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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 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.


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


The Grounds of Alexandria, Alexandria

31 Jul

What do you do with an old Four n Twenty pie factory? Turn it into a cafe of course! That’s where The Grounds of Alexandria comes in. I have heard great things about this place and was warned to be prepared to wait. We had just frequented the Growers Markets and Mr Dough had round 1 of his breakfast so I had about an hour before the hungry beast growls again.

The Grounds of Alexandria is really impressive use of the 1800 square meter space. Upon entry there are vegetable gardens with roaming chooks and large outdoor communal space where people can buy takeaway. There also houses a coffee research facility (they take their coffee pretty seriously), bakery and most importantly the cafe. There were hoards of people waiting at 10am and we put our name down on the list and were informed it was an hour wait. I didn’t mind as I amused myself watching the chickens walk up and down their enclosed pen.

Spot the chook case you are lost

Ok, on to the food. The wait wasn’t too bad, we were seated within 45 minutes and the food came within 10 minutes of ordering.

The coffee so good, I had 2 cups

Too funny….I couldn’t resist

The scrambled eggs were light and fluffy and I think they can give Bill Granger a run for his money.

House-cured ocean trout with a fennel and herb salad, dill creme fraiche and scrambled eggs

I ordered this because I am fascinated with quinoa at the moment. I never had crisp quinoa before and I imagined it to be like little rice bubbles but to my surprise it was actually quite hard. It provided a really interesting textural element but after a while it keeps on getting stuck in my teeth!

Soft boiled eggs rolled in crisp quinoa


I wouldn’t be put off by the constant queues, in fact the service here is professional and welcoming. Grab a takeaway coffee and sit outside and just enjoy the weekend.


The Grounds of Alexandria

Building 7A, 2 Huntley St

Alexandria, NSW 2015

+612 9699 2225