Standout dish: 3 Weeds' jamon salad is light and un-pubby. Photo: James Brickwood
I'm sure the Book of Good Parenting - if there was such a thing - would not recommend combining a business meeting with kids' dinner. But sometimes the juggle of the working mum gets overwhelming. Which is how I find myself at the 3 Weeds in Rozelle for a 5.45pm dinner meeting with three colleagues, with Archie and Lulu in tow.
I've come prepared (sort of) with a book for each of them, but I only realise as we walk in that I've left Mother's Little Helper, aka the iPad, on the kitchen bench at home. Oops.
We're in the Back Bar, the lofty space that is like a neighbourhood living room with comfy couches at one end and big timber refectory tables with bench seats at the other. Monday is $10 schnitzel night and locals love it, trickling in as empty-nester couples, a trio of girlfriends, or in family groups. The menu, under the talented Lauren Murdoch, who took over the 3 Weeds restaurant as well as the Back Bar in February, is a cut above regular pub grub, with small plates (available all day), pizzas and more substantial bar food, including some creative salads.
The lofty space is like a neighbourhood living room. Photo: James Brickwood
I set the kids up on the high table with stools in the middle of the room. They love the independence of having the whole table to themselves with mum seated elsewhere.
We're the first customers for the night as we order - chicken schnitzel for Archie, fish and chips for Lulu, Thai fishcakes and a jamon salad for me - and it's only a matter of a few minutes before the buzzer starts flashing.
But when we collect our plates there's a problem - no chips with the schnitzel as I had promised Archie, who's devastated. Murdoch mixes it up and this week's haloumi salad has bumped the chips off the dish.
The fish cake order hadn't gone through either so it's back to the bar for them and a side serving of chips. By now the kids are getting the hang of the buzzer set-up and happily deliver my fishcakes to me. Crisp outside, soft within and fragrant with lemongrass, kaffir lime, galangal and ginger, they are delicious, with a punchy house-made sweet chilli sauce. The schnitzel is crisp, juicy and great value for a tenner (and it's so big it really doesn't need chips). Lulu comes over to the meeting table to show off her "chip family" before biting off their tomato sauce heads.
The salad is the dish of the night: sweet but salty slivers of tender Serrano jamon with rocket leaves, chunks of watermelon and soft mozzarella. It's light and colourful and very un-pubby.
The kids have been good and I've got through the meeting unscathed so I acquiesce to dessert requests. Lulu is delighted with her enormous chocolate brownie while Archie opts for kid-friendly ice-cream with house-made butterscotch sauce.
Sugar before bedtime? I know. The Book of Good Parenting definitely wouldn't agree.
Do … come just for a drink and graze through the small plates.
Don't … expect boring pub grub.
Dish … jamon and watermelon salad.
Vibe … relaxed, friendly neighbourhood local.
- 02 9818 2788
- Cuisine - Modern Australian
- Prices - small plates $8-$14; mains $16-$20; sides $3-$10; dessert $12.
- Features - Bar, Family friendly
- Chef(s) - Lauren Murdoch
- Opening Hours - Mon-Sat noon-midnight; Sun noon-10pm
- Author - Sally Webb