In a rapidly gentrifying area, the renovation of Redfern's Tudor House could have gone horribly wrong. But after changing hands earlier this year, its had what is more a smart update than a radical reinvention. Thankfully, they've resisted the urge to dump the hotel's old-school feel for a lot of stainless steel and trend-of-the-month decor; the instantly recognisable mock Tudor façade and English Inn vibe are still in place, though with a bit of spit and polish applied.
It's a friendly space, taking in a courtyard with hanging lights and a side bar where locals keep an eye on the horse races while a dog rests against the bar. In the spiffed-up dining area, large windows let in the breeze and hubbub from the street.
The menu skews towards quality pub fare, with favourites like Panko-crumbed schnitzel, spring rolls and wagyu burgers on the menu. The Tudor signature nachos ($18) are part of the snacks and sides list, but big enough to be a meal on their own. It's a hearty affair with scoops of gazpacho and sour cream and a range of hot sauces to spice it up to your liking.
Soy honey-glazed pork dumplings ($10) are a sticky and moreish starter, while a risotto ($20) with plump South Australian prawns and a dash of chilli is a satisfying main. Another pub classic with a slight twist is the craft cider battered fish fillet ($19), which comes with fat chips and creamy house-made tartare sauce. Finish up with sticky date pudding ($9), a nicely moist version of an evergreen dessert.
While competitors have wholeheartedly embraced craft beers, The Tudor is mainly sticking with the tried and true, though there are some interesting beers from the likes of Fat Yak and Yenta.The wine list comes in small or large sizes, which is a nice touch, and includes a range of solid Australian options like the citrusy Miceli pinot grigio ($8/$13/$38) or the Petaluma White Label pinot gris ($8.50/$14/$40), from the Adelaide Hills.
There's a lively trivia night on Wednesdays and a generally inviting, low-key vibe. In a street where things are rapidly changing, The Tudor Hotel's decision to renew rather than reinvent themselves gets the thumbs up.