Randwick Rugby Club’s recent renovations and the resulting newly-located fine diner was certainly chosen with a finger on the gastronomic pulse of middle Australia. It’s a resoundingly satisfying experience with an underlying attitude that food on a plate should be local, seasonal, filling and familiar. It’s all this and more; it’s also an accessible fine dining experience that’s a bit special. The warm designer room is in familiar Randwick renovator colours – think aubergine, burgundy and tarnished gold. Book for one of the curved padded cream banquettes for an intimate group. The room is quite separate from the rest of the club.
Don’t pass on the house-made bread served with oil and excellent Danish butter. The wine list might not astound but the 2008 Scorpo Aubaine Chardonnay ($56) is exceptional, and one of the more expensive wines on the list, making this quite an afforable place to drink. There's even a breathalizer machine in the corridor outside in case you'd like to see if you need to order dessert and stay a while.
Seared Scallops ($16) with well-cooked clams a la Grecque and a gentle fennel tarte tatin are unique, well thought-out and more than three blobs on a plate! By Sydney standards, this is a very good value entree, that is filling, satisfying and nicely plated. It's highly unusual to see scallop put with pastry, but in this instance it works very well.
The Veal Sweetbreads ($14) with black pudding, pea puree and caramelised apple fondant were an absolute delight. The little balls of apple were the perfect counterpart to the perfectly cooked sweetbreads, and the blood pudding was a tasty one with distinct lardons in the mix.
It was comfort and class all the way in my main of Poussin Breasts with Confit Leg Pithivier ($25). ‘Pithivier’ is just a fancy word for a round, puff pastry pie; this is one of the few bits of pretension on a menu with something to please all-comers.
The char-grilled Aged Angus Sirloin ($28) with twice cooked chips, 'onion frit' (they mean onion rings) and Béarnaise sauce was good for the fresh tarragon in the sauce, and the superb onion rings, but let down slightly on the steak which was a shade chewy for my liking. The chips were compelling.
The best thing I ate (clearly after picking up a chip with my fingers and smearing my lens) was a side of Rocket and Cabbage Salad with Manchego, Croutons, Roast Almonds and Salad Cream ($7) which appealed to me immensely. It was kind of a rich man's coleslaw, and it used a particularly moist and creamy Manchego (a sheep's milk cheese from Spain).
Our waitress recommended we also got a side of Fried Provencal Potatoes ($7) which was not really needed due to the chips coming with one main, and not really that exciting (and yes, I can get very excited about potatoes when they are good). I'd give them a miss.
I didn't have enough room left for dessert, so I was convinced I needed a Petit Four ($3.50) - in this case a cinnamon coated brioche doughnut with a bowl of hot chocolate sauce. They were particularly fluffy doughnuts, and I was glad I indulged.
This is a lovely restaurant which I intend to return to for a good value meal with friends. You could bring anyone here.
Brook Street Kitchen and Bar
102-104 Brook Street, Coogee
Ph: (02) 9665 5447