When the Unicorn changed hands in 2015, the new owners didn’t try too hard. The space isn’t plastered in white tiles or lined with Scandinavian furniture. Nor does it feature copper piping. There’s no cheffy bistro, reinterpreted cuisines or charcuterie board, either. It’s simply a pub, like the old The Unicorn once was, but better.
The décor includes simple wooden furniture, little ornamentation and walls coloured with the kind of dark green that was once ubiquitous in Australian drinking holes. One of the issues they had following the renovation was the smell. It was too new, so they simply poured a beer onto the ground.
Head Chef Richard Learmonth (ex-Porteño, Pendolino) sticks to tradition. There are three kinds of steak; a schnitty; a weekly roast; a corner-store meat pie; and Jatz served with French-onion dip. The cheapest steak is the daily, a 200-gram pope's eye cut, at $22. For under $20 you can also get a Mary’s burger with chips or a chunky vegetarian lasagne.
At the other end is 400 grams of oyster blade for $34; a $44 “Fancy” Scotch fillet; and something you’d struggle to find anywhere else in Sydney – an Australian-pub-style grill with lamb chops, a fried egg and mint sauce. Enjoy in the rowdy public bar (counter service) or in the quieter bistro (table service) managed by Max Walker (ex-MoVida Aqui).
Across the board there's Young Henrys and a list of old-school pub beers: XXXX, VB, Resch’s, Coopers. Perhaps the only thing that doesn’t fit the team’s nostalgic pub resurrection is the wine list – all Australian, natural heavy.