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Rainford Street Social, Surry Hills

26 Jan

I am subscribed to a few websites where if you sign up, book through the website, it provides you with access to discounts to quite a number of dining places in Sydney such as Manta, Spiedo, Macleay St Bistro, Neutral Bay Bar and Dining just to name a few. The best deals are mainly for mid-week dining which gives me an incentive to have a lazy day off cooking. Always wanting to try something new, I used www.fullsociety.com to make my booking for Rainford Street Social with 25% off the entire bill (BARGAIN). The booking process is simple, you need to subscribe to their website, choose number of diners, date and time and it will bring up a list of available restaurants for your chosen date. You pay a booking fee and no coupons or print outs are necessary for you to bring to the restaurant.

Located in the old Bird Cow Fish site is the neighbourhood new comer, Rainford Street Social. It is the latest baby from the team that delivered Tokonoma just next door, the restaurant focuses on Bistro grub instead of Asian fan fare. Upon entry, the restaurant has an open kitchen and a wrap around bar with heavy use of rustic timber for tables and chairs.

Whilst perusing the menu, we ordered some pork crackling and oysters from the “Bites” menu. If you are a regular of my blog, I wouldn’t have to say twice that I am an avid fan of pork crackling. The dish was like little strips of french fries, sprinkled with a touch of salt and ever so light, airy and crunchy.

Pork Crackling - $5

Pork Crackling – $5

The oysters were served with a “bleurre blanc”  type of sauce but due to the high concentration of butter, the sauce was simply “frozen” on top of the oyster. I tried one for good measure and it felt like I was chewing on a piece of butter along with my oyster. The subsequent oysters, I took off the sauce.

Oysters - $3.5 each

Oysters – $3.5 each

As the discount applies to drinks as well, I was able to try more of French Sauvignon Blanc. The wine was quite crisp with a sweet pink grapefruit undertone. I find the French Sauvignon Blanc more rounded and less tart than the New Zealand ones.

2010 Gerard Boulay Sancerre Tradition - $82

2010 Gerard Boulay Sancerre Tradition – $82

We decided on light seafood entrees so we could make room in our stomachs for sides. The salmon is house-cured on premises and the salmon skin is air-dried to make chips. The dish was simple and the freshness of the herbs makes me think of Christmas Family Lunch.

House Cured Salmon, capers, new potato salad - $14

House Cured Salmon, capers, new potato salad – $14

The tuna that we eat out are usually yellow fin or blue fin, I have never tried Albacore tuna before and keen to give it a go. Albacore tuna is known as white tuna for the lighter colour and milder flavour. The taste is definitely less meaty, if I could call it that. The contrast of textures of the potato crisps and the soft tuna, made it an indulgent version of chips and dips.

IMG_3462

Yummy Crisps

Albacore Tuna Tartare, salted crisps, bloody mary granita - $18

Albacore Tuna Tartare, salted crisps, bloody mary granita – $18

Now onto the main affair, it was a cold and rainy day and when I saw fish pie, I couldn’t find a more perfect opportunity to try. The pie had a layer of mashed potato, finished by a layer of pecorino cheese melted on top. This is a truly a moorish dish with generous chunks of prawns, fish and mussels inside. I was glad Mr Dough didn’t order anything too big for himself so he could help me finish mine.

Classic Fish Pie - $19

Classic Fish Pie – $19

I love eating spatchcock because of the tenderness of the meat. Mr Dough gave it 2 thumbs up!

Special of the Day - Grilled Spatchcock

Special of the Day – Grilled Spatchcock

I couldn’t get away with no eating some sort of veggies with the fish pie. The crispness of the iceberg lettuce shaved finely with toppings of pecorino cheese and caesar dressing was like a semi healthy version of a caesar salad as the lettuce is not drowning in the caesar dressing. The pine nuts which replaced croutons, had me convinced it was healthy (although, I don’t know about the lashings of cheese)

Iceberg salad, pecorino, caesar dressing - $8

Iceberg salad, pecorino, caesar dressing – $8

All in all, I am glad there are various restaurant booking websites to enable you to try out different places. The test is whether or not you would be back again the second time. I most certainly went back a few months later and tried out a few other different things.

Rainford Street Social

500 Crown Street

Surry Hills NSW

T: +612 9357 2573

@ ! Restaurant, Crows Nest

21 Nov

I have been quite addicted to Groupon vouchers lately, mainly because of the various restaurants being advertised. One of them was @ Restaurant. Located on Pacific Highway in Crows Nest, it joins a vast number of Japanese eateries already in the neighbourhood. I’ve walked past the shop many times before but noticed one day it was under renovation and wondered if it is operating under a new owner and yes it was! Ex-Merivale Chef Atsushi Saito of sushi e and Sushi Choo have moved into the premises bringing his famous sushi skills with him.

With my voucher in hand, thinking no booking is required on a Sunday night, the place was filled with a mixture of Japanese families, flatmates and couples. I didn’t read the fine print and needed to call ahead to book to use the voucher. Undeterred, we decided to try their normal menu offered as I was in the mood for some Japanese. Specials of the day are written on the window and on the back wall which consists of the freshest fish of the day, personally sourced by Chef Saito at the fish markets in that morning.

I was suffering from a hangover and for some reason beer is what I have been craving for afterwards. Noticed that there was a Sapporo bullet can and it was an immediate win!

Sapporo Silver – $12.50

The slices of snapper were sliced generously and were seasoned with white soy and lime dressing. Never had white soy before and it was slightly sweet with no strong saltines you would get out of regular soy.

Snapper with white soy – $12

Next up was the Wagyu thin skirt steak. This dish was very textural with tender tataki style pieces of Wagyu topped with crunchy potato shreds.

Wagyu Think Skirt

I took a risk in ordering the cheese gyoza as Mr Dough isn’t a big fan of cheese. Much to my surprise he really enjoyed it! The gyoza filled with bococcini style cheese and chopped chives, deep-fried so that the cheese was all molten inside.

Cheese Gyoza

I was also a bit sceptical about the prawn skewers on the menu as I thought it was very simple. The prawns were amazingly springy and had just the right amount of chilli sprinkled on top.

Grilled Prawn Skewers

We played Russian roulette with the hot peppers as we didn’t know which one would contain the most seeds. Chicken mince was stuffed in hot peppers, tempura style and the dish reminded me of Chinese style fish paste in capsicum but this had the heat to back it up.

Stuffed peppers

Another special of the day was tempura cuttle fish legs. I love cuttle fish legs purely on the basis that it is crunchy and meaty.

Tempura Cuttle Fish Legs – $12

We toyed with the idea of trying some sushi to finish and Mr Dough was adamant he could finish it. And of course since he is famous for his sushi!

The small sushi set arrived  and I was immediately impressed that the prawn sushi was a fresh prawn made in-house and not one of those frozen packets that most sushi train uses. The sushi rice was nice and warm with just the right amount of vinegar. Each sashimi slice was quite thick and fat and you could definitely taste the freshness of the fish.

Small sushi set

For my next arrival, I must sit on the sushi bar and befriend Atsushi so he can just whip up any type of sushi he feels like!

@ ! Restaurant (At Restaurant)

477  Pacfic Highway

Crows Nest NSW 2065

+612 9437 5285