The Rover

Jackie McMillan
30th Mar 2024

The Rover does a two buck freshly-shucked oyster happy hour between 4pm and 6pm. The bivalves were from Wonboyn Lake on the pristine Sapphire Coast on the evening I visited. And - with a fully-packed front bar - they ran out before I could get in a second dozen: it pays to arrive early in these parts! Our disappointment was assuaged by the railway station signboard indicating deep-cup Batemans Bay pacific oysters ($7/each) and Sydney rocks from Tuross lake ($6/each) were both still available (though not at the bargain price). Each suited the delicate house-made Champagne mignonette, which is also a player in their estuary martini ($25), in an unholy union with Never Never oyster shell gin.  

Sliding over to Chardonnay - Domaine Naturalist’s cracking 2021 Artus ($135) - with a punctuating happy hour gin+tonic ($6) saw us smear smoky eel pâté ($16) and horseradish jelly onto glazed crumpets. Using dainty oyster forks, we speared slivers of raw scallop ($9/each) accentuated with horseradish, cucumber and dill. We made short work of sardines ($5/each) cured with tapenade on crisp croutons. From sister venue, The Gridley, their famous burger ($26) slowed us down, giving us time to appreciate the more genteel surrounds of the venue’s quieter upper bar. The burger is a double chuck and brisket patty affair oozing sauce and American cheese, presented with a knife to aid sharing. 

This bar’s the whole package from booze to atmosphere to staff to food to cheese - a West Country farmhouse Cheddar ($15/40g) presented with all the trimmings. I even rate the bogs with their intriguing memorabilia and rusty buckets wash-up area. Yep, I think I’ve found my new Sydney watering hole...