Wednesday, September 10, 2014

When push comes to The Push

Posted by Hendy

I needed no nudging or pushing into a lazy Sunday lunch in The Rocks' newly renovated small bar, The Push, beneath the Russell Hotel, at the southernmost point of The Rocks precinct on George Street (or the beginning of The Rocks if you're coming from the CBD).

The Push, George Street, Sydney
Most recently a wine bar, The Push was renovated about four months ago to capture the elegant, moment-in-time feel and mood of the 1800s and 1900s. It also attempts to capture the true essence of 'The Push' gang of that time: a group of larrikins that were commonly known to harass sailors in the area back in the 19th century

Nautical remnants dot the venue including ship ropes, turbines, ship blueprints and other old artefacts that hint at a curious history in this very place.

The bar
Licensed till midnight with capacity for 120 patrons, The Push brings small bars into The Rocks area.

The plush leather couches, brass fixtures, chequered tables and relaxing ambience of The Push attracts more regular office workers during the weekdays and younger crowds on Fridays and Saturdays, and a fair share of tourists.

Larrikin cocktail
To kick off lunch we ordered the Larrikin; a signature cocktail combining Jack Daniels bourbon and Tuaca, muddled with lime, mint and ginger ale.

A refreshing cocktail served with lots of ice and likened to a mule, the Larrikin's herbaceous, slightly bitter and sticky sweetness works for some and not for others.

Strawberry Jam Mocktail
We also had a mocktail which used base elements of strawberry jam and plum bitters, topped off with apple juice. Like candy in a glass, this berry, sugary lolly-like mocktail was a clever use of the elements and pleasing to the non-drinker.

School prawns, Cajun spiced, preserved lemon mayonnaise
For food we started with a bowl of whole fried school prawns which were crunchy but not as greasy as others I've seen. Flash fried in a Cajun spiced batter, these prawns made for a great starter with a wedge of lemon and a dollop of light preserved lemon mayonnaise for condiments.

Sliders: pulled lamb, pork rib, crispy seitan
The highly-recommended sliders are available in three variations; pulled lamb, pork rib or a vegetarian seitan gluten.

Served in mini brioche buns, the pulled lamb slider was nice and moist, served with mashed peas - my pick of the three.

The pork rib slider had a curry flavouring, which was a refreshingly different take rather than the pulled pork that's still everywhere in Sydney. The vegetarian seitan slider would have been a winner with a little more seasoning on the gluten filling.

Herb battered barramundi, house made tartare, hand cut chips, mashed peas
Classic fish and chips at The Push featured barramundi fillets in a golden batter with nice crunch and quite light with herbs, lemon and maybe even some garlic. The fish was served traditionally with mushy peas and chunky potato chips in a small metal basket, while the aioli and lemon cheek were put to good use for the dish.

Shepherd's pie with slow cooked lamb shoulder, crushed peas, sebago mash, watercress
The Shepherd's pie that arrived next is one of the more popular mains at The Push. Packed with slow cooked lamb shoulder and gravy, and topped with a layer of sebago potato mash balls, it's easy to see why.

The pot pie was served with large portion of watercress on the side and more mashed peas, while the potato mash was light, fluffy and rather addictive. The lamb shoulder filling was like a hearty winter's lamb stew and appropriately filling for a cool Sunday's lunch.

House salad with frisee, radicchio and rocket, sliced radish, zucchini, white wine vinaigrette
To balance out the richness and fried-ness, we also ordered the house salad. Combining radicchio, frisee and rocket leaves with radish rounds and zucchini, the salad was fresh with a good balance of bitter, tangy and crunch.

ANZAC crumbed macadamia ice cream with rum butter sauce
For dessert, it had to be the Anzac biscuit-coated macadamia ice cream with a rum sauce, which can hardly get any more Australian, or exciting for this fan of the oats-based traditional Anzac biscuit.

Coated with a crumb of Anzac biscuits, the ice cream ball had satisfying chunks of macadamia nuts that combined for all round sweetness and butteriness.

The rum butter sauce was sharply sweeter than the ice cream, though it worked quite well with the relatively toned down crumbs and ice cream.

Endeavour Vintage Growers golden ale
To cap off the lunch, and in honour of The Push and their sailor victims who certainly wouldn't have minded a drink, we had the Endeavour Vintage Growers golden ale which is one of four beers available on tap alongside Little Creatures Pale Ale, White Rabbit White Ale and Heineken.

When it comes down to it, The Rocks is an important part of Sydney history and will always attract tourists as a result. Joining the likes of iconic pubs The Glenmore and The Australian, the newly renovated The Push will undoubtedly help to refresh the suite of traditional pubs and bars around The Rocks and nudge it into a new era.

Food, Booze & Shoes dined at The Push as a guest, with thanks to Agency G.

The Push on Urbanspoon


Seek What You Eat said...

The Push has been on my wishlist for far too long... your review has inspired me to finally get down there. Looks amazing!

Foodsaurus said...

What a refreshing mocktail! And I love munching on school prawns, yum :)

Ramen Raff said...

OMG! That Anzac crumbed mac ice cream sounds so damn amazing!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

The food looks good and it's always good to have somewhere to go in that area.

Chris @ MAB vs Food said...

Those sliders look good :9

Hendy said...

@SeekWhatYouEat @Foodsaurus @RamenRaff @NQN @MABvFood definitely worth checking out, quite a contrast from the brethren bar down the road and adding on to the few wonderful places at The Rocks.


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