Categories
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.

VERDICT
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

Categories
Modern Australian

Acre Eatery – Camperdown NSW Restaurant Review

I’m told that Acre Eatery in Camperdown is one of the many cafes available to staff at the Centre of Excellence™. One of our friends and colleagues from said centre suggested we have lunch here, not knowing that lunch is a $70 per person set menu.

Acre is apparently a farm-to-bowl establishment. Some or all of the plant matter served comes straight from the tiny on-site organic farm, which I expect must be an extremely expensive piece of government subsidised real estate in the inner West.

So first of all, I love small foods in big plates. The Sweet potato fritti, spiced fruit marmallatta fits that criteria well, and also meets the additional hidden criteria of having two words I don’t know. These were basically crispy sweet potato balls that were probably fried but possibly baked. I’m scared to write definitively because I don’t want these inner city types to sue me.

I really enjoyed the Cannelini bean & almond hummus, roasted grapes, homemade lavosh, even though one of our colleagues said she could do it better.

The Local burrata with lemon oil was also great. One of my other friends was very keen on this and I think noticeably sad when they took it away unfinished. There was no explanation of whether it was the cow or the cheese that was local and I think this detracted from the experience.

The mains I didn’t get to take a photo of, but allow me to paint a poor picture in few words.

The Porchetta, celeriac puree, roasted quince was quite good. It was a large portion with a generous serving of pork, and good flavours.

The Pan-fried King trout, braised cabbage, pippies, capers was extremely disappointing. The trout itself was not faultable, however the accompanying braised cabbage and vegetables were reminiscent (in both form and taste) of the frozen cubed vegetable mix that you’d get from the supermarket.

The five of us did not stray from these two mains. There were some other choices available without animal but I guess we love animal.

I would probably not go back to Acre as it stands, but I would recommend it to a friend. There’s only so much of the exact same menu that you can eat and enjoy. Maybe they will change their menu in the post-COVID age.

ACRE Camperdown
31A Mallett St, Camperdown NSW 2050
(02) 9194 3100