PJ Gallaghers, Criterion Hotel, Sydney CBD

Guest blogger edition

PJ Gallaghers is located inside the inconspicuous Criterion hotel in the city on the corner of Pitt street and Park street. The hotel itself is pretty dark and dingy, the clientele are mainly older gentlemen having beers and watching sports on the tvs - not somewhere I'd frequent very often. However, armed with a entertainment book BOGOF coupon we ventured in.

We ordered at the bar and it took some time for them to process the coupon (as they had to wait for the manager) but other than that it was all good. There's not much seating upstairs other than some bar stools and tables which were already taken, so we ventured downstairs where there were more tables and a few people eating. Given the dingi-ness of the pub and the lack of eating patrons, I was not expecting much from the food. But to my surprise, the food was delicious!! Flavoursome and cooked really well! Next time I definitely want to try the Guiness Pie (maybe at a different PJ Gallaghers).

Lamb Shanks 'PJ's signature dish' - braised 10 hour lamb shanks with chat potatoes, vine ripened tomato and Paddy's Crusty Irish Soda bread ($26). The lamb was literally fall off the bone (not gamey at all), the sauce very tasty and the bread crunchy and perfect for soaking the sauce. Portion was very generous as well.

Steak of the day - Sirloin with peppercorn sauce, fries and salad ($29) - really nicely cooked steak, with a bit of rendered fat that added just the right amount of fatty flavour. The chips were hot and crisp on the outside and soft on the inside - I normally don't like to eat too much chips, but I couldn't stop!

Overall the food I think is much more deserving of a nicer environment to be served in. Great food - poor surroundings.


We have been writing about food in Sydney since 2009. No place is too far or too wide for us to travel to visit. We always give an honest opinion and love to hear your comments too. Here's to an ever-growing society of foodies!

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