The Paddington Inn

Carl Screwvala
19th Sep 2016

Celebrating 30 years of operation by family-owned hospitality group Solotel, the much beloved Paddington Inn has undergone extensive renovation to reopen its doors in the heart of Paddington with a new dining room and bar and a fresh new look and menu. This is all part of a real movement of new openings and renovations going on along Oxford Street (such as the recently revitalised Brigade Inn), perhaps seeing the opportunity presented by the targeted slow collapse of the Kings Cross drinking scene.

Designed by Sydney-based restaurant designer du jour George Livissianis, having previously fitted The Apollo and Billy Kwong among others, and working on the upcoming Sydney imprint of Melbourne's prized Chin Chin. The venue is inspired by the casual sophistication of a Paddington terrace. Indeed the front bar is a simple space featuring clean, long flat wood fittings with a wraparound bar at its core, orbited by high stools and booths. Along the bar are brightly lit and precisely arranged glass bottle displays; a few tasteful lights and flowers flourish the room; its all sharp and modern, yet casual. Progress further into the back and you'll find a bright dining room, with an open kitchen seen through a large feature wall, and the room filled with the simple abstract portraits by Christiane Spangsberg that pair with the clean elegance fittingly.

So far, so Paddington, and similarly the theme continues with the refresh of Paddington Inn's long heritage of quality food in the dining room. A pioneer of modern hotel bistro dining through the last three decades, the venue's kitchen has seen more than its fair share of renowned Sydney chefs but is perhaps best known for launching a young Matt Moran. The new Paddington Inn kitchen is helmed by Justin Schott, hot off his experience at Rockpool and Kitchen by Mike. "We’re making as much in-house as possible – we are dry-ageing the duck and we’ll make our own cotechino as well as focaccia and gingerbread daily" notes Justin, who has developed a Modern Australian and seasonal menu. Feature dishes include chargrilled Fremantle octopus with grilled fennel, a whole roasted Thirlmere duck with fermented red cabbage, and a shareable 850g Rangers Valley rib-eye.

Out front, the bar will keep it more straight forward with mid range sharp versions of pub classics including jaffles, salt cod pikelets with chickpeas and shallots, and of course the obligatory entry into the ever expanding Sydney burger war.

On the opening night, we sample a few finely executed drinks being showcased. Their G&T features Westwinds 'Cutlass' gin, accented by cherry tomato and red bell pepper. This worked sublimely - a perfectly balanced blend of sweet and sharp with the pepper fragrancing it with a fresh and innovative style. Their Tom Collins - featuring Absolute Elyx vodka - was also blended beautifully with pomegranate and accented with lavender to similar effect: well balanced with a gentle twist. Rounding off the pleasant surprises on the drinks menu was a Greek Papagiannokos savatiano white wine, which again offered a well balanced sweetness, with hints of banana and pineapple, but remaining fresh and eminently gluggable.

All in all, Solotel have done a fine job of modernising the Paddington Inn whilst retaining the grounded sophistication characteristic of the area, no doubt to the continuing delight of the Paddington crowd.

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338 Oxford Street
(02) 9380 5913

Mon – Thu midday – midnight

Fri – Sat midday – 1am

Sun midday – 10pm