Fine Dining Italian Middle Eastern

Bart Jr. – Redfern NSW Restaurant Review

Our recently dog-positive Redfern based friend took us to one of Redfern’s many dog-positive night time venues. We had the $65 per person feed me tasting menu, with the addition of a round of raw beef toast for the table.

I’m not very well versed in olive culture, but these green Sicilian olives were pleasantly crisp and only lightly salted. Not bad, but not something I’d willingly order from the a la carte menu for $5.

The ricotta, potato & leek fritter with smoked tomato sago and aioli was the first non-olive dish of the night, and also the start of what was essentially an abuse of shaved pecorino. Whilst I’m usually quite anti-fritter, these frittery balls were coated in a nice tomato sauce, with good internal texture and flavour. Not bad.

This visually interesting dish is Bart Jr’s kingfish & scallop crudo with yuzu kosho, buttermilk, cucumber, poppy seeds, and dill. I’m pretty sure there’s some salmon and pomegranate snuck in as well. This was a fresh tasting sashimi based dish, and whilst many of the ingredients – for example buttermilk and poppy seed didn’t make a huge difference in flavour, the dill really shone through. Dill generally pairs quite well with seafood, and this was no exception. Well liked around the table. Pretty good.

The raw beef toast with duck dripping, chives, pecorino di fossa, and crispy onion atop grilled garlicky sourdough ($9 supplement each) was not included in our tasting menu but probably the best morsel of the night, and a must get. Each bite of these juicy, thickly topped slices of sourdough was extremely decadent, with the cheeses, sauces, and raw meat all melting together in the mouth. A nice hit of umami that I wish there were more of. A really elevated snack.

The sheep’s halloumi in rosemary butter with burnt honey, verjuice, currants and hazelnuts is the rare sweet halloumi dish. Despite the multiple sources of sweetness and the contrasting innate saltiness of the halloumi this dish was able to avoid being over-flavoured. It was pretty nice, but I think a bit of bread served with it would’ve gone a long way.

Speaking of bread, the next dish on the menu was the rosemary and garlic focaccia with fermented chilli butter and olive oil. My feelings towards this bread dish are not as fond as some of our friends. I think that the fermented chilli butter, whilst good, was wasted on the focaccia which was already quite adequately flavoured and salted on its own. I would’ve preferred to have the chilli butter (as well as the preceding halloumi) with some more plain bread so that it could’ve been enjoyed more on its own merit. The combination of bread and chilli butter was, in my opinion, the combination of two strong and non-complimentary flavours.

The pasta formosa with lamb shoulder ragu, green peas, pecorino and pangrattato was the third appearance of Bart Jr’s overreliance on pecorino. The pasta was quite al dente, moreso than I normally like, but still pretty good. The serving of beef was generous, and while the ragu flavours were good, they were no more special than any other ragu at any other restaurant we’ve been to recently.

The salad dish was made of baby gem leaves, eschallot vinaigrette, pecorino, and fennel seed pangrattato. Are you starting to see a trend? Maybe pecorino was on sale at the supplier.

Whilst I didn’t really enjoy the roasted hasselback potatoes with creme fraiche and aleppo pepper, thinking to be a bit too dry even with the sauce, my potato-positive partner thought that it was “a fine potato”

The charred ocean trout skewer with caramelised fennel, harissa, yoghurt, and mint was NYL’s least favourite dish, and in my opinion probably the weaker of the two options for mains. It is a 200 gram skewer of trout cooked in a Middle Eastern style. The fish is well cooked, to a safe degree whilst still retaining a semi-rare moist inside. I wasn’t a big fan of the fennel, however, and I thought the harrisa-heavy flavour, though not bad on its own, was a bit incongruous with the tone set by the rest of the meal.

I get highly anxious about driving after any quantity of alcohol, so this Heiwa Shuzo ‘Tsuruume’ Yuzushu was perfect as an inclusion on Bart Jr’s tasting menu. It was pretty tasty and refreshing (tart, not too sweet), but takes this somewhat disordered journey from Italy, to the Middle East, and now Japan.

Bart Jr’s was generally pretty good, with the major standout being the raw beef toast. They have a minimum spend of $60 per head, so you might have to get some other food and drinks unless you want 7 pieces.

Bart Jr.
92 Pitt St, Redfern NSW 2016
0401 899 845

Dog tax, mid-corkscrew vs giraffe toy

Diners: JW, PX, NYL and dog, LH


Artistry Garden – Sydney CBD NSW Restaurant Review

This is a sad story.

Artistry Garden opened in early 2020 to critical acclaim for its Japanese-French fusion cuisine.

They came onto my radar several months ago, but I had put off dining at Artistry Garden until now as they open only for breakfast and lunch, and only during weekdays – any visitor from outside the CBD would therefore need to contend with driving and more importantly parking in the Sydney CBD.

My partner and I finally scrounged up the courage to venture into the CBD during our annual leave, on 11/11 of all days. We were able to find a 2 hour park 1.3km away in Woolloomooloo (near Contact Bar & Kitchen), and made the journey through the park to the restaurant.

Once we arrived it became apparent that the Japanese-French menu I had been salivating over for the past months had been recently replaced by something much less exciting and much more just plain French. It turns out Artistry Garden’s original Michelin starred chef Masahiko Yomoda had recently (in the past week) returned to Japan to be with his family during the coronavirus pandemic, and a new chef had started and brought his own, decidedly more average menu.

Jasper Grilled King Prawns (half serve pictured)

The Jasper Grilled King Prawns (4 for $23) were served butterflied, shell on. They had a strong prawn flavour, which my partner did not like but I did not mind. I found that the butterflied presentation of the prawns with their shell on did make them a bit more difficult to eat than they could have been. The light sauce of miso butter was quite nice, however the majority of it remained on the plate, as opposed to drizzled on the prawns. Not good, not bad.

I have mixed feelings about the Petuna ocean trout with spinach, brown butter, hazelnuts, and mandarin ($36). The trout had a nice and cripsy scored skin, and the meat of the fish was cooked well, not overcooked. The mandarin pieces were an absolute treat – warm on the inside with a burst of warm juice when bitten into. Apart from these two positive elements, however, there was a bit to complain about. We didn’t like that the meal was served in basically a puddle of brown butter sauce. It made every bite, especially of the spinach and nuts which were fully submerged in the sauce very oily.

Feather and bone rump steak

The Feather and bone rump steak in red wine sauce, parsley, garlic butter ($40) was the most expensive item on the menu, and replaces the wagyu from the previous menu. We had it cooked medium-rare, and thought that doneness aside the meat was quite lukewarm when we received it, and rapidly lost its warmth in the wind tunnel that is One Farrer Place. The fries were fresh and delicious with the red wine sauce. The steak was fine but nothing to write home about. The garlic butter and red wine sauce were good but again not a revelation. This dish lacked the X factor in that nothing was particularly special about it.

We had a glass of sangria ($9), a soy latte, and a cappuccino to go.

The sangria was nice and fresh, large, juicy.

The coffees were good! Though the small coffee really was small.

Ultimately I was quite disappointed by Artistry Garden. I had hyped up the place so much in my mind, and it was all shattered when they lost their original chef and the menu changed.

Give me a call when he’s back from Japan. Until then, I woudn’t come back

$120 for 2 including drinks
3 feathers/5 bones

Artistry Garden
One Farrer Pl, Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9241 7101