The London Hotel has a spiffy new coat of white paint. But that's not the only change this old boozer, set amid William Street's chic boutiques, has experienced of late. Owners Ben May and Andrew Stanway (the duo behind Mrs Sippy in Double Bay) are in the process of sprucing up the London. And they've started with the new London Fields wine bar, right upstairs.
What was previously a hodgepodge of rooms has been stripped down to its bones and given the full designer treatment. Climb the stairs from the public bar and everything suddenly becomes whiter, brighter and a whole lot more sparkly. There are two main rooms surrounding the big new bar, as well as two open-air nooks. Long communal tables seat large parties, while there’s space for more intimate gatherings by the windows.
To drink, there's Asahi on tap as well as a few ales by the bottle. But the focus is on wine and the list is heavy with Victorian drops, with reds from Heathcote, Bendigo and the Grampians. Bottles from vineyards in Canberra, Orange and Bowral are also worth a look, as are the French and Spanish wines down the end of the menu. The cocktail offering features some crisp flavours – a Plum and Marjoram White Lady is a mix of Tanqueray, Cointreau and lemon, while a Mandarin Crysta has Beefeater 24, Cointreau, lemon, bitters and sugar rum. You can also ask them for a classic if that's your thing.
For eats, it's largely about share plates, with a current offering of dishes like buffalo mozzarella fritters with basil and anchovy mayonnaise; lamb meatballs with eggplant, garlic and goats cheese; and pork belly with roast cabbage and cider jus.
So get on in and check out London Fields. Paddo's pub scene just got a lot more interesting.
Upstairs, The London Hotel
85 Underwood Street, Paddington
(02) 9331 3200
Tues to Sat 6pm–midnight