Comforting and homey – two words I don’t usually associate with the dining offerings in Surry Hills, much less on hip Reservoir Street, the domain of edgy graphic designers and hipster coffee hangs.
Yet this is exactly what Chef Brendan Cato achieves when he takes over Bangbang Café with a healthy Saturday night pop-up called The Farmed Table.
Brendan is a keen forager – he was off to a forest to find mushrooms the very next day – and this particular menu was inspired by his visit to the Hawkesbury and Hunter region.
With two shared dishes, and three individual dishes, The Menu ($55/head) is particularly good value, even if you throw in (bottomless) bio-dynamic Wine ($80/head).
Tip-top vegetables shine brightest in charred broccoli shoots, a far cry from the woody stems you see elsewhere. They’re topped with cured mullet roe and brightened up by Meyer lemon.
It’d be impossible to travel to the Hawkesbury in search of dining inspiration, without being swayed by beautiful Hawkesbury calamari. Cato cooks it gently in its own ink, presenting it with river prawns and chickweed (another foraged treasure).
The Hunter’s Redgate Farm provides the duck, which is served with crisp cavolo nero leaves and roasted beets, before a dessert of rhubarb with lavender cream that takes me straight back to Grandma’s house.
The Farmed Table
Bangbang Cafe, 113 Reservoir Street, Surry Hills
Ph: (02) 9281 0018