Tag Archives: hatted restaurant

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


District Dining, Surry Hills

28 Nov

I love going to District Dining, especially with a group of friends as the menus are designed to be shared and I love having a taste of a bit of everything. This is my second time visiting District Dining and this time I am dining with Mr Dough for my birthday.

To kick-start the celebrations – a birthday cocktail!

Limited edition San Pellegrino (Bvlgari), Green Apple Mojito - $17

We thought we would take our time in eating our meal so we just ordered some starters to begin with. I’ve had the crispy quails eggs before and love the perfectly crumbed quail eggs with tarragon mayonnaise. I don’t know why but I can’t stand the smell/taste of dried tarragon but love it when it’s fresh. Upon biting it, the semi runny yolk oozes out.

Crispy quails eggs, tarragon mayonnaise - $14

The crispy pigs ears were a little tough but never less they serve as a really good beer snack! The Szechuan salt makes it awfully addictive and time and time again the waiter asks if we were done with it and I was very reluctant to let it go.

Crispy pigs ears, Szechuan salt - $10

My newly discovered food for 2011 is quinoa (pronounced keen-wah). I regard it as the super food of the year as it is high in protein, iron and dietary fibre and the best thing of all is that it is gluten-free. I love eating it in salads or even just by itself as it has a chewy, grain like texture and it is not gluggy like. The kingfish was layed serenely on top of the quinoa and you had to scoop the whole thing up to eat. The wasabi pannacotta gave that extra kick, whilst the hint of ponzu brings me back to the various izakaya’s in Japan.

Kingfish, wasabi pannacotta, quinoa, ponzu - $19

By this stage we wanted to order the spatchcock as that has been a favourite of ours but we wanted to try dessert tonight as it was my birthday and Mr Dough thought he could align his stomach to mine’s tonight. We settled on steak tartare instead. The steak tartare came pre-mixed in a cute, oval shape with a generous serving of fries. The amount of seasoning was perfect and there was a balance of flavours and no over powering acidity coming from the capers and the cornichons.

Steak tartare, aioli, french fries, sourdough - $20

My favourite of the night….dessert!!! It’s not often we get to eat dessert when we eat out as Mr Dough is more of a savoury man! But seeing it was my birthday, he saved space for me. I chose something which was not overly sweet and rich so Mr Dough would enjoy it too. This is a decadent version of strawberries and cream. The sourness of the raspberry sorbet cuts through the sweetness of the meringue. The serving size was so generous, I was afraid we couldn’t finish the 2nd dessert.

Meringue, strawberries and cream, raspberry sorbet - $14

The chocolate mousse came out looking like a Billy Law from Masterchef’s dessert when he did the office catering challenge. The mousse was looking rich and sweet but it was surprisingly light. I enjoyed the hazelnut crumble as it reminded me of baked cheesecake base. I tried to hide the thought of how much calories I had consummed in dessert.

Chocolate mousse, hazelnut brittle ice cream, hazelnut crumble - $14

We took our time eating dinner and being a school night, we were one of the last ones to leave the restaurant and that was at 10:30pm. I love coming here time and time again as I am never short of choices to choose from. And better yet, it gives me an excuse to ask heaps of friends for lunch/dinner catch ups…all in the name of sharing food.


District Dining

17 Randle Street

Sydney, NSW 2010

P: 02 9211 7798

H: Monday Dinner 6 – 11pm
Tuesday, Wednesday,
Thursday & Saturday
Lunch 12 – 3pm & Dinner 6 – 11pm
Friday, open all day 12 – 11pm
Sunday long lunch 12 – 5pm