Review by Tom Lodewyke
The Phoenix Hotel glows like a beacon in the quiet, leafy streets of suburban Woollahra. Tucked away just off Oxford Street, opposite Centennial Park, it is a welcome change of pace from the bustling city, yet still comfortably close by bus or car. The Phoenix puts a modern Greek spin on the local pub – a place stylish enough for a date and relaxed enough for beers after work. The décor is pared back and simple, with an emphasis on the exposed brickwork of the original pub. Assorted fruits and vegetables gleam behind the otherwise unadorned bar, rustic in a slick, contemporary way.
The extensive, moderately priced drinks menu is the Phoenix’s standout, featuring something for every taste. There are nine delicious cocktails available, including the sweet and sour ‘Fluffy Phoenix’ (grapefruit & passionfruit juice & Liquor 43, $18) and the funky ‘Hendrick Twist and Shout’ (Hendricks gin & muddled grapes, $18). The refreshing, summery margarita ‘I Carried a Watermelon’ (Don Julio Tequila, watermelon juice, fresh mint, $18) is highly recommended, though diabolically easy to drink.
There is also a spectrum of craft beers on offer, from local favourites like Coopers ($5.80) and Angry Man ($8.80) to authentic Greek import Mythos ($9). Or if you go ape for the grape, the Phoenix has a fine selection of Aussie red, white and sparkling wines, sprinkled with a few European and New Zealand imports. Prices range from $35 for some of the NSW bottles to up around the nineties for a taste of Europe.
The food is a fusion of Mediterranean and Aussie cuisine, with everything from steak and chips (300g steak, $30) to Crab Angel Hair (not real hair, $25). Opt for one of the substantial mains or nibble one of the sides, such as the tender, savoury beef carpaccio ($16) or the antipasto ($13), and fill up on the range of delicious craft beers. It’s up to you. Phoenix gives you the space and the ingredients for your night to turn out however you want.