Under no other circumstances is it okay to eat chicken wings with a knife and fork — unless you're at Pub Life Kitchen's latest iteration at Ruby L'otel in Rozelle. Theirs come drowning in a maple syrup sauce so — whether it's out of necessity or by choice — you'll be licking your fingers clean after you're finished with these bad boys. A PLK staple, this is the type of house recipe you would do questionable things to get a hold of.
As their legion of loyal fans will attest, PLK knows their burgers — but at the Ruby L'otel they've expanded their repertoire. Considering the well-worn pub setting, you don't expect mains like the crispy skin kingfish chowder ($25) or a porchetta pork chop that comes with kale as a side. And don't get us started on the pie of the day; their chicken, leek and potato pie ($22) is some kind of sorcery. It's the reason the kitchen is emanating smells of pancakes, but when it comes out on the plate it tastes like a hearty winter pie should, topped with mash, peas and gravy. Don't try to decipher the mystery — just enjoy it.
If you've heard the hype — or better yet, experienced a PLK burger before — you'll be happy to know that crowd favourites like The Bird feature on Ruby L'otel's menu. It's a deliciously messy combo of buttermilk chicken, pickles, American cheese, sizeable hunks of lettuce and tomato and a hit of green Sriracha mayo ($18). Known for their weekly burger experiments (which happen every Friday), PLK were never going to play it safe and simply replicate their setup in Ultimo. Out to stake their place as the godfather of Sydney's burger scene, they created the aptly-named Don Ruby exclusively for the Rozelle venue. The salt-aged patty is minced on-site the same day it's served (which isn't always the norm, mind you) and then paired with American cheese, pickles and black garlic and truffle aioli ($17).
If you're expecting to come to Ruby L'otel, grab some fast food and carry on into the night, you're in the wrong place. Pub Life Kitchen isn't a stopover — it's the destination.