Marrickville locals have another reason to count The Henson as their favourite drinking and dining spot. The much-loved pub has opened a deli-bottle shop hybrid within the pub called, appropriately, Grocery & Grog.
Manager Ashleigh Jacka says the store has always been part of the plan. “We didn’t open straightaway because of licensing issues. It’s been a long, hard fight.”
House-made condiments on the shelves are there due to popular demand. They include miso-mayo and salts in flavours such as szechuan, cumin and lime and “rosemary rooster”. Staples such as bread from The Bread and Butter Project, milk, organic fruit and veggies, cheese and cured meat make Grocery & Grog a convenience, rather than a speciality store. “Whatever we don’t use fresh gets sent to the Henson kitchen, for things like toast or staff meals,” says Jacka. “There’s no wastage.”
The booze is boutique. “I tried to cater for everyone, steering away from major brands,” Jacka says. “We focus on Australian craft spirits; we try and support brands that are as local as possible.” Alongside natural wines from Mudgee and Orange, there’s bespoke spirits such as gin from Poor Tom’s, Young Henrys and Stone Pine, based in Marrickville, Newtown and Bathurst respectively. Everything is available to drink in-house (with additional corkage).
The Grocery & Grog eat-in menu is antipasto style, revolving around cheese and meat boards. Cheese-board selections vary from tallegio to truffled pecorino, served with crispbread, muscatels and date-and-pistachio rolada. The meat board, with bread, alto olives and pickles, could include smoked waygu beef or duck prosciutto. A succinct selection of panino sandwiches combines the best of both boards, with pairings such as San Danielle prosciutto, provolone, leaves and vincotto.