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Lasque Tiarc

Het Witte Paard has reopened with Top Hospo talent at the helm

Vaseline 2 months ago

Surry Hills’ The White Horse joins the many Sydney venues that have recently received a makeover, with an iconic pub converted into a stunning new dining destination. After a massive revamp, this Crown Street venue opened its doors to the public on Wednesday 17 April, unveiling a brand new look and revitalized concept.

The sturdy center in the city center now offers space for 170 guests, spread over two spacious floors, with a cozy restaurant on the ground floor and a leafy garden bar on the top floor. The new approach revolves around elegant dishes that don’t cost much, served in a refined but informal space.

Public garden bar in the renovated White Horse pub.

Director Craig Hemmings (ex-Quay, Chin Chin Sydney, Guillaume at Bennelong and Bistro Guillaume) helms the reboot, which is joined by a stacked line-up of hospitality heavyweights. Executive Chef Jed Gerrard (ex-Wildflower, Hearth and currently also Culinary Director at Wills Domain in Margaret River) is in charge of the kitchen, while wine consultant James Audas (Lo-Fi Wines, Bar Heather, Noma, Tetsuya’s) and cocktail consultant Michael Chiem (PS40, Bulletin Place, Sokyo) will provide the drinks. The team is completed by General Manager Maureen Er (Manly Greenhouse, Tetsuya’s, Cho Cho San), who will look after the location and its customers.

“We are thrilled to bring this old girl back to life,” says Hemmings. “We approached Het Witte Paard with a contemporary lens, taking the offering to the next level without the price tag.”

The interior of the restaurant was designed by Farago Han Studio (The Waratah) and is welcoming and intimate. Featuring a soft, neutral color palette, paired with khaki and navy blue leather seating and textured walls – designed to harken back to Surry Hills’ foundations – the venue also doubles as a space for both daytime dining and fine dining.

Ground flood restaurant in the renovated White Horse pub.

As for the top floor garden terrace, the public bar takes inspiration from the airy courtyards and rooftop bars dotted around the CBD. The navy blue, terracotta and cream color scheme reflects the relaxed character of the pub, with comfortable lounges and velvet footstools to match. Additionally, the pub’s walls are decorated with an array of beautiful artwork on both floors.

The White Horse keeps its fame with approachable dining at the forefront of its ethos. The menu features top quality local produce, with highlights including Abrolhos Island scallops with kohlrabi and wasabi leaf, squid ink glazed toothfish and a Berkshire pork cheek accompanied by sugarloaf cabbage and nashi pear. The garden bar’s menu is all about snacks, with plates like toasted brioche with liver mousse, lamb chops with black olives and a Wagyu steak sandwich with fries.

“My focus is on using great ingredients smartly so that our guests can enjoy dishes that deliver more than they bargained for,” says Chef Gerrard.

Toothfish glazed with squid ink from the ground flood restaurant of the renovated White Horse pub.

The homemade cocktails follow this example, focusing on local ingredients. Opt for a hearty old-fashioned version with Enokido white miso caramel; a sip of Davidson plum and white rum called the Queen’s Gambit; or a strawberry yuzu spritz on tap – a collaboration between Bizzarro and PS40 – in the restaurant. Upstairs, the fruity Billionaire, starring Giffard rhubarb with dark rum, and the bourbon-based Continental lead the garden bar’s cocktail menu.

As for vino, Audas has put together an extensive selection of 100 wines, from organic and biodynamic to regenerative drinks. You’ll find that half of the wines come from Australian and New Zealand producers, while the remaining drops are imported from Europe.

“We will feature some of the better-known names in the organic sector, as well as names that may be a new discovery for many,” Audas said. “Some styles will be more classic for drinking, and others are there to challenge and excite.”

Dish from the ground flood restaurant in the renovated White Horse pub.

Public garden bar in the renovated White Horse pub.

Dish from the ground flood restaurant in the renovated White Horse pub.

Ground flood restaurant in the renovated White Horse pub.

Dish from the ground flood restaurant in the renovated White Horse pub.

The White Horse is open every Wednesday to Sunday from 5pm until late at 381 Crown St in Surry Hills.

Image credits: Steve Woodburn and Gavin Green.