Sometimes, after days and days of brilliant, mood-lifting sunshine, you wake to life in a fog and going from the office to the coffee shop becomes an exercise in patience. Sometimes, on days like this when you feel like you are living in the middle of a cloud, you will get an email. And that email will say "ribs are on special at the st patrick's tavern, opposite the grace hotel. ribs on special!!! may we?" And you will say "we may! today?" And sometimes, somehow, the fog will lift. While waiting, I'd spotted a firm comfort food favourite. Meat. With beer. And potato. All together. Made by Irish people. Ahhhhh...
St Patrick's Tavern ("St Pat's Tav" to the regulars) isn't exactly impressive looking from street side. But, if you wander down the carpeted stairs, past the bar with the tvs, the pokies on the left and the empty buffet unit on the right, you'll hit a clearing of wooden tables and the smell of slow cooked meat.
We were both delayed by the rain, the Mouth-Closed-Cat and I. He, even more than I. While waiting, I spotted a group of three out to a business lunch, a family with toddler fussing over fries, and an elderly couple enjoying a break from the humidity.
"They changed the special!" he exclaimed, on arrival. "I'll have to have steak instead!"
No matter to me, I'd already decided on something else.
special: angus rump (350gm) with potatoes and mushroom gravy $18
The Cat's steak arrived first. He'd ordered rare. "I like my meat bloody" he said, by way of explanation. Unfortunately for him, there was no blood to be seen. It was, for the most part, closer to medium-rare. In some patches it was medium, and in others, almost done. The muchroom gravy made up for it though. Rich and earthy - and particularly good when sopped up with the crunchy hemispheres of potato.
beef & guinness stew served with creamy mash potato $16.95
I don't know whether it was the miserable weather outside, the raucous conversation that built over lunch, or just sheer Irish genius, but that stew was just right. Tender cubes of beef, slow cooked until the fat was just melted out. And tasting, distinctly, but not overpoweringly, of the musty, yeasty, dark brew that they'd been cooked in. I loved it so much, I even ate the carrots.
But then the mashed potato started to expand in my stomach. And it was time to go trudge trudge trudging back through the sludgy muddy streets that led back to work. But this time, I had a lighter step, and a warmer tummy. And that made it all oh-kay.
St Patricks Tavern
66 King St, Sydney NSW 2000
ph (02) 9262 3277
While waiting, I'd spotted a firm comfort food favourite. Meat. With beer. And potato. All together. Made by Irish people. Ahhhhh...