Thursday, December 27, 2012

Royal Albert Hotel, Surry Hills

140 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills
Reviewers: Robot Simone, Joe Blogs, Burger Bot
Time of review: Lunch / evening drinks

"Hot Buns at a Cool Bar" 

Located in Surry Hills, The Royal Albert is a back-street corner pub only a hop, skip and cartwheel from Central station and a handful of other Surry Hills bars. The Bamboo Dumpling Bar is a bonus.

Pull up a seat in the front bar of this Surry Hills hideaway and order one of their tasty beers. There's a good selection available here, including a couple of 'hand pump' brews. The hotel has stood unpretenciously here for many years, playing home to the workers who moved into the area in the early part of the twentieth century and continued to serve the locals until this day.

Enjoying a Young Henry's "Hop Ale" from the hand pump

Over the festive season, Simone and I dropped in for lunch. The day after our Pyrmont Bridge Hotel experience actually. We noted that the Royal Albert was very quiet on this occasion, comparing it to previous visits. Apparently a lot of the pub punters are workers in the area and with people off work between Christmas and New Year, we nearly had the place to ourself.
Bamboo Dumpling Bar out back

  Don't expect to find your standard pub fare here - the Royal Albert does somthing a little different. The Bamboo Dumpling Bar out back is a nice little eat out with a beergarden-feel, featuring table service and a menu of the 'yum cha' persuasion. The bird cages hung from the ceiling provide something interesting to look at while you wait for you order to arrive. By night some of these are transformed into lanterns for a quirky and warm atmosphere. To go with my hand pump Young Henry's Hop Ale, we ordered up a few different plates featuring spring rolls, pork dumplings and steamed chilli beef buns. "I thought it was a beautiful way to present the buns, rather than the usual sticky bun with teaspoon of mystery filling" - Simone.

Steamed Chilli Beef Buns

We weren't in for the long haul on this occasion but enjoyed our stay nonetheless. The background music was okay, not blaring and not shite. Good range of beers on tap and plenty available in the bottle. No draught to measure cost but that's a good thing here. It wouldn't work.

Couch time

And now a word from Burger Bot:

I like it. Been there a number of times. It's one of our [Bot and Frau] "go to pubs" whenever we're in Surry Hills and can't decide where to go (Cricketers Arms being the other). They play good music, have very good beer and wine options at very reasonable prices - faves include the Young Henrys ales - and the place has a friendly vibe to it. I even took my dad there once, twice in fact. It was part of a little pub crawl we decided to take around area. It was the pub that got the vote to return and complete the crawl.

On the beer selection front, quite impressed and always happy with the selection. I recall a green tea and seaweed beer from a collaborative effort by Two Birds and Young Henrys. Other brews I've noted in the past include Coopers Pale Ale, Young Henrys (various), Australian Brewery Pilsner, Bostons Pale, and Vale Ale, and.... something like that anyway. I can't keep track of all these things! What is this?! Some kind of memory test? Geez!!! The beers change regularly. Get off my case.

Frau has previously said this about the Royal Albert - "I love the Royal Albert. I love everything about it. If it were legal to marry inanimate objects, I would choose the Royal Albert. Also, those buns really do look like pacmen. Drunk pacmen."

And that about wraps it up for this review. The Royal Albert is a nice public bar with the added bonus of the Bamboo shindig out the back and a great selection of drinks. We give it 3.5 schooners, very close to a 4! Bugger it! FOUR!!! Get stuck into it!

Royal Albert Hotel on Urbanspoon

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