Delectable: Wagyu burgers with a side of deviled spinach salad. *Photo by Sarah Lagan
Delectable: Wagyu burgers with a side of deviled spinach salad. *Photo by Sarah Lagan

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 15: The service at the Newport Room Gastro Pub was second to none during my visit earlier this month.

At no point was I left waiting for too long, the staff were friendly and chatty and helpful.

The food, while not up to the gourmet standards of the old establishment, was still delicious.

I started with the mini Wagyu burgers which were juicy and full of taste. They are tiny — two was fine for me as part of a four-course meal but as a sole starter you might want to go for three. 

With the starter I ordered the deviled spinach salad which was a hit, the creamy eggs perfectly countered the salty bacon and blue cheese dressing. The sherry vinaigrette brought it up another level.

I was offered a taste of the drunken mussels with white wine, garlic and cherry tomatoes which are a must — a real tangy treat.

For the main course I chose the fish and chips made with sole fillet which I actually prefer to the mainstay rockfish used here. I’m from Britain where the fish and chips are world class — we don’t excel in a great deal of cuisine but our fish and chips are second to none.

While The Newport Room were good they were not excellent — they use steak chips instead of hand cut, fried chips, and creamy mushy peas made from petit pois rather than the harder, salty marrowfat peas.

The fish itself was good — fresh, cooked in a beer batter as they should be, but more steaky than flakey.

There are so many other delicious sounding main meals such as the steak frites with roasted marrow, or the organic chicken with creamed potato and wild ‘shrooms’.

As the menu suggests I had to undo my trousers for the dessert — the delicious lemon pudding with spiced cookies and blueberry compote — an absolute treat.

I did not eat from the charcuterie but the fresh meats, shucked oysters, prawns, mussels and clams looked delectable. Definitely worth a try on my next visit.

The presentation is on the rustic side with slate and wooden plates, which is a nice touch, and the atmosphere is laid back and friendly.

Main meals now range from between $20 and $30, quite a dip in price from the previous establishment which, for the majority of us, would be reserved for only the most special occasions.

The décor and feel to the restaurant is now confused — it looks the same as the old Newport Room with the romantic nautical wood and brass trims, but they have taken the beautiful model ships away and fixed a host of TV screens to the ceilings to watch news and sports on.

Work is underway to change the décor but don’t wait until then — the food is great and service excellent.

Sarah Lagan was given a complimentary meal at the Newport Room.