The White Cockatoo — or The Cock, as it was affectionately known — is the latest in a string of old fogey pubs to be torn apart and put back together, for Gen Y's drinking pleasure. So pull up a seat, order a beer and get reacquainted with the pub in its new incarnation as West Village, a brand new 130-year-old hotel in the heart of Petersham.
The much-loved Cock was snatched up late last year by Goodtime Hospitality, a newly established hospitality group consisting of entrepreneur James Bodel and Locky Paech (ex-The Norfolk and The Forresters). Over the last year they've had a thorough overhaul, championing the original heritage details and laying waste to anything that was awkward and ugly. In one heroic gesture they demolished the old pokies room (hurrah!) and replaced it with a light-filled courtyard (double hurrah!). Now known as the 'patio', this area is soon to operate as a standalone cafe, so you can expect to see lots of smiling commuters getting on at Petersham station, coffee in hand.
The West Village pub menu consists of modern Australian share plates and main dishes put together by Paech and head chef Sam Thomson (ex-Catalina). Undoubtedly, some will lament the exit of the legendary monster schnitzels from the good ol' Cock days, and as a peace offering, West Village are serving up a darn good veal schnitty, pan-fried in lemon and caper burnt butter ($22). But if you can't be consoled, you can track down the old ones at The Goni's Schnitzelria in Marrickville.
One of the main indicators used to determine a good pub is the steak test. At West Village you can choose between an ethically-farmed fillet steak ($28) or porterhouse ($20). Both are branded with dark caramelisation, evenly cooked and plump with juices, thanks to a highly refined technique. Each steak comes with a choice of side dish. I went for the crispy potato spuds in truffle oil and parmesan, but you can opt for peas, mint and feta, spiced kale chips, coleslaw or seeded mustard potato mash if you think you know better.
The one dish on the menu that's raising eyebrows is the kimchi poutine ($12). That’s right, I said kimchi poutine. It's a serving of fries covered with kimchi (fermented cabbage, chilli, carrot, radish and spring onion) topped with melted cheese and sour cream. While it's hardly the food pairing of the century, it still gets top marks for originality and a participation ribbon for giving it a go. A safer bet however would be the blue swimmer crab roll filled with avocado and celery ($12) or the deep fried crumbed camembert, served with chargrilled sourdough, a sweet balsamic reduction and rocket.
As far as the drinks go, there's a stellar wine list on show, which has been curated by Andrew Jamieson Wine Merchants, coupled with a wide selection of craft beers and negroni on tap, for those who need their cocktail in five seconds flat. Welcome to the neighbourhood, old friend.
Images: Alana Dimou