The Rover

The revamped neighbourhood bar has returned to provide casual tipples and refined seafood dishes to Surry Hills.
Orlaith Costello
Published on May 02, 2023
Updated on June 19, 2023


The Rover has returned  — dropping its "wild" moniker and with it, the jungle wallpaper — emerging as a sophisticated Surry Hills dining and drink destination tucked behind the same green door at the end of Campbell Street. It may have shed its dive bar energy but there are still hints of its Irish-themed past remaining with a plethora of whiskies on the drinks list, freshly shucked oysters, the repurposed train board listing and the Irish coffee on the dessert menu.

The wine list — curated by Liquid & Larder head sommelier Kyle Poole — features over 50 interesting drops, highlighting complex but approachable organic and biodynamic wines. Seasonal cocktails join the drinks list curated by 2019 Australian Bartender of the Year Alex Gondzioulis. Plus, the aforementioned plethora of whiskies includes drams from America, Ireland, Scotland, Japan and, of course, Australia.

It doesn't stop at the extensive drinks menu. In addition to the freshly shucked oysters, famous lamb sausage roll and fish finger sandwich on the New-England-inspired bar food menu on the ground level, you'll find a refined seafood bistro upstairs — the brainchild of British-born executive chef Pip Pratt. He explains "We wanted to elevate the restaurant experience for our guests with dishes that let seafood shine. This is fresh and fuss-free coastal fare best enjoyed with friends and great drinks in hand."

Highlights of the menu include a daily rotation of crustaceans, a whole flathead served with lashings of garlic and clams, Nick's fisherman's pie with smoked trout and potato gratin and eel pate served with horseradish jelly and a glazed crumpet — a modern take on a traditional East London dish dating back to the 18th century when jellied eels were once a primary source for the city's working class.

The revamped Rover is part of the Liquid & Larder hospitality group along with Grandma's, Bistecca and The Gidley. Reservations for the seafood bistro are available between 5–9pm, Monday–Saturday, as well as from 12pm for lunch on Saturday. Reservations can be made through the website or phone.


Updated May 2, 2023.

Images: Dominic Lonergan


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