Erskineville’s popular local, The Erko, has introduced a fresh pub menu led by chef Ethan Robinson, formerly of Chiswick and the new offering is pretty impressive. If you were blindfolded and told you were dining at a high-end restaurant, you’d believe it. This is pub dining at its best and more importantly, not at inflated prices. While guests can still enjoy traditional, but ‘elevated’ versions of pub favourites such as burgers and schnittys, the new menu includes lighter options such as kingfish with dill, cucumber and citrus dressing; grilled Clarence River octopus salad; and crispy squid with green harissa.
Ethan places a strong emphasis on crafting items in-house, using locally sourced seasonal ingredients, including those from a nearby community garden. “We’re making our own bread, hand cutting the chips, crumbing the chickens, fermenting and pickling in-house using surplus, blemished and oddly shaped produce, using herbs and veggies sourced locally, and composting our kitchen waste,” says head chef Ethan Robinson.
“We have a little patch at the Erko Road Community Garden next door where we’re growing herbs, native greens, chillies, cherry tomatoes, garlic chives, carrots, and Jerusalem artichokes. We’re also using local honey and have locally made hot sauces too.”
Chiswick’s famous lamb shoulder has inspired Ethan’s menu, featuring a slow-roasted NSW lamb rump served on a bed of braised lentils and topped with a green pea and mint pesto sauce. The slow-cooked lentils and lamp rump are a match made in heaven. Who would have thought lentils could be so good?
Other popular menu items include a classic beef burger featuring a ground chuck patty, cheddar cheese, bacon, house-made onion and dark ale jam, and a dill pickle. There’s also the 250g grass-fed striploin steak accompanied by chimmi butter. Both dishes come with a side of thick, hand-cut, twice-cooked chips seasoned with Ethan’s vinegar salt blend.
Schnitty enthusiasts will love Ethan’s take on a schnitzel – made from succulent chicken thigh that’s pounded and breaded in-house with herbs sourced from the local community garden. This schnitzel is garnished with shaved parmesan and a hint of lemon and served alongside a cos lettuce and local herb salad, as well as buttery baby new potatoes.
Of course, there’s always room for dessert and you don’t want to leave without trying ‘The Pav’. Ethan uses ‘ugly fruit’ – imperfect, and irregularly shaped fruit that didn’t quite make it to the market – making the pav just that extra special. But be warned – while sharing is encouraged, you might be accused of hogging the dessert so perhaps consider ordering your own to preserve your friendships. There’s also the utterly indulgent and seriously delicious, rich dark chocolate hazelnut cake with marinated orange and whipped ricotta.
The family-friendly and dog-friendly venue also offers a dog menu, so your fur baby might fancy some Homemade Erko dog biscuits, Raw beef tartare, or ‘Nana treat’ – puppy muesli bar packed with banana muesli and grains.
Oyster lovers should take advantage of the $2 oyster special on Sundays while larger groups might want to consider the ‘feed-me-sharing menu’ priced at $55 per person which will feature on the menu in the coming weeks. The menu includes house-made garlic and herb bread; broad bean hummus; zucchini fritti; fried chicken sliders with hot sauce; and a choice of two larger dishes.
- Book your table at The Erko here.
- Where: 102 Erskineville Road, Erskineville, 2043
Kitchen Opening Hours
- Mon to Thu | 12pm to 3pm & 5.00pm to 9pm
- Fri & Sat | 12pm to 9pm