Saturday, June 30, 2012


After failing to find a parking spot around Potts Point last weekend, our original dinner destination, we decided to head towards Bondi, and as luck would have it, we drove by CHISWICK, which instantly became our dinner venue for the night. 

Communal table and open kitchen
Co-owners Matt Moran and Peter Sullivan have certainly put some thoughts into Sydney's hottest new restaurant. While reservations are taken for the main dining room, a large bar area caters for walk-ins, where causal communal dining is the way to go. There are also outdoor seatings, which would be perfect when the weather warms up.

Once the garden of Chiswick, a mid-nineteenth century private house, the grounds are lush and beautiful. It was too dark and cold for me to try to get a glimpse of the 150sqm kitchen garden that's unique to CHISWICK, but it's good to know that what we get on our plates are fresh and home-grown produce.

Greeted with a warm smile, we were quickly seated in the bar area. Just looking at the dishes coming out from the open kitchen had us salivating in no time.

CHISWICK Bloody Mary
The drink list caters for just about anything you'd want, be it cocktails, beer, cider, wine, spirits or even home-made sodas. I could not resist the CHISWICK Bloody Mary (Belvedere Bloody Mary vodka, tomato, chilli, celery salt & cucumber) and my friend went for The Bold & The Beautiful (Marker's Mark bourbon, chestnut liqueur, earl grey tea & fresh lemon). When our drinks arrived I had to do a double take on mine, yep, the glass was rimmed with chilli flakes! Very cool in my books.

The food menu is divided into sections, so you can order your food depending on how hungry you are. We skipped "Nibbles" and went straight to "Small Plates" and zoomed in on the Chicken liver parfait, date puree, grilled bread and Salad of beetroot, quinoa, pumpkin seeds, feta. It was harder to decide when it came to the "Mains", while the Roasted snapper fillet, celeriac, walnuts, bois boudran sauce caught my eyes, the Wood roasted Moran family lamb, chick peas, mint from the "To Share" section won us over.

When taking our orders, our waiter kindly warned us that the lamb dish is rather big, so we decided to pass on the chicken liver parfait for the time being. In hindsight, we probably should have left out the Hand cut chips, thyme, black garlic aioli too. You should have seen our faces when the lamb was brought to our table. My concept of a "to share" dish is for two, but looking at the whole lamb shoulder that was sitting in front of me, I was sure it could feed a family of four!

Wood roasted Moran family lamb
Roasted on the bone in a wood-fired oven for 8hrs, the lamb shoulder is served with a knife and fork stubbed into it. Very dramatic presentation. The meat was juicy and tender, simply fell off the bone with the slightest touch from your fork.

The Salad of beetroot, quinoa, pumpkin seeds, feta was delicious but not what we expected, both of us thought it'd come with some green leaves, perhaps the Steamed broccoli with garlic and chilli would have been a better choice.

Even though we barely finished the lamb, good effort we were told, I just couldn't resist ordering the Rhubarb ├ęclair, with poached rhubarb, custard apple. And am I glad I ordered it. Soft and creamy, sweet and tangy, oh it was heavenly! 

I really enjoyed the casual communal dining environment, but next time I think I'll give the main dining room a go, just to experience the difference. Plus I already picked out the dishes I want to try: Char grilled scallops, artichokes, burnt butter, tarragon and Beef, pearl onions and ale pie; I may be swayed to try the Poached quince crumble with ginger ice cream, but it may have to be on top of a serving of the Rhubarb ├ęclair!

CHISWICK: 65 Ocean Street, Woollahra, NSW 2025  Chiswick on Urbanspoon

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