Some of Sydney's best foodmasters have joined forces to take over The Unicorn on Oxford Street. Mary's owners Jake Smyth and Kenny Graham have teamed up with Bodega/Porteno's Elvis Abrahanowicz and Young's Henrys' Oscar McMahon as a Sydney supergroup to revamp the Paddington pub. Yeah, holy crap. And now it's open.
It's not a Mary's in the eastern suburbs, it's a craft beer pub, and it's not the dreaded buzzword: a gastropub. It's a pub the lads would drink in themselves. With no TVs and no pokies, but a reclaimed red gum bar and native Australian flora illustrations, the revamped Unicorn is an Aussie-inspired pub without the tacky trimmings — although VB sits proudly on tap beside Young Henrys brews.
Speaking of tipples, the dranks in this establishment is largely and wonderfully local, with a totally Australian wine list — some of South Australia's top South Australian winemakers (think Tara Ochota, James Erskine and Tom Shobbrook) are already armed with wine for the new pub. Obviously Young Henrys have plenty of goodies behind the bar, but there's also a round-up of Australian beers represented.
With the minds behind Mary's and Porteno behind this, what of the nosh? Abrahanowicz is in charge of the menus, and the horizon is pub food done well, going back to basics instead of doing any fancy schmany modern twists — roast chicken, both 'daily' and 'fancy' steak, and generous sangas with cheese, chutney and glazed ham cut right off the bone. Obviously, there's Mary's burgers on the menu too.
This will hopefully be a long and happy new chapter for The Unicorn, who just closed their doors a few months ago — along with the closure of '70s basement bar Easy Tiger. Redesigned in March 2014, after a disastrously Westfield-like renovation of Fringe Bar in 2012, The Unicorn seemed to have found its Paddington groove once more. But after closing up shop, here's hoping the Mary's, Young Henrys and Porteno crew can see The Unicorn ride again.
The Unicorn is now open at 106 Oxford St, Paddington. Open Mon-Wed 11am-late, Thurs-Sat 11am-3am, and Sun 11am-midnight.