On a bright Sunday afternoon when one finds a Sydneyside restaurant or pub whisper quiet and sans any semblance of activity, the absurdity of the situation swiftly questions - "Haven't they opened the kitchen yet?" So on a recent visit when we found the Broadway Crown in a similar state, we had our share of confusion bogging us until the sight of the manager at the counter and a couple of diners at a table rested our doubts. Given the minimal show-up, the manager himself was adequate to man the counter and the few occupied tables. He followed us with the menu as we located ourselves at a cozy corner table facing the astir street. The menu detailed all the usual pub-classics from quick shareable bites to burgers, pizzas and salads to chaperone the pub's collection of wine and cocktails. Craft Beer could be chosen and ordered at the bar itself.
We placed our order at the counter and returned to our table with a glass of Shiraz to soak in the anachronistic feel of the pub's interior. It looked like a well kept mahogany chest. Yellow lighting and wide windows filled the wood-covered space with a luminous warmth. The antiquated do with photos, posters and cute trinkets imparted a rich period ambience to the otherwise modern pub.
Within 15 minutes the starters were served on wooden serving boards. And before we could dig in, the main course arrived on oblong and circular plates. Their Signature Chicken Wings ($11 for 8 wings) and Chili Prawns formed our appetizers. The breezy flavors of the chili, garlic and taragon marinated jumbo prawns (a bit steep at $16) grilled and served with roasted tomatoes and soft flat bread, and the crispy texture of those juicy chicken wings admirably complemented the depth of the fine grained Shiraz (though it is supposed to be enjoyed post-meal, I couldn't help sipping the wine between bites). Both the spicy mayo and ranch (which tasted more like a good rich aioli) dips were delightful too. Having totally raptured us, the chicken wings, doubtlessly a signature dish, took home the gold.
The main course was Pan-fried Atlantic Salmon ($27) and Grilled Barramundi ($25). Albeit the straightforwardness and simplicity of the dishes, both fared extremely well in portion and freshness. The fish had been rendered perfectly luscious and the vegetables retained their crunch. The sumptuous salmon fillets were nicely coupled with avocado puree, roasted fennel, onion and capsicum making it a healthy and fulfilling dish. The barramundi was as good, served over a vibrant pesto and baked baby potatoes, and topped with vegetable salad.
We finished our meal with a bountiful serving of cute little Brownie Swirls ($10) liberally splashed with Belgian chocolate sauce and served with vanilla ice-cream. The swirl envelope was warm and fluffy with a little bar of rich moist brownie inside. Alas, the ice-cream had an icy and foamy texture rather than the usual creaminess but the lovely brownie swirls generously compensated for it.
Despite a few crumbs from a previous meal on our table, which the otherwise genial manager seemed not to have noticed plus the cleanliness of the pub as a whole demanded some benefit of doubt, our entire experience perked up by the variety in shape, color and presentation made us disregard the minor folly. The hearty meal, especially the chicken wings, and the good wine made our visit worthwhile and calls for 4 happy stars and high recommendations. Cheers!