The Henson, Marrickville

Sunday, October 02, 2016

I remember going to pubs as a child and ordering classic pub grub. Steak and chips, chicken schnitzel and lasagne were some of my all time favourites. The Henson is not one of those traditional pubs. 

Arrive on the weekend and you'll find a buzzing venue full of families and groups enjoying the outdoor beer garden and American-cross-Asian inspired food. 

There is an inside seating area that opens up to an outdoor courtyard scattered with wooden benches and high table stools. Adjacent to one of the two entrances is a garage that has been converted into a kids play room, fit with its own rainbow ball pit. 

Music pumps around the venue during the day, which creates a fun, friendly vibe. It's the kind of place where you could easily spend a weekend afternoon chilling with friends. 

The funky, hip atmosphere is reflected in their menu. There are not as many pub classics on offer as there are American, Mexican and Asian favourites - think fried chicken tacos, karaage chicken burgers, bacon dashi ramen and mac n' cheese. There are attractive options for vegetarians, too, like Tempeh and 'KFC' Haloumi Burgers.

Order at the counter, grab a rustic wooden table number, then sit back and enjoy the relaxed neighbourhood atmosphere.

Ramen ($20)
This is no ordinary ramen. This is bacon ramen, made using a bacon dashi that forms the base of the soup. It's not as collagen rich, nor as flavoursome as more traditional broths, but it is a very modern take on the Japanese favourite noodle soup. Along with rye noodles, bamboo shoots, enoki mushrooms and a whole boiled egg are some zingy red pickles and your choice of either chicken karaage or pork chashu. There is also some fresh greenery, although the tender chicken loses its crispiness in the hot broth.

Maple miso grilled salmon ($28)
The sweet, sticky glaze coating this king salmon fillet lends a wonderful flavour to the fish. The sesame, mirin and tamari sauce that accompanies the fish is delicious, and there is a joyful tumble of Asian greens - snow peas, edamame, broccolini and wombok - that adorns the plate. A garnish of seaweed and bonito provides an aesthetic touch. It's healthy and very tasty. 

Fish pie ($24)

This baked fish pie is luxurious and rich, with a gorgeously golden bubbled layer of cheese. Underneath the crispy top is a luscious molten leek mash, followed by a creamy mixture of herby salmon, white fish and peas. The serving is very generously-sized; a comforting choice for cooler weather.

Crispy-skin Trinity Bay Barramundi Fillet ($25)
This is a more traditional fish n' chip style meal, with a fillet of barramundi that has a glorious crispy skin and fat, fluffy chips. Our order gets mixed up when staff mistakenly send this to another table, and there is about a 20 minute wait that follows for a replacement. Nevertheless, the Barramundi is beautifully cooked and seasoned, and the old bay mayo on the side is a definite winner.

Soft shell crab burger ($19)
Served in a sesame bun is a whole fried soft shell crab, nestled in among old bay coleslaw, shredded iceberg lettuce and sriracha. It comes with a side of chips.

Knuckle sandwich ($19)
A classic, rustic sandwich of wagyu brisket, fennel slaw and swiss cheese on toasted rye, this also comes with the same plump chips. 

Nasi goreng ($21)
Indonesian fried rice sits under a pile of grilled pork belly, acar pickles and a sunny side up egg. On a small ramekin to the side are also some banana chilli and tapioca crackers, which are a thoughtful addition.

Grass-fed beef burger ($19)
In this lunch time pub favourite, a hefty wagyu beef patty rests under a blanket of molten gruyere and the same old bay mayo. It's a big burger that is so worth the mess. 

The desserts at The Henson are definitely worth a try, and are big enough to share among friends. We try one of each of the sweet items on the menu, and although our order gets mixed up once again, staff are apologetic and brisk to respond. 

Date and orange B & B pudding ($11)
This bread and butter pudding is everything it should be: soft, custard-like and comforting. The spongey bread soaks up all the flavour of the grand marnier-laced custard, and there are little nibs of candied orange peel and date that are a delight to stumble upon. The ice cream melts into the hot pudding mixture to create a pool of hot-and-cold heaven that has just the right amount of sweetness and orange flavour. 

Churros 'chips' ($12)
Oh my. We had to restrain our excitement when these arrived. The menu explicitly recommends sharing these, although I wouldn't mind at all if I were to have these all to myself. The dessert combines the cinnamon-like flavour of churros with the crispy universality of chips. The result is a stack of fried, tortilla-like 'triangles' that can be easily picked up, dipped into hot mörk fudge sauce and Serendipity malted vanilla ice cream, and popped into one's mouth. It is a nostalgic, revolutionary dessert that no one can resist. 

Anzac ginger apple crumble ($12)
Apple Crumble is a staple dessert. This is given an Aussie twist with the addition of warming ginger, coconut and naughty salted butterscotch sauce. The chunky crumble is full of toasty rolled oats that are caramelised and charred at the edges (one of the best parts of crumble, in my opinion). The apple to crumble ratio is a little bit low for our liking - a bit more apple would have been welcome - but we don't really mind as the cookie-like crumble rubble goes perfectly well with the thick butterscotch sauce and vanilla ice cream. 

The Henson has just about everything one could want in pub - wholesome, delicious food, a family friendly area and a laid-back, friendly neighbourhood vibe that characterises the Inner West. The only thing about the popular pub is that nabbing a table during peak times can become difficult, but then again, that is always a sign of a good eatery. 


The Henson Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato   

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  1. The Henson is such a contrast to its former self! Loving the look of the Anzac ginger apple crumble. Yum!