1 New Canterbury Road
Petersham, NSW 2049
As surreal as this feels to say, lockdown is finally over, and we’re all allowed, fully vaccinated, back into the world again. And after a gratuitous mid-week feast of army stew at my favourite Korean restaurant, I’m ready to get back onto the blogging train.
The Oxford Tavern is your quintessential Australian pub – loud, sticky, and grungy, with more types of beer than you can poke a hipster at. There is an above-average beer garden out back, which although excessively loud to my prematurely aged ears, is beautifully bright and lush with vegetation. All in all, it’s the kind of place that you would usually never find me. So why am I here? Obviously it’s for the food, and in this case, it’s American BBQ to be specific. The menu also boasts plenty more American-styled treats, as well as some truly inspirational burgers/schnitzels of the week. On the week we went, it was the String Me Up – a schnitzel topped with fries, pulled pork, and maple-infused gravy. But as tempting as that was, it’s been literally years since I’ve had a good BBQ platter, and I was determined to make that right.
Unfortunately, things did not get off to a good start. Our Loaded BBQ Plate for Two ($70) took aaaaages to come out, and although the staff assured us that the wait is usually half an hour give or take, we ended up sitting on our hands for an almost 50 minutes. So was the delay worth it?
Brisket is my favourite thing to have at American BBQ restaurants, and also the yardstick by which I judge the offerings. Although the two hefty pieces of beef looked the part, they were unfortunately dry and bland, instead of the smoky, melt-in-the-mouth goodness I had hoped for. It needed a lot of BBQ sauce (very nice, with a pleasant degree of sweetness without being sugary) to make it right. On the other hand however, the Pulled Pork was excellent, even though it’s usually the one meat I don’t have high hopes for. Unlike the brisket, this was actually juicy and flavoursome, with the fattiness of the meat shining through nicely.
It’s hard to get Hotlinks wrong, but it’s still nice when a restaurant gets it right. Case in point: these were firm and meaty, with a snappy skin and infused with a warm smokiness. And if the richness of the meats get too much, the platter is also piled generously with pickles, including a surprisingly spicy pickled chilli if you like things hot. And although I prefer my slaws light and zesty, this mayo-coated offering was addictively creamy, and did a good job of putting out the fire if the pickled chillies are a little too much.
But wait! That’s not even all of it! The platter for two also comes with a serve of BBQ Beans, which in actuality was closer to a three-bean soup, but perfectly tasty, and a great alternative to the BBQ sauce for dipping your meat into. It also went marvellously with the toasted Corn Bread, which although was not the fluffy traditional type, was nevertheless sweet, buttery, and utterly addictive.
I wasn’t entirely surprised to find that the BBQ at The Oxford Tavern wasn’t the best I’ve ever eaten, but despite that, I felt thoroughly satisfied by the time I was mopping up the dregs of the platter. Between the generous portions, ample variety, and the largely well-made food, the BBQ here may not inspire, but it certainly won’t disappoint.
Rating: 13.5/20 – get on the beers BBQ.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.