I used to go to the Forresters when I first moved over to Sydney (over a year and a half ago), for their (then) famous $5 steaks. Since then, the pub has undergone a few change of hands, and revamps, and I was keen to check out the place after its latest refurbishment. The people who did up the Carrington (in Surry Hills), Flinders (Darlinghurst), Norfolk (Redfern) and Abercrombie (Chippendale) bought over and gave the Forresters in Surry Hills a new look.
We went to Forresters on a sunny Sunday afternoon. The place has been done up with an American ‘diner’ type seating, long tables with stools, and candy striped seats, with large colonial Spanish wooden chandeliers hanging from the sealings. The upstairs area at the back adjoining the courtyard now has a new bar with a bit of a ‘hawaian/ tiki’ look, with colourful umbrellas and dolls with hula skirts. I can’t quite pinpoint what kind of look they were trying to achieve with the decor, but overall the place looks more spacious and brighter.
The menu is very “Italian American”, it includes your regular pizza and pasta dishes and some very American dishes including mac & cheese, meatball subs, NY strip steak and cheese burger.
During the week they have $10 lunch specials and meals of the day. On Sunday the meal of the day is a “pig & beer” ($15 spit, $10 spit rolls, $4 tinnies, $18 combo). A lot of people were ordering the pig & beer, but as I was recovering from a big night, I didn’t feel like something so heavy.
We tried the cut & fry calamari ($14) to start. The calamari is not very tender, a bit on the chewy side.
I ordered a Bucatini Vongole (with Flat Head, Diamond Clams, Mussels & Prawn $24).
The pasta was oily and rather tasteless, and the seafood was overcooked and dry. How disappointing. (I miss a good tasty vongole!) Also, for an ‘american style’ menu, the portions are definitely not american sized. For $24, my pasta was more of a entree size than a main.
The place still needs to get their service/ management in order. When ordering my cider on tap, they didn’t have ice (what pub doesn’t stock enough ice on a Sunday afternoon?!) and I ordered a glass of wine and they gave me a less than half full glass. We noticed the table next to us, with two guests, who hadn’t been served their meals at the same time. One guy had been served his NY strip steak and was half way through eating it, while his poor companion was still waiting for his meal to be served as we were leaving the place.
I guess like any other pub/ restaurant that has just recently been reopened, they probably need a few weeks to get their menus and service in order. For now, it will be a while until I return to the Forresters.
The Forresters, 336 Riley St, Cnr of Foveaux and Riley Sts, Surry Hills 2010.