…

    That pasta looks wonderful, and it's coming into lamb shank weather so I'm definitely on the radar for them.

    The Paddo Inn does very good food indeed.

  • At 5/01/2006 4:12 pm, Blogger Veruca Salt said…

    Shanks look so yum but I think I have a polenta phobia

  • At 5/03/2006 11:26 am, Blogger Paul said…

    That squid looks so good, there was an interesting article in the Melbourne Epicure this week on Squid.


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