December 15th, 2008

Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

Review - Doughboy, Newtown

From the quirky recycling of pizza trays distressed by years of pizza slicing as lights; to the comfy fabric banquettes; to the art on the walls; and to the upbeat Indie rock on the stereo; this new Doughboy venture is very Newtown.

Dining in is all about the dough; the warm, yeasty smell permeates the dining room making you very hungry indeed. This is quickly fixed with their excellent (and cleverly sliced) breads – both the Garlic and Cheese Bread ($7.50) and the Olive Bread ($7.50) are well worth trying.

Amped flavour and good produce characterise their pizzas, and we got extra special treatment with a large pizza topped four ways so we could work out our own favourites! It was pretty easy for me to determine that I'd return for the Quattro Funghi ($15 / $20.50 / $24.50) for the tasty mix of shitake, oyster and Swiss brown mushrooms on the right hand side; or the spicy pepperoni and chilli heat of the Americano ($15 / $20.50 / $24.50) on the left hand side.

If you like stacking on the ingredients, the Tutto Quanto ($16 / $21.50 / $25.50) is the Doughboy version of the supreme pictured at the bottom would be the way to go. Personally I preferred the simplicity of the former two. In the top quarter you see The Judd ($15 / $20.50 / $24.50) which is nicely hot and spicy.

Keep up the vitamins with a Shabbit Salad ($8.50) of mixed leaves, flavourful tomatoes and bocconcini, drizzled with a house-made pesto that is hand-blended every day. Local olive oil and Hunter Valley olives leap out, and demonstrate that the store is trying to be eco-friendly as well by buying local!

We also tried a Calzone Amalfi ($18.00) which I enjoyed - again the dough impressed, and the innards of mozzarella, Italian sausage, salami, roasted capsicum, mushroom, olives and spinach showed tasty, fresh produce. As you can see, it's topped with Napolitana sauce and parmesan.

Keep an eye on the upstairs space which they have interesting plans for in coming months.

30 King Street, Newtown
Ph: (02) 9519 3330

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Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

Review - Selah

If the financial crunch means you’re currently cautious about where you spend your dining dollars, the well-executed, well-priced, conservative modern Australian cuisine at Selah is a safe bet. The restaurant, located less than a block from Circular Quay Train Station, is pleasantly decked out in non-offensive tones.

With taxi ranks and bus stops across the road, and trains and ferries a mere stumble away, there’s no excuse to not explore their well-priced wine list thoroughly. As you might be able to make out in the photo above, I returned to the new vintage of a favourite from last year - the 2008 Carlei Pinot Gris ($9/ glass, $46/bottle). As I waited for my entree, my eyes wandered to the view of towering city through the deep set window near me...

From a trio of golden Seared Scallops ($18) with duck, green papaya and mint salad... a crisp Berkshire Pork Belly ($18) with roast eschalots, the entrees are bright, well-cooked and flavoursome.

Honest mains like the Wagyu Beef Pie ($30) shine for excellent house-made pastry rather than foams, soils and other such foibles. The pot of mash was also a draw card, though I could taste more cream than potato in its makeup. It was particularly nice dripped into the rich pie filling to make it easier to eat.

The approachability of the menu lends itself to you being able to bring along anyone, including vegetarians who are sure to find the Wild Mushroom and Goats Cheese Tarte Tatin ($28) with cress, tomato and eschalot salsa, a substantial and unique main course that again exhibits great pastry. I also liked the way that they put the pesto underneath rather than on top of the pastry as it lessened the impact of it substantially, and allowed all the ingredients above to make their own impact.

The prompt and warm service team (one of whom we last met at Foveaux) were quick to recommend a sinful side of Green Beans with Macadamia Butter ($7.50) which may have hardened my arteries but no regrets here! It really was an excellent side, as the buttery macadamia mix integrated well with the vibrant green freshness of the beans.

For dessert we tried the Creme Brulee Quenelle ($15) with star anise, and excellently flavoured strawberry salad, brioche crumbs and candied orange.

My preferred dessert defied photographic documentation - I tried and tried to get my camera to focus on the Spiced Mango Filo with Meringue Sponge, Custard, Pistachio and Mango Sorbet ($15) but for some reason it would not. Rest assured it was great to eat, if not particularly photogenic.

Conservative food, executed very well, at reasonable prices, with great service and an affordable wine list near public transport - this restaurant has a lot of ways to recommend itself.

12 Loftus Street, Circular Quay
Ph: (02) 9247 0097

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