The Dolphin Hotel

412 Crown Street Surry Hills, New South Wales 2010

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02 9331 4800
Opening hours Mon–Sat noon–10pm; Sun noon–9pm
Features Wheelchair access
Prices Expensive (mains over $40)
Payments eftpos, AMEX, Diner's Club, Mastercard, Visa

Whatever 'smart casual' might mean, it sure describes this open-plan bistro. The decor's smart in that modern beige, charcoal way and the operation is casual. The menu is flexible and generous, with appealing grazing plates, salads, pastas and meaty mains, and there are more hits than misses. Chicken liver parfait is silky smooth but almost innocent of salt, while the crisp squid with sesame and soy is a hit. Spicy braised beef cheeks work on every level and a mesclun salad with goat's cheese, roasted root vegies and pinenuts is a good medium-weight option.