The Lansdowne Hotel
Artist Jess Cochrane had a big hand in the venue’s new look. For example, the intricate bathroom ceiling (“The Pistine Chapel”) covered in cut up and painted over pictures from vintage Playboy magazines.
Distorted clippings of lips, eyes, cigarette cartons and old-world ad slogans are layered over blown-out posters, which have then been coated with thick, provocative stripes of paint. The aesthetic pervades the whole venue.
Hardly anything coming out of chef Phil Morgan’s (Hartsyard, The Devonshire, The Unicorn) kitchen is more than $20. There are $10 daily lunches, including a chuck steak made with marbled Ranger Valley beef, a barbeque cheeseburger, Korean-American nachos and a late-night menu that runs until 2am.
The dinner menu includes a fish-finger sambo. But it’s the Detroit-style, “bastardised” pizza that really anchors the concept. It’s made with dough that has been fermented over 48 hours. The meat-lovers’ pizza comes with pepperoni from LP’s Quality Meats.
The Mary’s burger appears in a pizza format. The filling – pickles, onion, beef patty, American cheese, mozzarella and leaves – is rolled into balls and crumbled across the base, which is then drenched in Mary’s special sauce.
Pasta is done in a wok, giving it a smoky, caramelised result. There’s a play on the mee goreng (an upgrade on your childhood two-minute noodles); carbonara; and a burnt-tomato sauce.
The wine list features only Australian wines. There’s Budweiser and a good mix of Aussie beers and simple, fun cocktails.
But live music is the true core of the Lansdowne, because more than anything, its re-emergence was about the return of a classic Sydney live-music venue.