When I was planning my visit to Sydney to attend the Gunnas writing class I didn’t want to waste an opportunity to visit with some of the most wonderful Australian bloggers who live there. Through my blog I have met the most outstanding people and you all know who you are. Every time we plan to visit somewhere, I do my best to catch up.
Because Chinese New Year coincided with the writing class, Lorraine, Nagi and Celia couldn’t make dinner on Saturday night. We met them for breakfast on Sunday morning at Three Queens on King in Newtown . Charlie and Tania were free on that night but where to go? It had been years since I’d been to Sydney and it seemed nobody wanted to choose in case it was a crap meal. So I turned to Polkadot PR who are in Sydney and said we were coming down and did they have any restaurants that they could recommend. I didn’t want a free meal, only a darned good one, I told her.
They recommended Downstairs Restaurant in Surry Hills. It wasn’t too difficult for everyone to get to and we decided to meet for drinks at the bar upstairs called The Hazy Rose. Charlie was on time and drummed her fingers on the table until we arrived and then she looked out the window to see Tania on the pavement. Finally, drinks in hand we toasted our friendship and passed gossip back and forth for 20 minutes. I apologise for the photos. The truth is, I was so excited to chat with Charlie and Tania that well, I didn’t compensate for the yellow overhead lights. John rolled his eyes and the shots did improve but not enough.
We met Olivia who showed us to our table and within minutes brought us a complimentary taste of black pudding cubes. Black pudding and I have never been best of friends but this was outstanding. It was crunchy and light and full of flavour.
It took ages to decide what to order. Food lovers want to order everything knowing they can’t fit it all in – am I right? That’s what we did. We shared chicken liver parfait which was Charlie’s favourite. I liked it too because it was smooth and the curried applesauce was wonderful with it.
We also shared a warm asparagus entree with cubes of beetroot, granny smith apple, creme fraiche and puy lentil dressing. I really enjoy asparagus and this dish was a real treat. The lentils were soft but not mushy and all the flavours married well.
The mains arrived soon after our entrees were finished. Charlie ordered a chargrilled spatchcock with a beautiful head of roasted garlic, a few Dutch carrots, ribbons of zucchini and a light tarragon sauce.
I chose the pork tenderloin and it was served with a light sauce and a fennel and pear salad. It was well cooked and the seasoning was just right.
Tania selected the fish of the day which was a blue eye trevalla, a type of deep sea fish and it was served with samfire, saffron potatoes and a medallion of lemon, caper and parsley butter.
John was the only unlucky one because he ordered a medium-rare sirloin and it arrived beautifully cooked and accompanied by a huge bowl of chips. I was drooling until I saw him sawing his steak. And sawing. It was so tough he couldn’t eat it. There was plenty of food to go around and remember, he was grumpy anyway.
We were all stuffed but John and I were celebrating our tenth wedding anniversary so we needed something a bit special. We had a milk chocolate marquise with honeycomb and strawberries. I love honeycomb but this one had been in the refrigerator too long so the first bite left honeycomb in my teeth til nearly time for toothbrushing before bed. We also shared a cheese platter and all the cheeses paired well with the quince paste and apple chutney. I love a cheese board for dessert.
I hated saying good night but it had been a long day for all of us. My thanks to the kind folks at Polkadot PR for suggesting this restaurant and to Olivia from Downstairs Restaurant for giving us a night to remember. To Charlie and Tania, I’m so lucky you two are in my life. Charlie also wrote about her experiences that night over on HotlySpiced.com.