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The New-Look Duke of Enmore Is Serving Up Next-Level Pub Grub and Natural Wines

The inner west corner pub has been made over by an all-star hospitality team.
By Jasmine Crittenden
December 18, 2018
By Jasmine Crittenden
December 18, 2018

People of Enmore, The Duke has reopened. This weekend, you can head along to the neighbourhood pub for crisp-yet-succulent porchetta or, if you're a vegan, perhaps a cauliflower steak — and stay until 2am.

Now owned by James Wirth and Michael Delany, The Duke of Enmore — formally known as The Duke of Edinburgh — has had quite a revamp. You might be familiar with the duo's work — previously, they bought and made over The Norfolk, The Flinders, The Carrington and The Oxford Tavern, before selling them all in 2016. 

"Everything was gyprocked and painted white — it felt a bit like a shopping centre," says Wirth, explaining The Duke's pre-reno state. "So, we decided to rip it all out and see what we could find. I wouldn't say we gutted it, but we reskinned it, pretty seriously."

Their efforts revealed layers of history. Built way back in 1870, The Duke has seen many a drinker and many a late night. "We found a 1940s ceiling, original timber, original brick and original tiling," says Wirth. After exposing and smartening up some of these elements, the duo added more timber, expansive windows, stained glass, a new bar and tartan carpet. They also covered the entire facade in 1960s-style tiles.

"We just wanted to give it some love and make it feel like a good, solid, local pub," says Wirth. "It's not meant to be anything too wild or too fancy." 

The food, presided over by Head Chef Toby Wilson (Bad Hombres, Ghostboy Cantina), follows suit. The emphasis is on high-quality pub grub. Start off with fried salt-and-pepper enoki mushrooms with chilli soy dipping sauce, then tuck into a chicken parmigiana (or the equally great eggplant version) with fresh mozzarella, fries and salad, before finishing up with malt ice cream with toasted buckwheat and stout caramel. One of the stand-outs is the porchetta, first cooked at high temperatures to encourage extreme crispiness, then slow-cooked for five hours, to promote juiciness. It comes in a roll or on a plate, with white bean puree, salsa and greens. 

There are 12 taps at The Duke, offering old-school classics, like VB, Carlton Draught and Resch's, plus new classics, like Young Henrys. Wirth says the plan is "to play around" with the other eight, with a focus on local craft breweries. Meanwhile, Joel Amos (founder of natural wine retailer Drnks) is on the wines, bringing you — as you'd expect — a bunch of drops made with minimal interference. There are signature cocktails, too, including the Robert Mitchum: a concoction of Jack Daniel's, whole egg, orange juice and maple syrup, which, according to Wirth, tastes like a "boozy banana shake" and makes for a great "meal in a drink" at brekkie time. 

Find The Duke of Enmore at 148 Enmore Road, Enmore. Opening hours are Wednesday–Saturday, 11am–2am; Sunday, 11am–10pm; and Monday–Tuesday, 11am–midnight.

Images: Kitti Gould.

Published on December 18, 2018 by Jasmine Crittenden
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