The Terminus Hotel might be the oldest Sydney venue no one’s heard of. David Mathlin and Binu Katari are hoping to change that. The pair bought the 170-year-old pub in 2016 and have recently reopened it for the first time in 30 years.
“It took a year of planning; it would have been easier to start again [with a new venue] but the fact it's a heritage building was what really appealed. We knew it could be restored so we went for it,” says Mathlin.
To finish the restoration and rebuild he and Katari brought in hotshot designer Luchetti Krelle (ACME, Momofuku Seiobo and heritage architect Garry Stanley. What they’ve come up with is a vision rooted in the pub’s history but modernised. Heritage tiles line the walls (the same emerald green colour that’s a feature in many old Sydney pubs); the ornate ceilings remain untouched, as does the long six-o-clock-swill bar; and the back courtyard has the same vine-dappled sandstone wall that was there a century ago.
Upstairs is a lot more opulent. There’s a plush cocktail lounge named after Vera, a steely woman who reluctantly came to run the pub many years ago. But unlike the patrons who frequented 40 years ago, today’s customers will be pouring spritzes from carafes or ordering from a concise menu of mostly Australian wines.
They won’t be eating Sunday roasts, either – well not the kind served in the pubs of yesteryear. Bektas Ozcan (Efendy, Chiswick) is in the kitchen, so his roasts are Turkish in style and cooked over charcoal (what’s available will change weekly). There are also be a handful of traditional Turkish recipes including burek (baked filled pastries made of a thin flaky dough), spice-cured salmon and Ozcan’s signature 24-hour lamb shoulder. Also expect burger and chips and mac’n’cheese, but not in the conventional sense.
“The patty is normal but [the] beef mince is mixed with a rich za’atar and soy sauce,” says Ozcan about the burger. He uses mac’n’cheese-infused dough to make handmade pasta for the mac’n’cheese, before adding in cream, cheese and bacon-oil roasted potatoes.
The courtyard is where the charcoal cooking happens, which means the hotel’s new overnight guests will get hints of the cooking smells – the nine budget- to mid-range units (two with private en-suite bathrooms; seven with shared bathroom access) sit above the sun-drenched courtyard.
61 Harris Street, Pyrmont