Categories
European

Contact Bar & Kitchen – Woolloomooloo NSW Restaurant Review

My partner and I recently had the chance to eat at Contact Bar & Kitchen in Woolloomooloo for a weekday lunch.

To our surprise, there was plentiful street parking, however limited to only two hours per section. It was a very wet day, and it was nice to get out of the rain and into the warm restaurant. Service was absolutely impeccable. I believe our waiter was Diego (but it may have been Stefano – he had the less hair of the two, but an amazing eye for service.)

We settled in for a long lunch, and on the advice of our waiter had our dishes staggered.

Amuse-bouche: spinach, zucchini, and celery soup

We were started with this Amuse-bouche – a spinach, zucchini, and celery soup served in a small beaker with single crouton. I enjoyed this thick and flavourful soup, and the crunchy texture of the crouton. This amuse-bouche came as a complete surprise to us, and if we had known we were going to get we may have not ordered the next dish.

Half portion of pea, spinach, white pepper, herb croutons, goat’s cheese

Our first dish was the pea, spinach, white pepper, herb croutons, goat’s cheese soup ($16). As we were sharing all of our dishes, our waiter made the thoughtful suggestion of splitting the soup into two separate bowls for each of us. Pictured above is half a serve. I enjoyed the thick pea texture of the soup, and thought that the addition of goat’s cheese in some mouthfuls made it basically two soups for the price of one – the goat’s cheese being transformative whenever it entered the mouth. A special mention to the herb croutons which sacrificed themselves to suck up the soup flavour to a high degree. Very absorbent.

Squid ink Spaghetti with seafood

Next came our Squid ink spaghetti with sea mullet, salmon, mussels, clams, octopus, bonito, furikake, cherry tomatoes ($33), and probably the start of our downfall. I had convinced my partner that based on available information online that the dishes would be small, and that we would have plenty of room to fit two pastas, two mains, and a soup. How wrong I was. The pastas at Contact Woolloomooloo are actually quite huge. The fact is that the utensils provided to serve the pasta (photographed) are actually huge themselves, as is the massive prawn centrepiece. It is therefore difficult to get a good perspective of the size of this pasta dish visually from a photo.

I actually really enjoyed this squid ink spaghetti with seafood. I liked that the sauce was creamy but not heavy, and translucent rather than opaque. I liked that it was thick enough to coat the spaghetti, but not so thick that the sauce felt like a meal in and of itself. I absolutely loved the interplay between the tomato and the sauce base, and enjoyed the fresh seafood as well. The octopi were my favourite element of this pasta, and I’d probably get one just with octopi by itself if I could – they were just so delicious. I can whole heartedly recommend this dish – just don’t go in thinking that it’s small – it’s either a full meal for one, or half a meal for two.

Truffle Coxetti (Spaghetti)

Next on our culinary journey was the truffle spaghetti (usually a coxetti) with forest mushrooms, roma tomato, brie, garlic, white wine, truffle oil ($28). This pasta was a very creamy celebration of truffle and mushroom flavours. My partner really enjoyed this pasta, however again it was an absolutely huge serving. We saw the writing on the wall, and after each sampling a serving we asked for it to be packed for takeaway, a nonstandard request which the staff thoughtfully obliged. Our waiter commented that chef was very generous with his servings, and we agreed.

Poached Yellowtail Kingfish

Next was the Poached Yellowtail Kingfish with broccoli, soy, pearl cous cous, ginger, viola ($36). Two confounding factors make my review of this dish less reliable. The first is that after two soups and two pastas I was already reaching my limit of abdominal distension. The second is that we had just about reached our 2-hour parking limit for Zone 28, so I had to venture out into rain and move my car around the corner into a new parking zone. The fish was served whilst I was away, although our very helpful waiter did offer to keep it under heat until I returned. My partner, who had the opportunity to eat this dish from hot, thoroughly enjoyed it. She isn’t usually the biggest fan of fish, and the last time she had cooked whitefish that wasn’t toothfish she hated the texture. This was the first time that either of us had had kingfish that wasn’t at least a little bit Japanese – we mostly have kingfish either raw or aburi as sashimi or sushi. I personally found the kingfish a bit tough this time – a texture that was accentuated by the thick cut of the portion that we got. Perhaps I wouldn’t felt differently if the fish had been cut into thinner steaks, but we will never know. My partner enjoyed the soy bath, pearl and cous cous, and ultimately the dish as a whole more than me. While I understand that this kingfish wasn’t given all of the opportunities in life that it could’ve, I wouldn’t order it again.

Black Angus sirloin

Our final dish was the Black Angus sirloin with portobello mushrooms, thyme, pumpkin-potato, horseradish, rosemary, black mustard seeds ($35). I find it very hard to judge this dish fairly. On one hand, I was absolutely stuffed from the preceding five courses. On the other hand, it is true that I didn’t enjoy this as much as I had expected from reading the other online reviews. What I can tell you was that the pumpkin-potato mash was absolutely divine, very creamy and not overmashed. The portobello mushrooms were grilled to perfection and remained juicy enough to provide umami bombs with every mouthful. The beef itself we had medium-rare, and while I did enjoy it I didn’t feel like it was anything to write home about. We did appreciate the plating, of course, and my partner actually did like the beef a lot more than me.

All things considered we had a very nice and luxurious two and a half hour lunch at Contact Bar & Kitchen in Woollomoolloo. The servings were very generous and the service was second to none, so much so that we actually ended up tipping more than we ever have for any meal – including $500+ degustations. I would definitely recommend paying Contact a visit, especially if you can book a 30% or 50% off slot, but even if you can’t , their lunch specials ($25 for wine and a meal) are a good deal.

4.5/5

Contact Bar & Kitchen
88 Crown St, Woolloomooloo NSW 2011
(02) 9281 2114

Categories
Italian

Bistro on the Greens – South Coogee NSW Pizza Review

This is a quick DoorDash review of pizza ordered from Bistro on the Greens before a night shift.

I enjoyed the Diavola ($21), which had a good spicy flavour to it. It was not as special as Da Mario‘s diavola, however, which is still the best I’ve ever had.

I found the The Henning Calzone ($20) to be a bit difficult to eat. It was not pre-cut and I tried to eat it like a sandwich but had much difficulty. In this regard I would rate my previous calzone from Beretta in Ramsgate higher.

The San Remo Linguine (not pictured – $25) I could have lived without. I enjoyed the prawns but not the pasta, which I thought was not sauced enough. I put it into the fridge after a couple of mouthfulls. My partner took this to work and enjoyed it, apart from the prawns which she doesn’t normally like. She threw the prawns away and I didn’t get to eat the rest.

Bistro on the Greens Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Categories
Italian

Arthur’s Pizza – Rosebery NSW Restaurant Review

Everyday when you’re walking down the street,
Every pizza that you eat,
Has an original point of view.

The first thing of note about Arthur’s Pizza is the rectangular boxes that they use to store and transport circular pizzas. These boxes are constructed in a way where they open as a bit of an envelope, with the exterior flap opening superiorly and an inferior flap opening inferiory, both held together by carboard tabs.

I took advantage of Arthur’s Pizza’s $12 medium pizza takeaway deal, which is available daily until 7PM.


Arthur’s (Pepperoni, Roma Tomato, Capsicum, Mushroom)

Arthur’s eponymous pizza, named after a rascally aardvark, features Pepperoni, Roma Tomato, Capsicum, Mushroom atop a tomato-sauced thin crispy base. It’s a very fresh pizza, loaded with large tomato slices, that delivers a juiciness with each bite. This fresh tomato-y juiciness is supplemented well by the slight spiciness of the pepperoni, creating a very well composed pizza overall. I liked this so much that I had the entire pizza in one day, bar one slice which I saved for my partner. Unfortunately my orange cat got to the slice before she could, and dragged it onto the floor. My partner will never know the joy that I know.

Randwick (Olives, Anchovies, Capers, Semi-Dried Tomato, Basil)

The Randwick pizza features Olives, Anchovies, Capers, Semi-Dried Tomato, Basil – a flavour apparently developed to appease Eastern Suburbs Prince of Wales types. I found it, from my traditional Western Sydney frame of reference, not to my taste. I keep trying to force myself to eat anchovies with the thought that maybe if I eat enough I will find an anchovy I like. While I didn’t hate the anchovies on this pizza, I did not like how it was just covered in olives. The combination of salty fish and salty olives did not do well at creating a balanced pizza. Unlike Arthur’s namesake pizza, each bite of the Randwick was more and more of the same. While I’m normally an olive fan I ended up just picking off the olives and eating the pizza without them.

VERDICT

Arthur’s Pizza, at the bargain basement price of $12 for a medium, provides a good feed with a thin, crispy crust. Get what you like, don’t get what you don’t like in the hope that you will like it.

4/5

Arthur’s Pizza Rosebery
1/3 Dunning Ave, Rosebery NSW 2018
(02) 9313 8100

Arthur's Pizza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Categories
Asian Fusion Italian Japanese

Casoni – Darlinghurst NSW Restaurant Review

Casoni is one of the nicest meals I’ve had in some time. The menu was described to us as “Modern Italian”, with a selection of Italian staples fused with some Japanese inspiration.

We started with the Wattle Seed Flatbread ($6). Originally our choice of topping was going to be the salmon roe, however as they were out of stock we had to improvise. After the reassurance of our host that the serving of bread would be “quite generous” and suited to having two sides/toppings, I chose the ortiz anchovies ($6) and green garlic burrata ($10). While the bread was warm, soft, fragrant and delicious, it turns out that “quite generous” was a straight out lie. I would not characterise the bread as being suited to having two toppings. One was more than enough, so much so that we weighed up whether or not we should order a second serving of flatbread to mop up voluminous sides.

The ortiz anchovies ($6) were salty. I think they always are. I’m yet to develop a taste for them. My partner straight up refused to try it (she’s a bit of a fish-o-phobe).

The garlic green burrata ($10) was quite delicious. The inside of the burrata was very wet. It was a great dish to spread on the bread.

Black garlic bread

The Black Garlic Bread ($8) is a must try. It is more of a dessert than a garlic bread, with a sweet glaze and sauce. The topping of miso butter was divine. It is a house specialty for a reason and I would recommend no one leave this restaurant without trying it (cats and other people who can’t have garlic aside).

Tuna Carpaccio

The yellowfin tuna carpaccio with wasabi cream and burnt mandarin dressing ($18) was quite good but straddled the line towards being too tasty. I thought that the wasabi cream and burnt mandarin dressing overpowered the fish to the extent where I couldn’t really taste the star ingredient. While the flavours were good I wonder if a bit of tweaking is in order to highlight the tuna a bit better. Wasabi-phobes need not worry, the wasabi itself isn’t too strong.

Sausage and pecorino pappardelle

The sausage and pecorino pappardelle ($?26) was delicious. The serving size was large enough to share between two. The pappardelle was fresh and soft and tasty – not too al dente for me. The serving of sausage was extremely and unexpectedly generous, there was enough for each bite, and the pecorino added a great sharp flavour to the dish. While I’ve read from other reviews that pasta isn’t Casoni’s strong point, my experience with this pasta would lead me to disagree. It was just fantastic.

Comfortable seats

VERDICT

As I’m sure you can tell by now we really enjoyed our meal at Casoni. We can’t wait to go back.

5 stars.

Casoni
371-373 Bourke St, Darlinghurst NSW 2010
0449 516 798

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

Categories
Asian Fusion Café Italian Korean

Amuze – Darlinghurst NSW Restaurant Review

This is not a criticism of Amuze at all, but as I was driving to Amuze in one of Sydney CBD’s many 40 km/hr zones a man in a white Porsche Cayenne aggressively tailgated me, beeped his horn at me, then ultimately did an illegal U-turn through double lines. As I was looking for parking near Amuze I once again saw this man, still in his car, parked adjacent to one of the only free spots directly outside the restaurant. As I didn’t want to be assaulted by this bad man I had to keep driving and eventually park around the corner.

Amuze salmon steak

I had the salmon steak ($19.50) consisting of a piece of pan-fried salmon atop salad with spiralised zuchini, sun dried tomatoes and carrot and a side of potato. The salmon itself was delicious, with crispy skin and a partially cooked inside. I’m surprised how much I enjoyed the spiralised zucchini salad – it was really tasty with its zesty flavours. The potatoes had a nice fried exterior however I felt the interior was too starchy.

While I ate outside, the interior of the restaurant looked really nice. There’s plenty more on the menu that I’d like to try – the cafe pride itself on a number of Korean inspired dishes, and has a few Korean chefs.

Will come back soon I hope.

UPDATE 15/11/2020

So I did come back, five days after my initial meal – this time with my partner and one of our emergency medicine friends.

Amuze cream cheese pancakes

The cream cheese pancakes ($17.50) were good. The pancakes themselves were soft with a complex slightly sourdough-like flavour, and not too sweet (yum). There was a huge serving of cream cheese topping (yum), compote (yum), and fresh strawberries and blueberries (standard).

Amuze spaghetti white truffle ragu

The spaghetti white truffle ragu ($19.50) was delicious! The sauce was creamy and flavourful. The sausage mince added additional bursts of flavour atop the sauce. The spaghetti was cooked a bit too al dente for me, but still yummy.

Coffee ($3.80 for a latte), was unfaultable – very good.

Closing comments – while Amuze bills itself as Korean-Italian fusion, my impression is that their menu consists of either Korean or Italian dishes. The three dishes that we’ve tried (and the chicken parma that my ED colleague tried – not pictured or reviewed) were all firmly in the Italian camp of things, with no real Korean touches. I wonder if the other half of the menu – which consists of kimchi ramen and bibimbap among other things – have more Western elements in them. Not a complaint – just an observation.

4.5/5

Amuze
1 Burton St, Darlinghurst NSW 2010
0487 037 757

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