The Potts Point Hotel takes out the sugar but adds some spice!
The Sugar Mill had stood in the heart of Kings Cross for years, serving as a beloved, reliable pub and providing much-needed libations. In the “new” Kings Cross, ravished by the toils of the lockout laws and failing venues The Sugar Mill has changed hands, having been previously part of the Keystone Group. After weeks of renovation, The Sugar Mill has now re-emerged as Potts Point Hotel, with a new modernised fit-out and menu. The food focuses on deep-south American smoked meats, slow-cooked for up 8 hours daily with native woods. They still have regular pub classics including burgers, steaks, and a Andouille hotdog, drenched in cheddar. But, today, we dabble mostly in this special modern smokehouse-style menu.
The new cocktail list has been designed by Rollo Anderson (formerly of The Rook), so you can be ensured there are some good combinations at work here. To pay homage to the suburb with it’s rich history, all their cocktails are tributes to old-school Kings Cross celebrities. We loved the Carlotta Collins ($17), their take on the Tom Collins. An homage to the “tall and refreshingly different” Carlotta – a transgender pioneer in Kings Cross who was an original cast member of the infamous Les Girls cabaret show. Tom Collins is usually pretty simple with gin, lemon juice and soda water, but their Carlotta has a bit more fun with Aperol and ruby grapefruit added. It tastes as sweet as a lollipop and we can’t stop sipping!
We also try their Marty Sharp Shandy ($18), with Don Julio Blanco, blood orange, pineapple, coriander, topped with lager. It’s a tribute to the prominent Sydney architect and designer. When the shandy hits the table, we are instantly hit by the scent of tequila. We love it and enjoy the well-balanced, delicious take on a shandy.
An intriguing starter with no description simply “burnt ends” ($18) captures our attention. Shortly after bits of beef, pork and other obscure meats all mixed in a bowl is placed before us. These are the ends of the meats that they use in their smoker. Don’t be off put- they’re incredibly tasty. Don’t think about it, just enjoy pieces of plump, charred meat and try adding some wasabi BBQ sauce for a smokey and spicy accompaniment.
Not quite as exciting as the burnt ends are their fish tacos ($13). Two decent sized tacos with garlic mayo, cabbage, jalapeño, and a crunchy little rice puff come in each serving. There’s a good amount of spice in each bite but we’d love more garlic mayo next time.
For mains, we glance over their signature smoker range and land on the Carolina pulled pork shoulder. ($25) With every meal from the smoker menu you get their signature cornbread – a less dense, fluffy version of bread that is typical in the US, as well as pickles and delicious BBQ sauce. All-in-all, the elements on the tray all work well together. The pulled pork melts in your mouth and is cooked well.
For a lighter meal, we match the pork shoulder with their smoked trout salad, with kipfler potato, watercress and cumin mustard dressing ($18). The creamy dressing and hit of mustard ties everything together. Eating something fresh and green, is also nice after consuming so much meat. Add the grilled asparagus which is nicely seasoned with some lemon and olive oil. And because corn on the cob is essential for any American-style BBQ, the grilled corn topped with cheese.
The menu at the Potts Point Hotel is definitely a step-up from their previous menu, but not without an increase in price. It’s a great spot for a long, lazy lunch, filled with slow-cooked meats and cocktails as you watch the folk of Kings Cross go by. Open until 4am everyday, we are sure some shenanigans go on here early in the morning. This is paired with friendly service, the kind of ol’ Southern Hospitality that you’d expect at a great American smokehouse. And while not all the dishes are a hit, it certainly ups the spice from the ol’ Sugar Mill.
Potts Point Hotel
33-35 Darlinghurst Rd, Sydney
Sun – Thurs: 11:30am-4am, Fri – Sat: 10am – 4am