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Friday
Jan052018

Short & Sweet: CHISWICK restaurant, Woollahra, Sydney

Style: Modern Australian

Budget: Mid-range – expensive (depends what you order). 

Venue and atmosphere: Set in an old Victorian house with thatched windows all the way around, this tasteful, elegant dining room is filled with natural light. Walking through the dappled sunlight and calm of Chiswick Gardens, set back from busy Ocean St, one expects an oasis of calm, but the food is far too good for that. It is is very busy and full of chatter. If you prefer a quieter experience, sit in the few tables in the shady courtyard, which were inexplicably empty when I dined there.

Service: Helpful and efficient, if a little rushed (they were very busy). My waiter did take the time though to guide me towards some great menu choices, which I really appreciated as I was dining alone, so couldn’t order too much, and it is one of those menus where I wanted to order absolutely everything.

Food: 

The concept and ethos of this restaurant is immediately clear when you read the top of the menu: “Planted in our Woollahra garden months ago, harvested this morning, ready for you right now.” What can’t be found in the kitchen garden is likely to come direct from Matt Moran’s own farm and, if not, you can be sure it is from a handful of carefully selected local producers.

The menu is arranged into a few individual bites, a large helping of small share plates and a handful of larger share plates for bigger groups. At least the fact that I was on my own helped me to narrow down the selection somewhat to just the small plates.

I eventually settled on Swordfish, Green Tomato, Lime; Grilled Prawns, Finger Lime, Sorrel; and Chiswick Crispy Duck, Orange, Lettuce. 

The duck was the standout dish. It was a perfect example of Modern Australian fusion, a fresh twist on the classic duck a-la-orange with an Asian twist. When I say fresh, I mean both the approach and the flavours. Fresh oranges, not cooked, thinly sliced and dressed with fish sauce, orange juice and sprinkled with chives. The duck itself was some of the best I have ever had – deep red, meltingly tender meat encrusted in skin so crispy it could be mistaken for pork crackling. A bowl of lettuce leaves to wrap it all up in rounded out the East meets West theme and added yet another layer of freshness.

The swordfish was somewhere between a tartare and ceviche and yet another perfectly pitched dish drawing on global flavours. Green tomatoes were slightly crisp and brought both a little sweetness and acidity to the dish.  The rest of the ingredients – small flecks of jalapeno, dill, lime zest and paprika – were used very sparingly, allowing the fish (very slightly cured in lime juice) to shine.

Grilled prawns were good, but the least interesting of the three dishes. They were perfectly cooked and the charcoal flavour worked well with the bitter leaves and little bursts of acidity from the finger lime, but I found that it overpowered the flavour of the prawns. The overiding flavour was of barbie, not shrimp.

Drink: I was only allowed one glass of wine (driving) and wanted to be sure it was a good one. I was tentative when my waiter suggested a Petit Chablis, as I can drink that any old time in the UK, but it hit the proverbial nail on the head with all the key attributes I’d requested – something with a bit of body and fruit to it, but not too heavy for a very hot day.

In a nutshell: Taking the fashion for ‘paddock to plate’ to new heights with refined and classy cooking in elegant surrounds.   

Out of 10: 8

CHISWICK (Woollahra): 65 Ocean St, Woollahra Sydney, NSW, Australia, 2025; +61 (0)2 8388 8688; chiswick.info@solotel.com.au.

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Reader Comments (2)

your description of the food indicates why Chiswick is such a favourite here in Sydney. Sorry I wasn't around to accompany you.

January 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMa

Looks delicious...

September 12, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterWrap Fat Away

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