Value where you least expect it – in the back streets of Balmain, reminiscent of the working class roots of the area. Chef Daz Antaw’s new domain (previously of Restaurant BYO, Gladesville) is simplistic rather than ritzy – think first date. Make a minimal investment in your romantic future by dining on a Wednesday for a bargain Seafood Menu ($35/3 courses), or enjoy the Table d'hôte ($47/3 course) menu any evening.
Maitre d' Scott Bullock’s relaxed and friendly manner will put you both at ease. No need to fear the wine prices either, it’s a tiny but very reasonably priced list; the Two Thumbs Chardonnay ($22.90/bottle) is quite drinkable. Scott will shatter any awkward silences by cooking au guéridon (at your table).
His Tiger Prawns with Truffle Oil, Garlic, Parsley and Cream ($15) are flaming good.
The namesake Duck Pie ($15) is rich and meaty, encased in rustic pastry then topped with a slice of melted brie.
Mains are bested by the Plate de Bouillabaisse ($27), the gentle broth allows the nicely cooked fishes (baby Flathead, Marlin and Salmon) to shine.
I also tried the Pork Belly on Cauliflower Cream with Tomato and Sage Jam ($27) which was simple but pleasant.
End the night with a gooey board of Melted Brie drizzled with Forest Honey ($13).
Or indulge in the super rich Chocolate Trio ($13) if you must. The chocolate shot is the best.
West End Hotel, 72-76 Mullens Street, Balmain
Ph: (02) 9555 4455