The Paddo Inn Bar & Grill, Padding­ton.

For­get the lists and the ac­co­lades. Matt Mo­ran’s sleek Padding­ton pub restau­rant is serv­ing up top- class fare with smooth ser­vice for an all- round great meal out

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Stellar - - Contents - 338 Ox­ford St, Padding­ton. pad­doinn.com.au THE PADDO INN BAR & GRILL: RE­VIEWED BY AN­THONY HUCKSTEP

HOW do you rate a su­perb din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence at a venue that wouldn’t come at the top of restau­rant rank­ing lists? This is the quandary I have with The Paddo Inn Bar & Grill. Can a pub be given the same score as a renowned fine diner with a string of awards?

Back when I thought it mat­tered if a waiter for­got to fill your wa­ter glass or didn’t clear the plates quickly enough, I would take notes in the toi­lets when re­view­ing restau­rants. I’d write down ev­ery de­tail. But while these minu­tiae are im­por­tant in help­ing us sort the wheat from the chaff, most of us sim­ply want a place to share great food with peo­ple we like.

Owned by the So­li­tel Group, The Paddo Inn is where co-owner Matt Mo­ran got his first head chef gig. And so it is a com­ing home of sorts, with Mo­ran tak­ing over late last year. It opened with a fine din­ing of­fer­ing, but re­launched seven months later with a more ca­sual grill. Mo­ran him­self has said the re­fresh was about giv­ing the lo­cals what they re­ally wanted.

The new, un­der­stated fit-out ben­e­fits from smart light­ing sprawl­ing out from tex­tured cream walls that are adorned in framed, black and white line draw­ings.

The ser­vice, led by restau­rant man­ager Brooke Adey, is solid and con­fi­dent, help­ing to cre­ate that com­fort­able hum you find in good eater­ies. The wine list is just as im­pres­sive, with a well-priced mix of the fa­mil­iar and new world va­ri­eties to choose from.

In the kitchen, head chef Laura Bar­ratto (Chiswick at the Gallery) shows con­sid­ered re­straint, re­ly­ing on good in­gre­di­ents and sim­ple, well-ex­e­cuted cook­ery.

Creme fraiche and sweet pick­led cu­cum­ber play devil’s ad­vo­cate to the sub­tle depth of salmon gravlax.

Then, a thick, lean and blush­ingly pink Berk­shire pork cut­let makes a nice change from the pork belly, which is seen on so many restau­rant menus. Charred cab­bage adds a smoky, earthy di­men­sion to the dish.

True to Mo­ran style, the menu fea­tures some of Aus­tralia’s best beef pro­duc­ers. There’s Dar­ling Downs scotch fil­let from Queens­land and Jacks Creek MSB2 T-bone from New South Wales. The ruby-red Rangers Val­ley rump cap stakes a claim for the best steak cut. It ar­rives with half a dressed baby gem let­tuce and our choice of condi­ment.

For dessert, a de­light­ful cus­tard tart is topped with a light brulee, un­der­pinned by good pas­try and Chan­tilly cream. I wanted to lick ev­ery sin­gle plate clean.

The Paddo Inn may be a pub restau­rant, but if ev­ery es­tab­lish­ment ful­filled their prom­ise to pa­trons as con­vinc­ingly as this, there wouldn’t be much need for lists.

4/5 $$$

From top: the in­ti­mate space, the salmon gravlax, and the so­phis­ti­cated din­ing room.

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