Friday, 11 December 2009

this just in (new Sydney dining)

(as heard on FBI radio)

My hit list of restaurants I still haven't been to in Sydney is pretty long. Despite the fact that some reviewers complain that there still isn't enough that's truly good in this town, I'm starting to get nervous about how few restaurants I've ticked off on my list in comparison to the length of the list itself.

New establishments seem to pop up all the time - some are a welcome addition to the fold and others, we take bets on for how long they'll take to fold.

Not one to take other people's word for it, neither should you. Here are three NKOTB (new kids on the block) to try this week:

1. Iima

Corner of Goulburn and Pitt Streets,
in the old Mandarin Club
Ph 8080 7727

Fusion. A culinary trend treated mostly as passé these days, combining the best of two or more cuisines to (ideally) create synergy. Sometimes it's a win (Tetsuya) and sometimes, a fail (take your pick).

Iima (which means 'full belly' in Thai and 'now' in Japanese) isnt' completely a restaurant of singular fusion, as a permanent Iron Chef challenge: Duelling teams of chefs cranking out Japanese and Thai cuisines on a tandem menu. Presided over by Chai Thai goddess Amy Chanta (owner and creater of those 'som tum lovers') with Iron Chef Japan played by Toshiya Kai (from Mosman's Goemon Sushi).

There are instances where the twain shall meet, for example the tempura som tum but you'll find just as much satisfaction from the unmuddied menu, a mixture of Japanese and Thai classics.

The sprawling venue is spread over two levels and there's a cocktail bar to boot, so make an evening of it. I highly suggest once sated to head to one of the local karaoke joints and work of your meal by belting out a few classics.

info reference: eatstreets.

2. Baroque Bistro Patisserie

88 George Street, The Rocks, Sydney

If you're a fan of French bistro dining, Sydney isn't such a bad place to be. With everything from stalwarts in Sel e Poivre, Onde and Tabou to celebrity chef'd L'Etoile (courtesy of Manu Feildel), supper club style Tastevin and hip (hop) Flinders Inn - do you we really need another?

Some say 'less is more', but really..let's face it: more is more - and who can say no to eating at a chic, charming French restaurant. Things are looking up for The Rocks, with Baroque Bistro Patisserie, adding to the recent list of new blood to the area (Wine Odyssey, Sake), giving locals a reason to brave the tourists.

Baroque's (moderately priced) menu is a nod to both old and new, with classics like soufflé au fromage ($15) to less the less predictable cigar chèvre frais, tomates aigre douces, concombre (goat cheese cigar, sweet and sour tomatoes, cucumber $15).

If you're a fan of an open kitchen so you can check out the flaming action then you're in luck, too.

3. Amacord

1/96 Bronte Rd
Bondi Junction NSW 2022
(02) 9369 4071

Bondi Junction isn't the first place most people gravitate towards as a dining hub. With Bronte and Bondi just down the road, 'the jungle' may be the daggy uncle of the eastern suburbs, but there are some gems worth fossicking for.

Slang for ‘I remember’, this Italian joint is dedicated to the owners’ Vincenzo Biondini and Andrea Riva’s home town of Cesena (and a nod to Fellini's film of the same name).

Cesena, the meat in the sandwich of Adriatic Sea and the Appennine Mountains, Biondini (ex co-owner of Balmain's Rosso Pomodoro) says one of the best things about coming from this area is “ten minutes drive one way and you are at the beach gorging on seafood. Go the other way and you are in the hills surrounded by wild mushrooms and game food.”

Naturally, the menu flows from the roots of traditional dishes produced from this area of the world, with an emphasis on great produce and honest family-style service. Expect seasonal produce to feature, including the delicately battered stuffed zucchini flowers, handmade pasta and fresh seafood.