Meet the chef behind the dish
Photography courtesy of Newy Digital
Is this Newcastle’s best pub menu?
If you’ve dropped into the city centre’s corner pub recently, no doubt you’ve seen the constant stream of people heading in for a drink or a hearty meal. Wondering what all the fuss is about?
Named ‘the peoples pub’ and with one look over the menu - you can see why.
Catching up with head chef, Darryl Burns we chatted about how he has come to be one of the most sought-after chefs in Newcastle and what his plans are for the city centre’s favourite pub.
Originally from Raymond Terrace, Darryl qualified as a chef right here in Newcastle and bounced around a number of restaurants and cafes across the greater Hunter region before moving North to Brisbane and then the Sunshine Coast.
Following a 10+ years up North, Darryl headed to Europe where he spent time travelling through Austria, Poland, Germany, Budapest and a few other spots before returning to Austria to spend YEARS in a fine-dining steakhouse.
“The food was amazing. I want to try and bring that food back here. Something that Newcastle doesn’t have. I want us to stand out with different food,” Darryl said.
It’s now been 19, going on 20 years in the industry and Darryl wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I just love trying different foods. You always learn, you never stop. To come back into Newcastle like this and see what we could do for the place. I can’t wait for it…I want it to still be a landmark that people come to and say oh shit that place is off the hook.”
Kicking off as head chef at the Great Northern Hotel in January this year, just prior to COVID restrictions coming into place. Darryl and the team in the kitchen completely overhauled the menu but were soon faced with having to switch things up and offer takeaway meals, which whilst popular at the time, Darryl was keen to get back to what he does best; high-quality pub food.
“COVID for us allowed us to open back up with 5 pub classics, and we’re at the stage where we’re only just now getting back to that full menu.
“We’re slowly building that menu and getting the whole team around it. It was by far the best thing we’ve done and by far the best thing about COVID is that we could essentially re-build in the kitchen.”
Looking over the menu, at first glance it’s just like any old pub menu, but a closer look shows it’s certainly got its own twist.
“We kept the classics of course, but things like the steak and the salmon and the seafood marinara; those dishes we can really put a twist on and a touch of delicacy.”
It’s pub food, but not as you know it.
Kick off with a round of Truffle & Mushroom Arancini with house made aioli and Garlic Bread for the table. For the seafood lovers, we’d recommend the Seafood Linguine Marinara, the gloriously presented Green Curry & Seafood with black and jasmine rice, or the Crispy Skin Tasmanian Salmon with roast potatoes and vege.
Classics more your thing? Sample the Seasoned Chicken Wings, Crumbed Lamb Cutlets with house made truffle mash, greens, and gravy, the 250g NY Cut Steak with roast potatoes and vege or of course, your trusty Chicken Schnitzel.
Vegetarian? Vegan? The kitchen has got you covered with not only options, but dishes that pack a punch when it comes to flavour. Try the Vegan ‘Meatballs’ and pasta with Napoli sauce or the green Vege Burger with ‘beef’ patty, beetroot pesto, pumpkin, salad and chips.
Also serving your carbs cravings with three pizza options, but in true GNH fashion; it’s served with a bit of a twist; sliced up and on boards! Variety includes the Chili Chicken with caramelised onion, capsicum, mozzarella, and honey sriracha, the Beef and Bacon with caramelised onion and honey BBQ sauce or the Vege & Pesto with capsicum, zucchini, mozzarella and pesto sauce.
Wash it all down with a signature Great Northern Hotel cocktail or choose one from the classics list. Browse the extensive wine list or get on the beers!
When asked what he loves about the joint, Darryl explained…
“The atmosphere and the people. I love the people and the vibe. We’re all friends, we’re all family and we all work together, and I love that. It makes for a much happier place to work.”
It’s not news that the Great Northern Hotel has big plans for the venue, and us being the foodies that we are, we had to ask about what’s in the works for upstairs…
“Eventually, there will be a whiskey and wine bar, a rooftop bar and hopefully in a couple years we’ll even have a beer garden. The grand plan is sports bar and gaming will fill one whole end and will extend out into the side, downstairs will be your locals pub and then upstairs will be fine dining and cocktails!”
The corner pub is well and truly back on track selling quality food, and with being open Mon-Sun for lunch all day through to dinner and with heaps happening with live music, lunch specials and more; we’re excited to spend our Summer at the Great Northern Hotel and to see what’s to come in their future!