Abbotts Hotel Waterloo has quietly unveiled a renovation and foodie drawcard owner Bill Smith has aimed at the “sweet spot” for pubs, in the moving target of patron expectations.
The relentless march of the foodie to re-invented gastro pubs has become almost militaristic in the fringes of Sydney, as revellers rejoice in sensibly priced meals that rival top-dollar morsels at expensive restaurants.
While the standard of food has risen dramatically, Smith says the fundamentals of what makes a good pub haven’t changed too much.
“I think it’s a combination of good service and a pleasant environment, with great product and terrific food,” he replied. “If we can get those things in the right balance then I think we’ll have a successful business.
“We bought the hotel 5 years ago, and in that time we’ve seen an enormous change in our demographic. The urbanisation and gentrification of Waterloo and Redfern has been going along at breakneck speed, and with that we’ve seen a change in the tastes of our customers.”
The terrific food will be coming courtesy of Smith’s secret weapon – Masud – veteran chef of many Sydney eateries, including Merivale’s Coogee Pavilion.
The humble and slightly enigmatic Masud is reportedly performing miracles with pub staples such as the $10 steak, and has greatly expanded the increasingly popular vegetarian menu, boasting feasts of caramelised pumpkin and fetta.
It is envisioned Masud will lead the evolution of Abbott’s into a food haven for the Redfern area.
Boldly facing the tide of change, the hotel has morphed from being a predominantly beer pub to a neighbourhood pub, enjoying the company of young and old locals, inner-city hipsters and the traditional clients in an all-welcome atmosphere.
Smith says he continues to try to be the place his customers want to be.
“I think all publicans in the city are trying to find the sweet spot whilst moving with very rapidly changing times, by offering a friendly, relaxed and safe environment with really good food … the cornerstones of a lot of the great pubs in our area.”
Abbott’s Hotel is located at 45-47 Botany Road, Waterloo, and open every day.