The team behind Paddington’s Royal Hotel and Glebe’s The Toxteth (Public House Management Group) has opened a shiny new venue in a shiny new Hurstville building. Filled with natural light, Humphrey’s Hotel sits across the first floor of a new-build office tower, boasting a pub-style bistro and Hatch, an elevated restaurant, tucked into one corner.

Bringing a fine-dining edge to Hurstville’s dining scene is the aim of the venture, the group's executive chef Scott Greve tells Broadsheet. “[We wanted] to create a place where you have restaurant-style food, but in a pub environment.”

Before joining the group in March, Greve was head chef at harbourside steak joint 6Head. He started his career in the UK working as a butcher before joining the Jamie Oliver Group. At Humphrey’s, with its marble accents and splashes of gold, he’s drawing from his career so far to deliver a finer dining experience – with plenty of meat – while nodding to the UK’s gastro-pubs.

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Occupying a breezy all-weather terrace that’s dotted with ’70s-inspired hot pink and fluro yellow chairs, Humphrey’s is the spot for a laid-back yet refined night out. Here, Aussie pub classics like chicken schnitties and burgers have been swapped for posher fare.

A ramen-inspired black pudding Scotch egg joins the starting snacks. It’s soft-boiled then soaked in chicken stock and soy for five hours, coated in local Cumberland sausage meat and black pudding mix, then crumbed and fried and served alongside black garlic aioli. There’s venison tartare and fried quail, too.

With no parmies in sight, a decadent chicken Milanese heads up the mains. “We brush out a chicken breast and fill it with truffle butter, prosciutto and fontal cheese,” says Greve. “It’s lightly crumbed and pan-fried in butter, topped with a fried egg and served with watercress salad.”

The finer feel is taken even further at Hatch, the in-house restaurant with a Mediterranean bent that’s all marble-topped tables and floor-to-ceiling glass. Greve recommends starting with the caviar cornetto. “I first made it at 6Head for New Year’s a couple of years ago, and it went down a storm,” he says. “We take a small waffle cone and pipe black garlic aioli into the bottom – like the hard bit of chocolate you get at the end of a Cornetto. Then we add confit garlic crème fraîche, topped with Osetra caviar and fresh chives.”

Then there’s the pig’s head fritti. The head is split then braised for 24 hours, before the tender meat – including the cheek fat – is removed. “We layer [the meat] with black pudding before crumbing and frying it,” says Greve. “It’s crispy on the outside and soft in the middle.” Alongside the fritters is hollandaise for dipping and a sprightly side of asparagus – dressed in apple cider vinegar, olive oil, fennel and watercress.

Hatch’s share plates are built around house dry-aged meats and seafood. There are four-week dry-aged tomahawks and 1.2-kilogram T-bones, with sides like triple-cooked fries and heirloom tomato salad. A Sydney rock lobster comes doused in XO butter and a whole John Dory is dressed in mussels, pickled green peppercorn sauce and sea herbs.

Greve’s pick, though, is the duck breast main. “We dry age the duck for four days, so when we pan-fry it, the skin goes crispy and golden.” Cutting the fatty dish is a celeriac-parsnip puree folded with finely shredded rainbow chard, plus juicy roasted grapes and port jus.

A mighty 250-bottle wine list has been put together by sommelier Theo Nguyen. There are 12 beers on tap and a cocktail list that presents quirky takes on classics. The Lamana Margarita adds strawberry gum to the mix, and the Tiramisu Old Fashioned is infused with coffee, chocolate and cacao bitters.

“I’m really looking forward to bringing something new to Hurstville,” says Greve. “It’s been a long time coming.”

Humphrey’s Hotel
288 Forest Road, Hurstville

Hours
Mon to Sat 10am–2am
Sun 10am–midnight

Hatch
Wed & Thu 5.30pm–9.30pm
Fri midday–3pm, 5.30pm–9.30pm
Sat & Sun midday–9.30pm

humphreyshotel.com.au
@humphreyshotel