On the outskirts of town, where houses are less plentiful and rolling green paddocks begin, sits St. Isidore.
The restaurant, aptly named for the Catholic patron saint of farmers, blends into the natural surrounds using green corrugated iron cladding.
A wide verandah looking onto flowering gardens makes for an attractive dining option, but so do the comfortable Scando-inspired chairs inside.
I opt for the latter, and am quickly seated before a large window facing the market garden that supplies much of what’s on the plate.
NSW is very well represented on this interesting wine list, so I stay (relatively) local in the foothills of the Snowy Mountains, with the 2012 Collector Tiger Tiger Chardonnay ($75). It’s a lean, elegant chardy with notes of white peach, and the perfect complement to a beautiful bowl of Clams and Tomatoes ($22). Chef Alex Delly keeps both of these key ingredients as the heroes of this dish by cooking them in their own broth, accentuated by onions, stalks of samphire and crisp wafers of chicken skin.
Roasted Bone Marrow ($22) is lifted by an innovative collection of smoked shin, green olive, chimichurri, and dill into something even non-believers are going to love smearing onto grilled bread.
Mains - or “bigger still” as they’re known here - feel remarkably honest. It’s nice to see a restaurant consider that it’s their job to put a balanced meal on the plate, without the need for sides.
Riffing off our Asian neighbours, Drunken Chicken ($38) showcases beautifully cooked, juicy bird against rolls of rice noodles, and a cucumber and shitake salad.
It edges out a slow-roasted Pork Cheek ($39) that wanted for a bit more fat rendering, but still impressed with vibrant sweetcorn in a plentiful and interesting salad of apple, crab, zucchini and Savoy cabbage.
A simple plate of Grilled Pineapple ($16) with toasted coconut ice cream, lime and an oversized ginger snap, is a nice way to finish. Like the rest of the menu it feels simple and uncrowded by too many techniques or exotic ingredients. In this way, St. Isidore nails exactly what a regional farm-to-table restaurant should be – a spot that celebrates and showcases the bounty of the surrounding land and sea.
NOTE: You can see more of my trip to Ulladulla HERE and other local restaurant reviews HERE and HERE.
89 Croobyar Road, Milton
Ph: (02) 4455 7261