The Lansdowne Hotel review

Pepperoni pizza, Detroit-style.
Pepperoni pizza, Detroit-style. Photo: James Brickwood

2-6 City Rd Chippendale, NSW 2008

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Opening hours Mon-Sat noon-3am; Sun noon-midnight
Features Pub dining, Bar, Cheap Eats, Outdoor seating, Licensed
Prices Cheap (mains under $20)
Payments AMEX, Cash

The gig venue that once lit up City Road lives again, and this time there's pizza pie.

Did you ever think there'd be a time you could order a mi goreng for lunch at this Chippendale icon and not die? Or see You Am I play the band room again? Or take a spin on a stripper pole, simultaneously drinking a craft beer while waiting for a Detroit-style pepperoni pizza? All this is now not just a distinct possibility, but a series of true facts at the new and not-so-shiny Lansdowne Hotel.

Yep, the pokies have been gutted and replaced with a beer-drinking pocket. Given the well-worn nature of the place as it stands (at 84 years old, it's seen a lot from the highs of the Go Betweens to the lows of my scuzzy mates on open mic night), it's nice to see owners Jake Smyth and Kenny Graham (the pair are also behind Mary's and the Unicorn) have only gently applied the power hose to the place.

Lansdowne owners Jake Smyth (left) and Kenny Graham have given the pub a gentle makeover.
Lansdowne owners Jake Smyth (left) and Kenny Graham have given the pub a gentle makeover. 

Upstairs, you'll find the band room (over the past few weeks the Preatures have popped up here, and You Am I will have just played as this goes to press) supported by a little bar and a very large outdoor lounging area.

Downstairs, the larger service bar is also the gateway to the kitchen. Maybe there's something to be said about the fact Mary's Patron Saint of Burgers is Marco Pierre White (check the framed photo above the bar from the famous chef's White Heat days) and at the Lansdowne it's a picture of Guy "Mayor of Flavourtown" Fieri. But maybe not. Either way, it's a good opportunity to yell "now that's a slamma jamma!" a lot more.

This is also where you'll get a deep-dish pizza (will it be a straight up pepperoni made by LP's Quality Meats, or a Mary's pizza, covered in meatballs made from little bits of rolled up Mary's burgers?). The crew have also brought back the proper $10 counter meal. These change about as regularly as the band lineup, but today it's an ode to the generations of uni students who have drunk here with their spin on mi goreng.

Steak frites with cafe de Paris butter.
Steak frites with cafe de Paris butter. Photo: James Brickwood

Given these are $10 specials, you'll want to manage your expectations a little. And by that, I mean expect a lot of chips. In the case of the steak frites, this actually works in your favour – the rosy slices of flank steak bathed in rich and salty cafe de Paris butter needs the foil of half a plate of French fries. In the case of the (slightly under-seasoned but otherwise delicious) lasagne? Maybe not so much. Still, it's probably the greatest bang for minimal buck in town right now, and you can always order a chopped salad on the side for a bit of greenery.           

The real winner here, though, is the fish finger sandwich off the regular menu. Here, a soft bun is covered in tartare sauce, layered with crunchy, deeply golden fish fingers and a blanket of lurid yellow cheese. Oh yeah – and chips.  

Welcome to the Lansdowne, luxe and redux. Drink deep, visit often.  

The City Road icon is reborn.
The City Road icon is reborn. Photo: James Brickwood

Bottom line Fish finger sambo ($16); chopped salad ($16); counter meals ($10).

Pro Tip: If you're keen for a quiet table, best to aim for early in the week, and early in the evening.

Go-to Dish: The fish finger sambo is everything you always wished a Filet-O-Fish was, only so much more.

http://thelansdownepub.com.au/