The Dolphin Hotel, Surry Hills

07 Jul 2016

The Dolphin Hotel is back! And it’s brighter, louder and has 3 options for playing, drinking and dining

For many years Surry Hills staple, the Dolphin Hotel, has been suffering from middle child symptoms. It’s been a little left out and neglected, even though it’s in a great location with outdoor balcony space. With so many over achieving siblings nearby like The Clock, Forresters or The Trinity to name but a few, The Dolphin hasn’t been the one to draw in the crowds. I know personally I’ve checked my list of ‘nearby pubs without leaving the 2-0-1-0 (postcode)’ for my next catch up and I’ve almost instantly dismissed The Dolphin. Why? The inside was soulless and often sparsely populated so that it lacked in atmosphere. There are many better options nearby.

Often when the doors on well loved pubs close, faithful patrons go through a period of mourning. Not so much for this little old timer in Surry Hills. Finding the butchers paper covered doors and signs reading: ‘Due to re-open mid June after extensive renovations’ brought an air of excitement to many Surry Hills frequenters. Things could only get better.

Enter Maurice Terzini. To say the place looks different is an understatement. Overall it reminds me of something you’ll find in a Nordic country, due mainly to the blonde timber used throughout all three bar and dining areas. The stools in the main bar area are covered with non matching bold designs hand drawn in black and white, a theme that carries through to lounge upstairs. Here the entire banquette along the wall is adorned with these eye catching patterns as are the cube ottomans. This madness is off set by rustic white washed exposed brick walls and white ceilings that are illuminated with warm lighting.

Dolphin Hotel

Throwing a peak into the main dining area, which isn’t open on Mondays, there is a little more calm in terms of decoration here. Gone are the crazy black and white designs and instead it’s white and beige banquettes, white walls and bright coloured furniture. The third and final area in the new Dolphin is The Wine Room. Open since the first week of July, it’s a 50 seater tapas style bar with walls covered in textured fabric. Warm lighting completes the cozy look, in which you can spend your afternoon working through the 35 wines poured by the glass. (Or the 150 poured by the bottle if you’re really thirsty!)

Public Bar

Dolphin Hotel, public bar

Lounge Lvl 1

Dolphin Hotel, lounge

Lounge bar Lvl 1

Dolphin Hotel, lounge bar

An insider to team Dolphin mentioned the sensational pizza dough they produce to me. Fermented over two days, it’s made with organic flour and only pure Australian ingredients. Not one to believe the hype, I had to go and experience this one for myself. Since it’s truffle season, there was only one choice that made sense: the Truffle & Mushroom pizza. It was served with baked mushroom, local truffle, ricotta, washed rind & parsley. It did not disappoint. Crunchy dough with a little bit of bounce, all the ingredients came through and very importantly, we were able to taste the truffle. A real contender for top notch pizza in Sydney.

Truffle & mushroom pizza

Dolphin Hotel, Truffle Pizza

Pigs Head Fritti

Dolphin Hotel, Pigs Head Fritti

We needed one other dish to wash down our easy drinking bottle of $39 Montepulciano and ordered the Pigs Head Fritti. Slow cooked pigs head meat wrapped in a panko crumb was soft and deep fried to crunchy perfection. Served with lemon and a garlic mayonnaise, this was finger licking good.

What’s on offer here is exciting. There’s 3 rooms with 3 completely different experiences to be had. If the bar food is anything to go by, the Dining Room and Wine Room will be new highlights in the ever evolving Surry Hills scene. Love or hate the loud décor, it’s different to anything else on offer and we like different. Welcome back, Dolphin!

The short and sweet:

THE GOOD BITS:  3 different dining experiences under 1 roof with decent prices. Awesome pizza and good food. Still works as a pub, still has a great balcony which is part of the public bar space.

THE NOT SO GOOD BITS: The loud decor in the lounge upstairs.

STANDOUT DISH: The pizza. Killer base. Anything on top is just a bonus.

COST PER HEAD: $35: Bottle of wine, one entree and one pizza shared by 2.


Location: 412 Crown St, Surry Hills NSW 2010, Australia

The Dolphin Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Dolphin Hotel, wines & coasters
Dolphin Hotel

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