Friday, June 19, 2015

Catalina - Rose Bay

I have been intending to dine at Catalina ever since I was given a voucher from some lovely friends for this waterfront restaurant. However, due to one reason or another (atrocious weather, unable to make a booking, etc) its taken us a while to get here. Lucky for us, we had chosen an amazingly sunny fine day to eat here - meaning that we had a spectacular view to accompany our wonderful meal.

We were initially going to share an entree but all those choices sounded soooo delicious that we ended up ordering both the marron and the pork belly (and were disappointed that we couldn't order more entrees).

Just as our view was picturesque, so too was our marron. It looked stunning, being surrounded by seasonal veges and oh so appetising. It was absolutely delicious! Sweet seafoody juices and plentiful orange aioli.
The pork belly was likewise satisfying. Crispy crackling and tender pork meat accompanied with perfectly seared large scallops. Little bits of cuttlefish and chorizo sat amongst the lemon emulsion. Dots of a pretty strong piquillo pepper coulis also added to the layers of flavour.
For the mains, hubby ordered a 'glacier 51' toothfish. We had never had toothfish before. Not only is this fish part of the sustainability hype, the texture and flavour of this fish makes me want to order it again and again. It's complex yet really delicate - the meat kind of flakes off. It's quite sweet and quite clean in flavour. It was served with a horseradish tortellini which really should not have made it on the plate. The tortellini was sub par - super thick almost rubbery shell with not much taste to it's innards. The tomato consomme was packed full of flavour and complemented the fish well.
I get sucked into all things squid ink. If squid ink is on the menu, I'm ordering it! This squid in fettuccine was pretty damn awesome! Cooked perfectly and tossed with tomato and chilli lobster oil. YUM! There were also lots of rather large chunks of lobster - but really, I just want more lobster oil :)
We were so full by the end of the mains but I really wanted something sweet to finish off the meal. It was hard to say no to the caramel-centred dark chocolate mousse with valrhona milk chocolate icecream. The feuilletine crumble was also excellent. It was gooey, not overly sweet, smooth but with crunchy bits. The only thing that didn't need to be there is the gold foil. When will we learn that we don't need to eat gold?
All up, it was a great experience. Really relaxing location with yummy food. It is a tad on the expensive side though (and really easy to be carried away with ordering just about everything on the menu).

Food - 9/10
Service - 7/10
Ambiance - 9.5/10
Value for money - 7/10
Overall - 32.5/40

Lyne Park
Rose Bay
Tel: (02) 9371 0555

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Devonshire - Surry Hills

$35 for a three course meal at a hatted restaurant? I'm in!

The Devonshire does this pretty awesome deal every Friday lunch time. The menu changes from week to week - they post it up on their FB page most of the time. As amazing as it sounds, it's actually taken me a (long) while to get here - you know, with the whole working a full time job not in the city type deal... But I have to say, this place is so awesome that it might just be worth that day off work ;)
We walk into this intimate, classy little mirror-laden room to be served by two really friendly waiters. It's all a little Frenchie and a little bit posh. We a quickly given a little wooden slab with two types of butter - housemade honey butter and normal salted butter - cut perfectly I might add, and two piping hot, fresh out of the over baguettes which is just oh so heavenly (especially when the slightly sweetened honey butter melts all over the super soft hot bready innards)... I take such a liking to their honey butter that I am soon using the bread as an accompaniment to my butter, much to my hubby's amusement.
Our entree for this Friday was a smoked pork belly beignet. Perfectly crumbed and golden brown, full of flavour and just pull apart meat, all sitting happily on a pool of celeriac veloute. This celeriac veloute was mindblowingly good. So smooth, so rich, so creamy and oh so so soooooo good. Pickled fennel and apple added a good balance to the dish. And did I say that the veloute was mindblowingly good???
For the main, we had seared Barramundi with potato noodles and an orange, pine nut and chive salad. The fish was cooked perfectly - well seasoned and silky smooth. Hubby didn't like the potato noodles much... it was a bit fiddly in the mouth. But the side of potatoes that we ordered were pretty fantastic. Triple cooked for that extra crunch and with a rich garlicky aroma. YUM!
Dessert was a bittersweet chocolate mousse with a rum & raisin milk sorbet and chocolate biscuit crumble. The mousse was not the least bit sweet - perfect for dark chocolate lovers but a nightmare for sweet-tooths. However, it did combine well with the sweetness of the sorbet. The crumble also added good texture.
So for $35 (less if you have an Entertainment Book), this is probably the best value fine-dining quality lunch you can get. Pretty amazing stuff - I'd definitely be back for more!

Food - 8.5/10
Service - 7.5/10
Ambiance - 7/10
Value for money - 9/10
Overall - 32/40

The Devonshire 
204 Devonshire Street
Surry Hills
NSW 2010
Tel: (02) 9698 9427