When you run a restaurant in the northern Wollongong suburb of Thirroul called Samuel’s and then decide to open up a bar next door. What do you call it? Well, once upon a time, you called it The Bar Next Door to Samuels.
Yeah, kind of obvious, isn’t it? Like buying a car and spraypainting the word “car” on it.
Fortunately, that name has been changed to Samuel’s Restaurant. And that’s far from the only thing that has changed since the last time I’ve been there.
It used to have what I can only describe as a “faux-funky cafe” feel. But now they’ve totally changed the guts of it, so now it looks quite schmick.
They’ve even added a kitchen area (previously if you ordered food, it got made in the restaurant kitchen next-door, which could mean a bit of a wait if the restaurant was busy). The menu range has been upgraded too, and it includes Waygu beef burgers. While I’m skeptical of menus that claim to use Wagyu beef – I’m sure some of them are telling fibs – I’m pretty sure Samuel’s Bar is using the real deal. I had a burger and that patty was so soft and tender, I hardly had to bite it. The thing just melted in my mouth.
By the way, here’s that burger.
Mmmm, so tasty.
But this is a beer blog, yeah? So you want to know about the beer selection. Well, the craft content has been upped since I was last there. There are still three taps, but the plan is to swap them around frequently. On top of that there is a range of more than 10 different bottled beers.
I’ve been told the idea here is to avoid stocking beers people can get elsewhere in the Illawarra. Which will be quite a challenge given one of the region’s better bottle shops is just down the road. But the staff seem to know their beers – when you’re talking to the manager and he mentions Doctor’s Orders Zephyr is a must-have for summer, it’s clear they know what they’re talking about.
If that ends up on tap, I’ll be back there for sure. Maybe even grab another one of those burgers too.
Free or paid for: After having been invited up a year or two ago to check the place out, the managers at Samuel’s wanted me to come back and check out the changes. And shout me a beer and a burger.
Categories: Craft Beer in Wollongong