As a fellow Greek, I enjoy dining at the few Greek restaurants Sydney has to offer, and The Animal does not disappoint. The Animal is situated upstairs in the Newtown Hotel and is part of the Keystone Group (the people behind restaurants and bars including Cargo Bar, Bungalow 8, Gazebo, Sugarmill and theloft).
Grilled Scallops with Trout Roe, Tomato and Basil Salsa
Plump and juicy scallops are seared to perfection and resting on a bed of creamy taramasalata. They are adorned with a small heap of trout roe. Like tiny orbs of fishy surprises they burst in your mouth releasing a salty flavour of the ocean. Seafood is a really big part of Greek culture and this dish really reiterates how Greek food is more than just about mouth watering lamb (I’ll get to that).
Grilled Haloumi, Mint, Lemon & Fennel Salad
I’m a massive fan of any grilled cheese but haloumi is by far my favourite. They bring it out still sizzling from the grill and it’s at this exact point that you should pop it in your mouth. Creamy, salty, stringy, ooey gooey, omg nom nom nom.
Watermelon, Feta and Mint Salad with Pita Croutons
What a refreshing dish and a true Greek one at that. Like the italian counterpart to the orange and fennel salad, something about the sweet crunch of the watermelon and the creamy saltiness of the feta just works. Don’t ask me how. It just does. I’m not exactly a big fan of ‘salads’ (remember – you don’t make friends with salad) but I really, really like this one.
Lemon Roasted Crunchy Potatoes
You cannot have a Greek feast without lemon potatoes, and these ones were a ripper! Crunchy on the outside and soft and almost buttery on the inside, they are smothered in a sharp zesty mess of herbs, lemon and capers.
Coal Roasted Suckling Lamb
Speaking of things you can’t have a Greek feast without, set your eyes (and taste buds) on this beauty. Straight from the BBQ pit and onto your plate, this lamb simply falls apart and melts in your mouth. Rubbed with lemon and garlic it’s bursting with rich flavour. A word to the wise – this is the specialty dish so get in early!
Strawberry and Rose Loukomades
Try something different for dessert with these delicious and traditional ‘Greek donuts’. These little puffs of dough are deep-fried until golden and crispy, then dipped in a sweet syrup and dusted with a mixture of rose petals and icing sugar. A really great addition to this super sweet dessert is the tartness of the strawberries and the creaminess of the ice cream, as it mellows out this glorious sugar hit.
Wicked Chocolate Brownie with Cinnamon & Walnut Ice Cream
Straying from the Greek side of things this dessert was full of rich, chocolatey flavour yet was surprisingly light in texture. Accompanied by a lovely cinnamon and walnut ice cream because, well, why not?
While you can’t buy love (at least legally.. but hey you’re in Newtown) the bar offers a multitude of deliciously sinful shots and let’s face it – after a couple of them it won’t matter who loves you…!
I really enjoyed the Animal. Great atmosphere, great food and drink and really… interesting decor. I’d recommend for groups and functions with a $40pp banquet style menu. Well worth it.
174 King Street
Newtown, NSW 2042