Zanzibar: The Cross Eyed Dog, Newtown

Zanzibar continues its re-invigoration with the opening of The Cross Eyed Dog restaurant on the first floor of this historic Newtown hotel.

In 1863, the “new town store” by John and Eliza Webster was established and it is from that store that Newtown took its name. John and Eliza soon realised that being the purveyors of alcoholic beverages was a more lucrative business and as such Newtown’s first bar “The Daniel Webster” Hotel came into being.

Zanzibar, Newtown
Leather Banquettes and Seating

Up on the first floor, soft lighting with dark timber look to create a 1920’s feel which can be enjoyed while sitting in the leather banquettes or huddling near the fireplace.

Zanzibar, NewtownBanquette

Chef David Penistone (ex Cargo Bar, Watson’s Bay Hotel) combines his experience from the UK, Australia and adds a touch of Texas to deliver a menu with fun and surprises.


The cocktail list covers all tastes with a page totally dedicated to American whiskey cocktails. The wine list is concise and features many wines from the smaller producers in the state with some lesser known varietals and blends on show.

Zanzibar, Newtown
Jam and Smoke, Gimlet Grenade

The Jam and  Smoke ($19.50) brings the distinct smoke of Bruichladdich Port Charlotte with Grand Marnier, lemon juice, marmalade jam and egg white in a perfectly balanced cocktail. This is a drink for those who like the spirit on show and that is worthy of a place in any bar. The Gimlet Grenade ($18) with Bulldog Gin, pomegranate syrup, plum jam and bitters is a refreshing drink with a touch of sharpness.

Zanzibar, NewtownFried Mac and Cheese

The food menu is designed to be shared and the tasty morsels of Fried Mac and Cheese ($10) with sriracha aioli are soft with a crisp, deep fried coating of panko crumbs  seasoned with sea salt. The aioli has a good kick of spice to accompany the dish.

Zanzibar, Newtown
Picante Pop-Prawns

The Picante ‘Pop-Prawns’ ($15) with toast, lime and crackled pig skin are crispy and tasty with the crackling adding both texture and seasoning along with with a spicy sauce.

Zanzibar, Newtown
Sticky Chicken Wings

With a choice of suicide sauce or blue cheese dressing, Sticky Chicken Wings (minimum 5 – $1 each) have succulent meat and are well sized. The blue cheese sauce is sweet (as above) while the suicide sauce packs great punch and heat. Have a beer handy.

Zanzibar, Newtown

Simply described as Mushroom ($17.50) on the Pasta Menu, it does not give a hint of this taste sensation. This Raviolo of mushroom, spinach and Vegemite (yes Vegemite) has a beautiful earthy, savoury flavour from the wild mushroom served in porcini and truffle oil broth with crisp grana padana and thin shavings of crisp Vegemite. The flavour continues to linger in a way that you do not want to dilute it too soon with other food or drink. Although the raviolo is well portioned, this is a dish best not shared.

Zanzibar, Newtown
Crab and Prawn

The Crab and Prawn Pizza ($23.50) with crab meat, prawns, spinach, lemon and marie rose sauceis served on a thin base with fried garlic and chilli and delivers plenty of its seafood topping.

Dessert continues the fun and creative theme with Gimme S’mores Salad ($12.50) made of biscuit, chocolate, marshmallow, milkshake dressing and peanut butter semifreddo. Something for next time.

Zanzibar, Newtown
The Fireplace

The Cross Eyed Dog at Zanzibar is serving up good food and good drinks to be enjoyed with friends in relaxed and welcoming surrounds. The Newtown pub is reinventing itself with a “through the years” theme, be it the 1950’s backyard-themed rooftop bar, the 1920’s feel Cross Eyed Dog or the soon to come homage to its early history on the ground floor.

323 King St
Newtown, NSW 2042

About the author

Kevin Burke

Kevin Burke is the Co-Founder of Gourmantic. He was first carried onto a plane at 3 months old. He enjoyed it so much, most of his efforts have been to get back in them to travel. He has lived on 3 continents and in addition to his love of travel and food, he is passionate about wine, chocolate and music.