Review: Frisco Hotel (Woolloomooloo) pushes into a new era with an exciting new look and menu

A warm Summer’s day became cooler as the breeze off the Woolloomooloo water blew towards The Frisco Hotel that lies one block away from the water. Tightly-wound townhouses are stacked up the street, as the maritime blue poles of the nautical themed herald a new era for the long-standing pub. Under new management, the 13-week makeover involves the introduction of an attractive new menu where the spotlight is on seafood and vibrant cocktails.

The 'Grilled Miso Salmon' - shitake and enoki mushroom with chefs signature miso suace
‘Grilled Miso Salmon’ – shitake and enoki mushroom with chefs signature miso sauce.
'Slow Cooked Pork' - crisp skinned confit pork with spinach puree and chili miso.
‘Slow Cooked Pork’ – crisp skinned confit pork with spinach puree and chili miso.

The Grilled Miso Salmon ($24) was a must have after viewing the new menu on our recent visit. The signature sauce is a disciplined hybrid of miso with hints of satay. The mushrooms added an earthy rawness that cut through the soft, flaking salmon fillet and complemented the aromatic miso. This miso, Asian influence is again present in the Slow Cooked Pork ($24) where tender pork melted in the mouth and was kept afloat by a spinach puree that was paired with chili miso that cut through with necessary heat. The Mini Lobster Rolls ($16) are tiny mounds of  lobster meat that expel strong, alluring smells of the ocean alongside the Popcorn Shrimp ($15) that are golden and sticky and part of a deceivingly large portion.

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‘Popcorn Shrimp’ – diced shrimp fritter tossed in mild spicy mayo

Fried in squid ink batter, the Fried Calamari ($14) are larger-than-mouth size pieces of calamari that have their ‘fishy’ notes complement by the salty and ultra crispy squid ink. Being able to compare calamari directly against the Grilled Cuttlefish ($14) highlights the more-tender and softer nature of cuttlefish. It’s simple preparation and garnishment allows for the flavors of the sea to shine and be the true hero of this dish.

'Grilled Cuttlefish' with chili, garlic, parsley and lemon.
‘Grilled Cuttlefish’ with chili, garlic, parsley and lemon.
'Fried Calamari' - squid ink batter and accompanied by saffron aioli
‘Fried Calamari’ – squid ink batter and accompanied by saffron aioli.

As new owner Adam Micola told us, the downstairs area features a fully-functioning bar whilst the upstairs is the domain of in-house drinks manager Bec who has overseen the curation of a unique cocktail experience.

'Dark and Foamy' - gingerbread liqueur and rum
‘Dark and Foamy’ – gingerbread liqueur and rum.

The Dark and Foamy is a standout on the long list of creations. Sweet, rich and oaky – this cocktail encapsulates the Christmas spirit in a drink. It is pure seduction to the point you wish they sold the aroma of the drink as a perfume/cologne. In other words, if love had a smell, it’d be this.

'Breakfast at Tiffanys' - Hendricks gin, Contreu, Orange Juice, Lime Juice, English breakfast marmalade, egg white and lemon bitters.
‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ – Hendricks gin, Contreu, orange Juice, lime juice, English breakfast marmalade, egg white and lemon bitters.

Just as the ocean breeze cut through the Summer heat, light and aromatic dishes breathe a new life into The Frisco Hotel. If anything, you’ll find the portion sizes lacking but that’s all the more reason to go in a group and make full use of the share-style food.

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The Frisco Hotel

Address: 46 Dowling Street, Woolloomooloo, Sydney
Contact: (02) 9357 1800
Website: www.friscohotel.com.au