Tucked away past rows of stately Victorian Terraces is a legendary pub with a proud history. The Riverview Hotel is a famous drinking spot and one of Balmain's most loved boozers. It has also carved its way to the list of top nosh gastro pubs.
This hotel is a neighbourhood favourite with the public bar often full to the rafters with sport lovers revving up their tribe while catching a game on the big screen or local revellers enjoying some afternoon live music.
Image credit - Seafarrwide
In contrast, you can also find a cosy chair by the fireplace on a quieter day while enjoying a brew and a tasty pub meal.
The dark wood interiors and cosy nooks throughout the pub instil all the old charm you'd expect from a historic pub. To some locals, it's a home away from home, a meeting place to have a chinwag and refreshing brew.
image credit: Seafarrwide
I have visited The Riverview Hotel several times and if you wish to read my previous review go to this link. The current owners, Nicola Farrell and Jimmy Queally, took over three years ago and have continued to keep up a high standard enjoyed by a loyal patronage.
On this occasion, I was invited to dine in the upper-level Dining Room. Here in this historic pub, you will find old and new in perfect symphony. The lower level public bar transforms as you rise to the upper level, where timeless elegance meets contemporary cuisine. A luxurious and comfortable ambience awaits you, the perfect setting for intimate dining.
The Dining Room - image credit: The Riverview Hotel
We were shown to our table by the restaurant supervisor Rob, who proved to be not only warm and friendly, he also was clearly knowledgeable on the menu, specifically the drinks list. Rob obviously enjoyed his job and admitted his passion for discovering and learning about wines. It was refreshing to meet such an intelligent well-informed waiter.
It was one of those hot summer days that deserved a good thirst quencher. Rob suggested a Gin Bramble $18 and my partner opted for a James Squire "The Swindler" Tropical Ale $8.50 which we willingly gulped down.
image credit: Seafarrwide
The Dining Room menu has been designed by Executive Chef Murat Ekinci and includes an extensive wine list. We decided on a starHouse-marinated Olives $8 and half a dozen fresh Sydney Rock Oysters grown in the clean, clear waters of Pambula Lake on the far South Coast of NSW.
I love Sydney Rock Oysters and these were plump and succulent with a smooth subtle flavour. Every time I eat oysters, l wish I could order more, they truly are one of my favourite indulgences and these didn't disappoint.
Next, we ordered our mains. Who can resist pan-fried Salmon fillet served with bok choy, miso eggplant puree, teriyaki shallots served on a bed of crushed toasted hazelnuts. I liked that you could order a small or larger serving 20/29. This was paired with a glass of 2015 Wilson Vineyard "Watervale" Riesling from the Clare Valley SA, g10.
The Salmon had been seasoned and cooked perfectly retaining its juices under a crispy skin. All was presented artfully over the bok choy and crushed hazelnuts. The miso eggplant puree added a delicious flavour to the fish.
I opted to try the Quails, which had been lightly pan-fried before a few minutes baking in the oven. Quail has a somewhat more assertive flavour than chicken and is slightly like duck, depending on how it is cooked. The skin on my Quails was nicely crisp and I was pleased they served them with a light bed of kohlrabi and sesame salad. The quince and mustard Cress was a welcoming flavour, 20/28. This dish was also GF, which I convinced myself, was the reason I had enough space for dessert. To wash it down, I chose a glass of 2014 Last Horizon Pinot Noir from the Tamar Valley, TAS, g14 which was light and smooth.
We thoroughly enjoyed our evening in the Dining Room and would recommend it for any occasion. The Dining room is also available for exclusive hire for Weddings, Christenings, Engagements, Birthdays or Corporate Events.
The peaceful ambience, great food and wine also would prove an ideal choice for a romantic Valentine's Day lunch or dinner. They are offering a four-course menu at $85 per person. Go to the website for more details.