The Old Fitz Has a New Toby Stansfield-Helmed Bistro Starring Elevated Rooster Rolls

The beloved pub gets a culinary revamp with Bistro Fitz, a compelling combo of classic Euro fare and elevated pub food.
Suz Tucker
Published on June 21, 2022

Beloved Woolloomooloo drinking establishment The Old Fitz has been cooking up something exciting. The pub's charming upstairs dining room and perpetually well-populated front bar is getting a culinary overhaul under new head chef, Toby Stansfield.

Bistro Fitz is the does-what-it-says-on-the-tin name of the revamped, second-floor restaurant and the menu reveals a compelling intersection of influences from Stansfield's previous gigs (most recently he was head chef at CBD pasta bar Fabbrica).

In keeping with all the expectations that 'bistro' implies, there's plenty of fare faithful to the classic European bistro. An alluring beetroot tarte tatin with 'holy' goat fromage frais, for example, is a natural precursor to steak frites with Diane sauce or mustards, which will no doubt be a crowd-pleaser.

Elsewhere on the menu things get a little more unexpected. The influences bypass the culinary cues of Paris and make a break for the Mediterranean with dishes like the Insalata di Maré where mussels, octopus and herbs are punched up with black garlic and ancho chilli. For Stansfield's carryover fan base of Fabbrica pasta heads, don't sleep on the bowls of handmade trofie with pine nut pesto, pangrattato and pecorino.

It wouldn't be a pub menu without a few options that are unmistakably pub food. The confit rooster roll, roast chicken mayonnaise and dill — a more luxurious take on the classic hot chook in bread — is a signature of the front bar menu.

Of his approach to running the new kitchen, Stansfield says, "I have a mixed bag of experience and I'm excited to get creative and draw on it in lots of different ways. The Old Fitz is always a good time and I want to make really approachable and fun food that reflects this."

Image: Kitti Gould.

The Old Fitz has undergone many a transformation over the past decade. The one thing that remains consistent is the familiar yet elusive je ne sais quoi of any great pub: You always feel like you've made a good choice as soon as you step your feet on that carpet, perch your elbows on the bar and have a tap beer mid-pour.

Toby Stansfield will officially take over as head chef this Friday, June 24. Bookings can be made at the website. The Old Fitz is open seven nights a week at 129 Dowling St, Woolloomooloo.

Images: Kitti Gould.

Published on June 21, 2022 by Suz Tucker
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