As far as Gastropubs go, few venues can match up to the perfectly positioned Tilbury Hotel in Woolloomooloo, which doesn’t just have location on its side, but a reputation as one of the best dining options outside of the suburb’s iconic wharf; one which has just received a refreshed and refocused makeover, slightly switching up the interior for the first time in 12 years, while also the menu on offer, which has been designed by the venue’s new Michelin-accredited Head Chef James Wallis.
Award-winning design firm Luchetti Krelle has led the redesign, which stays true to the old bay-side charm that helped The Tilbury become a local institution, but also brings it into the ‘now’ with more open spaces, soft pastels, light woods, oil-finished timber, and even some repurposed old monkey bars from a vintage merry-go-round. The comfortable courtyard out back also feels different, with large yellow and white stripped umbrellas and lush, shaped greenery.
Aiming for a fun and relaxed atmosphere, Luchetti Krelle have successfully balanced the old and the new here, adding some more vibrancy, which is reflected in the food and wine menu. Here you’ll find fresh-focused, high-standard dishes that aim for simplicity, extending beyond the previous restaurant to really bring The Tilbury up to the ever-evolving Sydney dining scene.
James Wallis, a former winner of UK TV program Ramsay’s Best Restaurant, has crafted a premium summer menu that offers starters like Spanner Crab with witlof, green apple, and fennel; a refreshing way to begin a meal here and one which balances the focuses on the refreshing, natural taste of the green apple, fennel, and witlof to balance with the sweet, generous amount of crab meat that is shaped to fit the elegant presentation.
Other starters include salads of Baby Beetroot, Feta, Pomegranate, and Quinoa, and one of Heirloom Tomato, Mozzarella, Balsamic Jelly, and Basil.
A light and fantastic Corn-Fed Chicken Breast is available as a main, served up with various, roasted Dutch carrots, aided very lightly by tahini, yoghurt, dukkah and puffed black rice. The yoghurt brings a subtle sweetness to the carrots, while the dukkah and puffed black rice add some more flavour to the tender, earthy chunks of chicken.
Also available for mains is the likes of Sea Trout with buttered kipfler potatoes, asparagus, and seaweed butter, and a plate of Lamb Cutlets with cous cous, aubergine puree, and small cubes of watermelon.
A number of desserts are available, with my personal favourite being the indulgent, smooth Valhrona Chocolate Mousse (headline image) which is plated with chocolate soil, mascarpone, and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. You’ll get two sizable balls of the rich, bitter chocolate, both with the same deliciously creamy texture, necessary with the vanilla ice cream to balance the flavours.
If you’re after something a bit fruitier, then go for the Passionfruit Marshmallow with coriander ice, coconut, and fresh mango. Also available is a plate of Yuzu Curd with short bread, meringue, basil, and mandarin.
The Tilbury Hotel
Address: 12–18 Nicholson Street, Woolloomooloo
Contact: (02) 9368 1955
Hours: Mon-Sat noon-3pm, 6pm-10pm; Sun noon-5pm.