Pub Life Kitchen, Ruby L'otel Rozelle

Eat, Sydney / 9 May 2016

More than just your typical pub burger at Pub Life Kitchen

If you are a person with eyes, you’ve probably noticed the takeover of pub style food in Sydney. Neil Perry opened Burger Project, Bennelong released a toastie and about a billion burger places have popped up like daisies all over Sydney. And now local hero Pub Life Kitchen are spreading their wings. They first opened in Macquarie Hotel in 2010 before moving to the Lord Wolseley Hotel in Ultimo. They’ve opened their second venue in The Ruby L’Otel in Rozelle.
Pub Life Kitchen
Their short-but-sweet list of burgers have garnered many 5 star reviews on their Facebook page, and are usual suspects on many “Best Burger Lists” that frequent the Internet. So, it’s safe to say, we went in with high expectations.
Ruby L’Otel is an unassuming pub, sitting on the hill right next to the Sydney Community College in Rozelle, on the very busy freeway of Victoria Road. It’s not a place you’d expect to find a mind-blowing burger. We’re were convinced we are in the wrong place when we first enter this dinky di Aussie pub. As we walk out the back, through the glass doors the vibe changes to more of a beachside bistro.
Pub Life Kitchen
A massive picture of palm tree silhouettes standing before an orange sunset lines the backbar. It’s apparently the beach from Scarface in Miami and it compliments the beach-style burger hut look they’re going for. Perhaps they are trying to say “hello to their little friend”, in the form of burgers rather than Tony Montana’s machine gun. The vibe is laid-back and easy, with hanging lights in the open terrace out the front. Billy Joel blasts through the speakers along with other same classic hits throughout the evening.
Pub Life Kitchen
There’s more than just burgers on the menu here at Pub Life Kitchen but we only have one thing on our mind. There are three burgers on the menu to choose from. There’s the O.G, which is also available at the Ultimo venue. But we decide to go with the Don Ruby, exclusively available to Rozelle. It’s identical to The O.G burger with a salted aged patty, American cheese and pickles but instead of the special PLK aioli, this one has a black truffle and garlic aioli, which we also get on the side. We also decide to try The Bird, their fried chicken burger for good measure.
Pub Life Kitchen
Both burgers certainly pass the test – a good bun to patty ratio that allows you to grab it with both hands. They both maintain their integrity to the last bite, no falling to pieces. The Don Ruby salted aged patty has good subtle flavours, and the addition of that truffle mayo certainly has a bite to it, with a strong hit of truffle. However, if we’re comparing burgers, the classic Mary’s burger in Newtown still trumps in my humble opinion.
Pub Life Kitchen
The Bird, however certainly has me squawking. As I bite into that crunchy piece of buttermilk fried chicken encased in two soft buns, along with cheese, tomato, pickles and a green sriarcha mayo, I’m in heaven. The juices from the chicken drip down my fingers, no dry bird here. Perhaps the sauce is not as spicy as sriarcha mayo typically is, but it still works. And of course we opt to add on bacon for an extra $4, which is certainly a good choice.
Pub Life Kitchen
Both burgers come with a side of shoestring fries that are nothing special, but with such a massive burger you don’t really need them. Get your daily dose of veggies in with an order of crispy brussel sprouts, as well as some corn-on-the-cob (lathered in butter, but delicious). To drink, there’s a great range of beers in bottles and on tap, as well as house spirits and wines.
The Pub Life Kitchen Burger Experiments that bring crowds to Ultimo every Wednesday will also be at Rozelle except on Fridays instead. At Ruby L’Otel, they consider themselves a less burger-focused menu than at the Lord Wolesley, with lots of other classic pub options to try if you can resist that burger. There’s braised beef cheeks with truffled potato purée and serrano ham, pumpkin and walnut tortellini with sage and burnt butter and much more.
A pub and a kitchen that’s hard to find but not one to miss. It’s certainly already got the locals hooked with a full house at the front bar. But with Pub Life Kitchen now at that back, this bistro is a welcome addition, just like the black truffle and garlic mayo.
Pub Life Kitchen Rozelle 
The Ruby L’otel: 68 Victoria Road, Rozelle
Mon – Sun: 12pm – 3pm, 5pm – 9pm
See website