One day in the near future we’re going to be writing a half-sad, half-happy eulogy to the kind of pub that had heavy carpets, soggy coasters and the distinct aroma of cigarettes and aged Tooheys. The Newington in Petersham will feature in it, now that Solotel’s has gentrified it. It’s now called Public House Petersham and has, like many good new pubs, been refreshed, but is still comfortably reminiscent of its predecessor.
“I really wanted to evoke the feeling that it had been used and lived in so we didn't open our doors and have this brand-spanking-new place,” says Georgie Hutchinson, the project designer. She points out the only new thing in the pub is the paint on the metal stools; every piece of furniture and scrap of building material has either been recycled from the Newington or another site nearby. “It was a bit of an old country pub, it was great. We tried to keep a lot of the fabric and heritage.”
The menu by Martin Cerny, has a similar feel, with a list of reinvented pub classics matched with sharing plates and pizzas. All of the pizzas are handmade using a 24-hour fermentation for the dough and cooked in the pub’s custom-built wood-fired oven. “The pizzas are more Brooklyn than Italy, more Bushwick than Naples, although we do use a Neapolitan-style base. But the ingredients are fun and a bit more loose.” Cerny mentions the belaforte, a take on sardines on toast with house-made sardines in devilled sauce. There’s also a dish with Spanish blood sausage, creamed corn and sweet roasted cherry tomatoes.
The burgers are classically styled with pickles, mustard, ketchup, dry-aged beef and soft milk buns from Brickfields. Chips can be substituted for gooey roast cauliflower with crunchy almonds and Brussel sprouts; carrots and beets with smoked macadamia yoghurt; or one of Cerny’s textural fresh salads. Cerny, a Czechoslovakian, has sprinkled bits of his European heritage across the menu. The most obvious example is the Pigfest Platter, a salty northern-European monster with crispy pork knuckle, sausages, sauerkraut and Czech dumplings. Impressively, Cerny makes all his own sausages, pickles and pate. In the future he hopes to start classes for pickling and pizza making.
The bar features a rotating list of craft beers, local wine-on-tap producers Sparrow & Vine and a small list of cocktails. Cerny recommends Hard Lemonade #1 with Beefeater gin, elderflower liqueur, lemon, thyme and the house lemonade.
“We want to make a fun, community, local vibe without going over the top.” Hutchinson says they’re looking for different ways to open up the pub’s spaces for local community groups and artists.
Public House Petersham
292 Stanmore Road, Petersham
(02) 9568 3703
Mon to Sun 10am–midnight