Well, it’s official, we are back in the saddle for what I have decided to label The Enmore Road Encore. And Strop is extremely excited about it. So excited that she feels the need to keep reminding me by saying “I’m really excited,” in a voice that is not quite a squeal, but which probably went to the same school.
We’re starting at the far end of the Enmore Road strip, and rather perversely our first stop is a pub that is not actually officially on Enmore Road, but The Warren View is a bit of a landmark and it has been on our radar for quite a while. Whenever we drive past on the way to the airport we remind ourselves that we should check it out some time. And it has an intriguing name, which is all the excuse I need. I’m hoping that it is named after a long forgotten race of warrior rabbits who loped along the banks of the Cooks River in the old days. That would be cool. I did a bit of research, but all I found out was that the Warren View likes to boast about the quality of its beer garden.
We decided to meet at the Bank Hotel for a drink first. Unfortunately it was pissing down, and a lot of young people had turned up with the exact same idea. So the pub was fuller than usual, with half the outdoor areas unusable due to a lack of effective roofing. I arrived first and managed to find a partially dry table out the back under an umbrella, but I then had to spend half an hour fighting off groups of desperate young smokers looking for somewhere dry to light up. By the time Strop arrived I was sharing the table with a group of Irishmen who had promised not to smoke and who were busy chatting about Harley-Davidsons. We had a beer while the rain continued to bucket down and chatted about how busy work was, and it not even being Straya Day yet.
Our glasses became empty just in time for an unscheduled break in the rain, so we left the young people to get on with blackening their lungs and headed off along Enmore Road to check out what we were letting ourselves in for. The Enmore Road strip has some interesting looking places, some worrying places, and quite a lot of massage joints along the way. It will be an interesting ride.
As the rain started up again we stood outside the Warren View and had a brief discussion about the colour scheme. Strop is inexplicably fond of the icky olive green paint job, and would like to paint our house the same colour. This cannot be allowed because she is wrong. It is an awful colour, suitable only for wattle trees. Luckily, the weather forced us to scuttle inside before things became too heated.
There is something endearing about the front bar of the Warren View. I’m not sure what it is exactly. It could be the odd way you enter, stepping down from street level, or the complete lack of decor, or even the nicely proportioned rectangular bar. Whatever it is, the Warren View is very welcoming in a completely unprepossessing way. By this time we were getting quite hungry so we headed straight out the back to the “famous” beer garden, wondering if there would be anywhere dry enough to sit. No worries. Most of the outdoor area (it’s a bit of a stretch to call it a garden) is covered by a variety of roofs, and as a bonus there were plenty of free tables. A pleasant change after the damp and crowded outdoor areas at the Bank.
Before we sat down, Strop reminded me once again how very excited she was to be back on the Quest. She even danced a little jig, and was grinning so much that it was starting to worry the people at nearby tables. It turns out that she has been deeply unsatisfied by our recent habit of making unpredictable forays to random restaurants. Strop is a woman that likes a list, likes to check it twice, and thinks it’s nice to tick off those suckers one by one
The Warren View menu is standard pub fare with a few blackboard specials on the side. I felt the need to continue the Burger Wars, but Strop decided to try one of the specials and ordered the eggplant parmigiana. When I was at the counter ordering, the woman serving me asked “you do know it’s vegetarian don’t you?” That sort of caring attitude is part of the charm of the Warren View.
Our food arrived quickly, somewhat limiting our social media engagement, and prompting us to put our phones away, so we could engage with the food instead. My burger was very nice. It had a good bun – firm but undemanding – good quality pickles and a tasty beef patty. The meat was on the well done side, but it was still very enjoyable. And the chips were excellent – fat crisp and crunchy. Strop’s parmigiana looked the goods, with lots of cheese and tomatoey stuff between layers of eggplant. It came with a couple of slices of garlic bread and a better than average salad. Needless to say we cleaned our plates.
On the way home we stopped off for Turkish ice cream. Those cunning Turks at Hakiki, not want to do things the same way as everyone else, have their own take on what ice cream should be. They mix it with some gummy stuff that makes the whole thing slightly sticky and more substantial. (Note from Strop, straying off on a bit of a research jag: they add salep, a flour made from the tubers of orchids from the genus Orchis. Okay? Got that?) And the flavours are exotic too. We had orange blossom, melon and feta, baklava, and a little bit of wild cherry. Yum.
I’m not sure what’s up next for the Encore, I forgot to pay attention, but I’m sure Strop will have worked it out. She is adamant that we are going by street numbers again, but this time in reverse numerical order. We will however reserve the right to avoid anything that looks too scary, and to go off-piste if we see something tucked away that looks interesting. It should be fun – see you next week.
Here is some more research from Strop who obviously finds my level of interest in actual facts a bit wanting:
Thomas Holt (1811–1888) was a Sydney business tycoon who built a castellated Victorian Gothic mansion named ‘The Warren’ in 1857 in Marrickville South. It was designed by architect George Mansfield, and contained an impressive art gallery filled with paintings and sculptures from Europe. It had elaborate stables built into imposing stone walls, and large landscaped gardens filled with urns overlooking the Cooks River. Holt gave it that name because he bred rabbits on the estate for hunting, as well as the grounds being stocked with alpacas and other exotics. The Warren was a landmark in the district for some decades; the still-operating Warren View Hotel in Enmore is evidence of this.