December 22nd, 2015

Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

Review - Hayes Street Wharf Bistro

This is Alex Harmon's last review for 2015, and she ventured over the Coathanger to do it...

This gold patterned little French hideaway on the sleepy streets of Neutral Bay is a hidden gem. In an age of share plates, it was nice to settle in for a three-course-meal of continental cuisine.

I started with the delightful Chicken Liver Parfait ($16) with cherries, while my dining companion opted for Scallop and Crab Boudin Blanc ($18) – a kind of seafood sausage, served swimming in crab bisque and caviar...

...basically the south of France on a plate.

For mains, we both went red, in wine with a lovely 2012 Lorgeril Pennautier Malbec ($12/$58), and in meat, with the Beef Wagyu Brisket Bourguignon ($32) with truffle mash and the Lamb Shoulder Rack ($30). Both dishes were exquisite, particularly the latter, for its eggplant ratatouille and chickpeas.

When it came to dessert there was nothing we could do but divide and conquer - the Chocolate Fondant ($14) with hazelnuts and a tangy raspberry sorbet and the stunning piece of abstract art that is the Caramalised Banana Tarte Tatin ($14), made even more resplendent with dulce de leche and caramel ice-cream.

Outside there are views of the harbour, but in here you could be tucked away in a little bistro in the 6th arrondissement of Paris.

Hayes Street Wharf Bistro
13 Hayes Street, Neutral Bay
Ph: (02) 9908 1133

Hayes Street Wharf Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

Review - Silvereye

Sam Miller kicks Sydney dining up to the next level with a casually sophisticated 17-course degustation ($175/head) that had me cooing about intuitive pacing, the epic wine list, and personable staff delivering just the right amount of food.

It starts with a flurry of snacks, designed to appease gnawing hunger.

Kohlrabi dip topped with explosive grenades of ‘Neptune’s Necklace’ (bubbleweed); and...

...whole baby turnips with malt tempura leaves dipped in macadamia nut milk, set the stage for vegetarian dishes being meal highlights.

A skeletal red-spot whiting offsets crunchy fish bones with lovely green leaves, before... achingly beautiful bowl of baby peas in wakame broth with seaweed jelly and beach plants, rams home that this degustation will be a balanced meal with plenty of greens.

The latter dish coaxes minerality out of the excellent value 2014 A. Rodda ‘Smith’s Vineyard’ Chardonnay ($70) –  a good accompaniment to the early part of your menu.

After vividly pink salt-baked beetroot wafers in wood oil sorrel, chamomile and blackcurrant emulsion conduct a surprise assault on your palate, it’s time to switch to red.

Star Sommelier James Audas nails my personal pinot noir preferences to a wall with the mushroomy 2014 Ochota Barrels ‘Impeccable Disorder’ Pinot Noir ($135/bottle). It’s so good I bought two bottles the next day. And when the neighbouring table expresses they had a bad experience with biodynamic wines, he says (with utter chutzpah): “I’m going to change your mind.”  Believe him.

You’ll also notice a generosity with technique – the kitchen staff (who group to farewell you) are happy to explain the mysterious sheet turning your fennel into a jellyfish accompanying black cobia (salted, cured pork lard that has been frozen then sliced finely on a meat slicer), or take you on a tour of the open-plan kitchen.

Proteins, from juniper smoked lamb leg to blue eye trevalla are all well handled, with the highlight proving to be...

...the oxtail with Swiss chard and beetroot compote. Handing us a sheathed dagger to carve them, our personable Pommy waitress says: "We are starting to trust you a little bit. I don't want you to exploit that trust..." She’s dry and funny, great considering you’ll spend a fair amount of time getting to know each other over the seventeen courses.

My go-to dessert is peaches and cream, which celebrates the tomato-like aspects of a peach - curiously until today I didn’t know they existed - by combining them with sorrel. Our waitress calls it “semi-peculiar” which is pretty good description of whole menu.

Yet, that being said, there was only one course that didn’t quite please my palate: a dessert combining barely ripe mango and caramel ice cream using salt as the only bridge.

Good meal pacing means time virtually flies by in this comfortable, relaxed space; but for those inclined to restlessness, you can always spend your time spotting cleverly placed Silvereyes like good little twitchers.

Upstairs, Old Clare Hotel, 20 Broadway, Chippendale
Ph: (02) 8277 8520

Silvereye Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato