Tag Archives: bistro

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.


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 Ortolan on Bayswater, Potts Point

13 Jun

We first experienced Bistro Ortolan a few years back when it was still located in Leichardt. I still remember that day; we were celebrated Valentine’s Day one day early as we were due to fly out to Japan to experience the last of the snow season. I had finished work really late and by that stage there was no mood to go out and celebrate Valentine’s Day as I was exhausted. We went for the Degustation menu and were impressed by every single dish that came out. I still remember trying rabbit and sweetbreads for the first time.

The ducks logo retained on their new menu

Fast forward to 3 years later, we are back again for Mr Dough’s birthday dinner, armed with the latest edition of the Entertainment Book with a 25% off voucher. I am a gal who can’t resist a bargain!

Bistro Ortolan is now located at the old Bayswater Brassiere site and has a new name called The Ortolan on Bayswater. The new name also brings new dining experiences with the restaurant giving diners the option to have a casual experience in the courtyard or fine dining options with their fixed and degustation menu. Having already tried their degustation menu, we opted for the casual option as I was enticed by reading reviews on their home-made charcuterie selection.

It’s a Tuesday night and only the front of the restaurant was open. Upon entry we were greeted by the warm, friendly staff and even got a hello from the chef himself Paul McGrath.

Complimentary sour dough

Whilst perusing the menu deciding what to eat, the diners next to us orders the charcuterie selection and I was shocked to see a board as long as our dining table was presented.

Sneek peek of the star of the night

We started off the night with a selection of Pacific, Sydney Rock and Giant St Helen’s Bay oysters shucked to order. Mr Dough doesn’t like eating big oysters as he thinks the slimy texture magnifies with size. Thinking it would be raw; I ordered 1 just to try. Much to my surprise, the St Helen’s Bay was served tempura style. The oyster was lightly cooked in the middle and retained its sweetness of the sea water brine.

Oysters: Coffin Bay ($4 each); Giant wild St Helens’ Bay ($6 each)

Half eaten and look how big it is still!

Oysters: Coffin Bay/Port Stephens Pambula ($4 each)

It was our turn to be adorned with the spectacle of the charcuterie table. Mr Dough offered to take photos as I was nominated to listen to what everything was. On offer there were 3 different types of rillettes: rabbit, pork and duck; 2 types of parfait: duck and chicken; 3 types of galantine: chicken and snail, quail and duck with red wine eschalots; pork cheek and a pig’s head terrine. The accompaniments included, red cabbage, caramelised onions, salad of pickled onions and cucumber and cornichons.

Look at the length of the board

A lot of love and attention to detail went into this

I got greedy and rationalised the fact that this was our entrée so I chose 5 things. Mr Dough assured me he could finish what I couldn’t.

Our greedy selection!

Assorted bread for the charcuterie board

I tried the chicken and snail galantine first and it reminded me of a really rich chicken loaf. On the outside is a layer of either fat/butter which melts in the mouth, inside delicate pieces of snail seasoned with parsley and garlic. I pick my next prey as I see pieces of pink quail peeking through the duck. All quail I have had is always warm/hot, it was slightly odd having it cold and I find it loses its gamey flavour. My favourite of the night was the duck liver parfait. Cutting into the parfait was like cutting into chocolate mousse. Spreading the parfait onto the brioche was like smothering light, airy, whipped butter. Needless to say, I ate all of the parfait and didn’t leave any room to try anything else on the board.

The waitress comes in and checks up on us half way and offers to pack away our charcuterie takeaway if we couldn’t finish it. She also kindly offers to slow down the mains and allows us to make changes to our mains if we wanted to (I unwillingly cancel the hand cut chips).

Half way though and it looks like we barely made a dent

She comes back 15 minutes later and was shocked to see a proud Mr Dough, sitting back staring at the empty charcuterie plate with a grin on his face.

Our mains arrive after a short rest. I opted for the bouillabaisse as I thought it would be light. The seafood was plentiful and was laden with a rich creamy sauce. I picked through all the shell-fish and left the remainder for Mr Dough to finish as I was still feeling that parfait.

Bouillabaisse of shellfish, snapper and crab with fresh sardine, rouille and potato – $35

The side dish of broccolini was generous in size. For those who don’t like anchovy, never fear as it is not prominent.

Steamed broccolini with anchovy butter and tomato concasse – $10

Mr Dough’s tenderloin was cooked to perfection being crisp and caramelised on the outside and juicy and tender on the inside. It was served with Forestière (mushroom) butter.

Pasture and grain-fed Tenderloin (200gms) – $42

By the end of the meal, we were asked if we could be tempted with dessert.

Well…I knew I could!

Bistro Ortolan

32 Bayswater Rd

Potts Point NSW 2011

+612 9331 7464