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The Sydney CBD has taken the concept of ‘underground' dining quite literally, with a growing number of small bars and restaurants humming away beneath pavement pounding office workers and corporate types. King St has joined the ranks, with Parisian-style bistro Le Pub taking over the old PJ Gallaghers basement-level space.
The room is open plan, with dining at one end and the pub at the other. The bistro area blends shabby-chic with Parisian-class, with round marble tables, shiny cushioned chairs and stripy brushed velvet banquets in muted tones of green, gold, red and blue. White, lettered wall tiles give a scrabble-style effect, with words like ‘Napolean' and ‘Croque Madame' hidden across.
It may be called Le Pub but there isn't an ounce of pub grubbiness on the menu. The salad au fois grois is textural perfection, with julienne green apple, sticky shards of honeycomb and toasted hazelnuts hidden amongst a tumble of red sorrel leaves, dressed with creamy micro-shavings of fois gras. The menu presents French classics that are served with a modern twist. Take the twice-cooked confit duck leg, for example, while the flavours stay true to a classic duck a l'orange, the dish is served with pretty salad of micro herbs and dehydrated mandarin segments. The collet d'agneau, an equally-attractive dish of lamb neck, cauliflower puree and pea salad, arrives sprinkled with a herb quinoa crumb. A heady glass of Louis Latour Pinot Noir Aloxe from Burgundy comes highly recommended. A dainty board of petite fours is perfect to linger over, featuring oozy caramel chocolates, house-made honeycomb and, Francophiles will be delighted to discover, Caramac bars.
Aside from providing a truly satisfying power-lunch, Le Pub also makes a convenient post-work date destination - dim lighting and dark wooden floorboards maintain a moodily romantic, old-school atmosphere.