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Monday, November 03, 2008

Sanctuary Hotel, Sydney

There's nothing like a good steak sandwich.

The Sanctuary, sister establisment to the St James Hotel and on the site formerley occupied by Don Quixote, is one of our new lunchtime favourites. Decor and furnishings are strikingly similar to St James, in a style described on the Sanctuary website as "cosmopolitan chic". Pressed metal finishes, quirky lamp chandeliers and a colour scheme of creams and browns dominate. Here too gold gilt frames surround the plasma screens, an attempt to romanticise the non-stop stream of cricket and football, perhaps.

Split down the middle into casual seating and dedicated diners, the left side is a mix of high bar stools at bench tables, square ottomans and several fancy-looking Edwardian chairs. On the right is a collection of dark brown tables and chairs. A dedicated "food orders only" queue is enacted at at the bar during busy periods (weekday lunchtimes, especially Fridays) keeping drinkers happy and well-watered.

The usual buzzer-system applies here in a system that seems to work with admirable efficiency. More often than not, by the time we've ordered, then collected and distibuted cutlery, napkins, sauces and mustards from the self-serve area to our table, our buzzer is vibrating noisily on the table, indicating our meals are ready to be picked up from the kitchen.

It's great to have a dedicated staff member who stands on the dining side of the kitchen, checking dockets and distributing meals, rather than relying on the stressed and hectic chefs on the other side.

I've eaten here three times now and have tried something different every time. Together our group are still only a third of the way through the menu...

Double decker bbq steak sandwich $13
New York-style with chips

I have no doubt the double decker bbq steak sandwich is one the best value items on the menu. Three slices of toasted bread surround two steaks and salad, accompanied by a mountain of golden chips. Skewered with a giant toothpick, the hardest thing is working out how to fit the entire skyscraper into your mouth. The steaks are tender (although best steak sandwich still goes to the Three Weeds at Rozelle).

Lightly battered calamari with namjin sauce $10

Various friends have sampled the calamari rings (extra crunchy although they look pre-battered to me), warm Cajun salad, linguine with prawns, and mushroom risotto.

Warm Cajun salad with tzatziki $13.00

Linguini with grilled prawns, chilli, rocket and lemon $15

Mushroom risotto $12

The Aussie burger $12
with tomato, beetroot, grilled onion, smoky bbq sauce and chips

The cricketer has an obsession with the Aussie burger, a generously thick patty of beef that comes with caramelised onions, salad and a triumphant slice of beetroot.

250gm certified Angus rump with creamy mash $11

We've covered all three steaks available and can vouch that the doneness of meat is reliably spot-on. Medium rare provides a a welcoming display of pink, and rare is bloody good as well.

350gm grainfed T-bone with chips $15

I prefer my steak on the bone and it's hard to choose between the 350g grainfed T-bone and the 300g rib fillet. The rib fillet comes with thick slabs of buttery field mushroom, although the T-bone has more bones to nibble on. Hard to choose when there's so much at steak, I mean stake. Mmm...

300g Grainfed rib fillet $19
on the bone with field mushrooms and red wine jus

The Sanctuary
545 Kent Street, Sydney
(corner of Kent and Liverpool)
Tel: +61 (02) 9262 9144

All-day dining everyday 12pm - 10pm
Supper club menu Thursday to Saturday 10pm - 2.30am

Sanctuary Hotel menu

Related GrabYourFork posts:
The Sanctuary Hotel, Jan 09

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12 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 11/03/2008 08:31:00 am


  • At 11/03/2008 3:08 pm, Blogger Miss Honey said…

    Ooo this looks interesting! Thank you! And just when I thought I'd exhausted this part of the city..

    The decor looks inviting looks lovely too:)

  • At 11/03/2008 3:55 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    oh my, what a delicious pics!
    It makes me hungry now..
    Calamari rings?! Nicee..
    One of my favorites. :)

  • At 11/03/2008 4:33 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ooohh I have seen this place many times but haven't had the chance to try... but the steaks looks quite good and reasonably priced. Hmmm maybe tonight haha

  • At 11/03/2008 7:29 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I've walked past but never thought about going in - that steak sandwich has just changed my mind :)

  • At 11/03/2008 8:12 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I love the flags telling you how your steak is done - how cute!

  • At 11/03/2008 8:47 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Looks soooo delicious in deed

  • At 11/03/2008 11:13 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I always walk past this place on the way to work, looks like I have to give it a go.

    For what looks like a decent quality lunch, the prices are pretty good too for this end of the City. The steak sandwhich looks epic!

  • At 11/04/2008 7:03 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I was driving by this place a couple weeks back and thought, OMG Don Quixote has been replaced by a hotel (the sleeping kind)

    Nice to know they do food. All the carnivorous things look so yummy and good value to.

    What is the etiquette when comsuming a double decker sambo? Are you allowed to deconstruct or must it be consume whole?

  • At 11/04/2008 4:12 pm, Blogger ebbye said…

    Great post and pics of the steaks. The food looks delicious and so does the place.

  • At 11/05/2008 12:10 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    i've been there twice for lunch on saturdays...
    decent food! had angus rump once & pasta of the day the other time... loved the creamy mash!
    love the deco too!

  • At 11/06/2008 10:45 am, Blogger Annie said…

    Now that looks like a great steak sandwich! Too many places serve the steak overdone or just a horrible cut, so I don't often order one, but this looks lovely.

  • At 11/07/2008 12:29 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Miss Honey - There's a lot of construction going on the city at the moment - not sure how long it will last though! The decor is quite sophisticated - we certainly enjoyed sitting on the antique chairs and feeling quite regal :)

    Hi lild - It's been a collection of tasty lunches. The calamari tubes were extra crunchy.

    Hi FFichiban - The steaks are pretty good value, but I'd certainly recommend you try the steak sandwich too!

    Hi aptronym - lol. Enjoy. You will have fun trying to finish it!

    Hi Arwen - The flags are quite common in a lot of pubs. It is a good distinguisher especially for those with bad memories!

    Hi roentarre - It was. In fact I could do with a steak sandwich right about now :)

    Hi Howard - I think I am going to struggle choosing something other than the steak sandwich now :) It's all too tempting!

    Hi Veruca Salt - Yep they really have gutted the whole place out. We've been marvelling at how big the place seems now - the DQ kitchen must've been huge.

    I never decontruct my sambo - you just gotta give it a good squeeze and shove it in! :)

    Hi ebbye - Thanks and glad you enjoyed the pics. It's a bit of a sanctuary for us. A steak sandwich can make you feel very much at peace with the world!

    Hi J - The mash is quite good. Great to hear you've had good experiences too. Now we just need more pubs with dessert menus :)

    Hi Annie - I agree. I've had a lot of steak sandwiches that taste more like leather! The steak here is quite tender and without that annoying gristle.


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