September 21st, 2010

Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

Review - Baker Street Ultimo

With his arms spread wide over the counter of his new Harris Street bakery café, Juan Duret explains: “I just love cooking! You start with a bag of flour and convert it into all of this!

His enthusiasm for baking everything from scratch is quite contagious.

His Argentinean background explains the presence of moist Alfajores ($2.50) filled with my favourite caramel, dulce de leche. His Chocolate Alfajor ($2.50) knocks the Aussie Wagon Wheel off the map.

You’ll also find Meat Empanadas ($3.50) on the menu. Now since the generous filling of lean beef, olives, egg and raisins is folded inside buttery puff pastry, I wouldn’t call them traditional, but they’re certainly tasty.

The same flaky pastry comes up an absolute treat on an excellent Spinach and Fetta Roll ($3.40). I didn’t have space to scoff a Sausage Roll ($3.40), but my compatriot Stephanie Clifford-Smith gave them her seal of approval in Three of a Kind back when Juan worked at the Summer Hill Village Patisserie.

So mosey on down from TAFE NSW’s Ultimo campus, or the ABC, for the perfect afternoon pick-me-up of a creamy Pear and Ricotta Tart ($3.50) and an Aroma Coffee Latte ($2.80). Dine in, or take it back to your desk if you must…

You might even decide to take back a Ricotta and Cherry Tart ($3.50)...

... or a Snail ($3.20) for a colleague.

Baker Street Ultimo
637 Harris Street, Ultimo
Ph: (02) 8065 6265

Baker Street Ultimo on Urbanspoon
Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

This Week's Column - WLG Wellington Pop-Up Restaurant

Published in the Inner West Independent and City News.

Since the WLG Wellington Pop-Up Restaurant is already fully booked, you might be wondering why I’m even talking about it? Well – firstly if you get a wriggle on, there are still some walk-up spots available each night, right up until closing night on Sunday 26th September. I’d suggest you arrive unfashionably early though to ensure that you secure one.

Secondly, Wellington’s one tasty city, and it has a thriving art and fashion scene too. So if you don’t fancy sculling your body weight in bargain-priced 2008 Escarpment Martinborough Pinot Noir ($7/glass, $29/bottle) at the bar (with the savvy members of the Kings Cross hospitality industry) while you wait for a seat at the cheek-to-jowl tables; just plan a trip over the ditch. (My rather fabulous waitress informs me that the wine will set you back NZ$101 if you drink it in at Logan Brown itself.)

Before my meal here, I was already a confirmed fan of Matterhorn. After dining on the offerings of Shaun Clouston from Logan Brown, a neighbouring restaurant on the eclectically trendy Cuba Street, I’d also recommend adding it to any itinerary you may make. I was a particular fan of his Citrus Cured Regal King Salmon with Wasabi Panna Cotta on the shared entree tasting plate.

His Crispy Skin Gurnard with Celeriac Puree, Preserved Lemon and Green Apple Salad was easily the best of the three mains on offer.

That's not to say I didn't get my hands on the Cocoa Braised Venison Osso Bucco with Soft White Polenta, Lemon Spinach and Cherry Relish too... and it was tasty.

The Portobello Mushrooms and Swiss Chard Baked in Filo with Braised Fennel, Olives, Goat's Curd and Green Lentils lacked a little of the 'pop-factor' of the other dishes. My dining companion would usually heartily declare this was BECAUSE it was vegetarian. That of course was until a certain vegetarian lasagna that I'll be telling you all about NEXT week...

There was no shortage of pop in the dessert of Soprano Limoncello Panna Cotta with Raspberry Donuts. I wanted more donuts, but that's to be expected. The whole meal’s a bargain too, with three courses for fewer than thirty bucks! And did I mention the wines were under-priced?

While you wait for a table, take a toddle around the old Bayswater Brasserie site – you’ll find it transformed by photos, chocolates, cookbooks and the produce of Wellington. They’ve even imported the wait staff, so make sure you ask your waiter to explain the ‘fush’. As I left I laughed to hear a gentleman complaining about his heavy bag, so full was it of the tasty Whittaker’s Chocolates decorating the space. He caught my amusement and said: “You think I’m joking?” Well he wasn’t the only one…

WLG Wellington Pop Up Restaurant

32 Bayswater Road, Kings Cross

'WLG' Pop Up Restaurant on Urbanspoon