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Monday, September 26, 2016

Bodega 1904 at the Tramsheds Harold Park

Steak tartare of wagyu rump at Bodega 1904 at the Tramsheds Harold Park

First there was Bodega. Then came Porteno and Continental Deli. Now restaurateurs Ben Milgate, Elvis Abrahanowicz and Joseph Valore​ have opened Bodega 1904 at the newly redeveloped Tramsheds at Harold Park.

Entrances to the Tramsheds Harold Park

The Rozelle Tram Depot opened in 1904 before finally closing in 1958. The heritage-listed building has now been transformed into a new shopping centre with a dozen high profile eateries.

Restaurants include Butcher and the Farmer by Jared Ingersoll, Flour Eggs Water by A Tavola, Osaka Trading Co by the folk from Japanese small bar Tokyo Bird, and Garcon by The Little Marionette.

Crowd favourites Gelato Messina and Belles Hot Chicken are joined by Egyptian street food restaurant Bekya and Dust Bakery, milling Australian grains onsite for breads and pizzas.

Restored Sydney R1 Tramcar at the Tramsheds Harold Park
Sydney R1 Tramcar #1995 which was in service from 1951 to 1958

Since its official opening to the public last Thursday, the site has been swarmed by curious locals. It's an impressive site to explore. The cavernous building is cleverly swathed in natural light, and a restored tramcar offers a respectful nod to its historic past.

Sydney R1 Tramcar at the Tramsheds Harold Park
Everyone wants a look

Expect crowds and new restaurants still finding their feet over the coming weeks. The swarm of people through the site over its opening weekend was non-stop.

Menus and table settings at Bodega 1904 at the Tramsheds Harold Park
Menus and table settings at the bar counter

We checked out Bodega 1904 for lunch, pacing the area to make sure we nabbed a seat. Although the kitchen didn't open until midday, the bar opened at 11.30am for drinks. During the day, Bodega 1904 seemed to be the easiest place to get a seat at - probably because the menu is less kid-friendly than others. The number of prams and families roaming the site for lunch was phenomenal.

Bar stools at Bodega 1904 at the Tramsheds Harold Park
Bar stool counter seating

A small dining room includes round timber tables and booth seating but our preference is to always sit at the bar. The padded bar stools at Bodega 1904 are incredibly cute. And comfortable. Although getting into the non-rotating stools involves some nifty legwork.

Making negroni and side car cocktails at Bodega 1904 at the Tramsheds Harold Park
Negroni $18 and Side Car $16 cocktails 

The drinks menu includes two pages of wines from Australia and Spain. Nine Spanish sherries and five ports from Portugal are available by the glass. We went straight to the cocktail list, and in the absence of a bloody mary, ordered the negroni and the side car instead. Both were stirred lovingly with large ice cubes until chilled then spritzed with natural orange oil from a curl of orange rind in an impressive show.

Pickled mussels at Bodega 1904 at the Tramsheds Harold Park
Pickled mussels with cured cabbage, celery and parsley $16

The food menu is broken up into tapas and large plates. All are designed to share. The pickled mussels are a good place to start. Plump bivalves and a scattering of cabbage, celery and parsley have just enough acidity to get your tastebuds primed and pumping.

Grilled queso fresco at Bodega 1904 at the Tramsheds Harold Park
Grilled queso fresco, burnt leek and salted lime vinaigrette $14

A large round of queso fresco is seared on the grill much like haloumi. The slightly squeaky cheese is draped with sweet leeks and a zingy lime vinaigrette.

Steak tartare of wagyu rump at Bodega 1904 at the Tramsheds Harold Park
Tartare of wagyu rump, creme fraiche, rocket, bottarga, crispy eschalot $18

The wagyu rump tartare gets a massive tick of approval from this raw beef lover. The hand-cut beef is soft and tender, tumbled over a slick of creme fraiche. Crispy eschalots provide crunch. A smattering of finely shaved bottarga gives an umami kick.

Wood grilled octopus with manchego cream at Bodega 1904 at the Tramsheds Harold Park
Wood grilled octopus, manchego cream, garlic and lemon potatoes, dill $26

Thick tentacles of wood grilled octopus have been transformed into gentle chewiness, paired with hunks of garlic and lemon potatoes. The real revelation is the manchego cream, adding a refined cheesy richness to everything on the plate.

Smoked pigs head sausage at Bodega 1904 at the Tramsheds Harold Park
Smoked pigs head sausage, soft and crispy potatoes, plum sauce $24

We all love a bit of carb-on-carb action but Bodega 1904's soft and crispy potatoes might be the new king of kings. A lush dollop of Paris mash is garnished with a mountain of deep fried potato shreds. It's as good as it sounds. No. It's better.

The smoked pigs head sausage may end up playing second fiddle but it's a close race. The sausage is juicy and springy with just the right amount of caramelised tan. A plum sauce on the side provides some well-needed piquancy.

Pearl barley custard tart at Bodega 1904 at the Tramsheds Harold Park
Pearl barley, nutmeg, custard tart $14

The pearl barley custard tart is perhaps the only dish that doesn't win us over. The pearl barley crust has a wholemeal-like heavy graininess on the tongue and the custard filling is more creamy than eggy.

Ginger malt loaf and brown butter ice cream at Bodega 1904 at the Tramsheds Harold Park
Ginger malt loaf and brown butter ice cream $12

The ginger malt loaf is a real winner though, a warmed sticky treacle slice that has no hesitation in melting the quenelle of brown butter ice cream on top.

Ginger malt loaf and brown butter ice cream at Bodega 1904 at the Tramsheds Harold Park
Sticky ginger malt loaf with brown butter ice cream

Bodega 1904 is a terrific addition to the neighbourhood. I can't wait to dig into more.

Staff at Bodega 1904 at the Tramsheds Harold Park

Tramsheds Harold Park



Bodega 1904 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Bodega 1904 at the Tramsheds Harold Park
Shop 115, 1 Dalgal Way, Forest Lodge, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 8624 3133

Opening hours
Monday to Thursday 12pm-11pm
Friday to Saturday 12pm-11.45pm
Sunday 12pm-10pm

How to get there:
Catch the light rail to Jubilee station to avoid parking fees. If you are driving, make a purchase from Supermart (no minimum amount required) for 90 minutes free parking.


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posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 9/26/2016 12:37:00 am


Monday, September 19, 2016

Saint Peter, Paddington

Eden sea urchin on crumpet at Saint Peter by Chef Josh Niland in Paddington Sydney

Seafood isn't the first thing that springs to mind when you think of brunch, but Saint Peter doesn't believe in any rules. It's the first solo venture for chef Josh Niland (ex-head chef of Cafe Nice and Fish Face) and seafood is front and centre of everything. If sea urchin crumpets haven't already flooded your Instagram stream, they will soon.

Dining room at Saint Peter in Paddington Sydney

Saint Peter has been open for less than a fortnight but already it's attracted a steady stream of Sydney chefs through its doors. The narrow 34-seater is already booking out for dinners. The walk-in only brunch service on weekends is far better suited for the less organised.

Angass oysters at Saint Peter by Chef Josh Niland in Paddington Sydney
Angassi oysters $5.50 each

Oysters at 10am? Why not. Today's brunch menu includes oysters from Horse Island and Clair de Lune but it's hard to go past angassi oysters, Australia's native flat oysters that are almost smoky in flavour.

Mooloolabah albacore salad at Saint Peter by Chef Josh Niland in Paddington Sydney
Mooloolabah albacore salad with sorrel, radish and vanilla $18

Mooloolabah albacore salad is a sunny way to start our day. Hunks of tuna are brightened with crunchy breakfast radishes and lemony sorrel.

Sweet and sour Ulladulla blue mackerel at Saint Peter by Chef Josh Niland in Paddington Sydney
Sweet and sour Ulladulla blue mackerel on toast $16

Crowd favourite dish of the day is the sweet and sour Ulladulla blue mackerel on toast, a whole fish smothered with a zingy onion relish that gets our tastebuds firing.

Ulladulla blue mackerel on toast at Saint Peter by Chef Josh Niland in Paddington Sydney
Sweet and sour Ulladulla blue mackerel on toast

The presentation is ridiculously cute too.

Eden sea urchin crumpet at Saint Peter by Chef Josh Niland in Paddington Sydney
Eden sea urchin crumpet $22

The sea urchin crumpet is fast becoming a signature dish because really, why hasn't anyone thought of this sooner? It's a visually striking dish, with hands-on interactivity as diners try and transfer the sea urchin petals from shell to crumpet.

Eden sea urchin on crumpet at Saint Peter by Chef Josh Niland in Paddington Sydney
Eden sea urchin crumpet 

It's beautiful. And it tastes amazing. The crumpet tastes more like deep-fried bread, but it's a fine carriage for the buttery sea urchin petals. I have to admit though, I saved one petal to savour on its own as my final mouthful. Of all savoury dishes. Am I the only person to save the best for last?

John Dory liver and parsley on toast at Saint Peter by Chef Josh Niland in Paddington Sydney
John Dory liver and parsley on toast $12

John Dory liver and parsley on toast is more proof that more exciting toast toppings exist than smashed avocado.

John Dory liver and parsley on toast at Saint Peter by Chef Josh Niland in Paddington Sydney
John Dory liver and parsley on toast 

The liver is cooked to a reassuring pink so it feels almost like a fish-flavoured pate in the mouth. I could have eaten this twice over.

Salt and vinegar onion rings at Saint Peter by Chef Josh Niland in Paddington Sydney
Salt and vinegar onion rings $10 

One of the few non-seafood savouries are salt and vinegar onion rings. Get them. The salt and vinegar tang will transport you straight to the salt-tinged spray of waves at the beach. And rather than douse each giant onion ring life buoy with vinegar, the onion rings themselves taste pickled. It means the batter stays super crunchy while you get a burst of vinegar with every bite. Genius.

Black flathead rillettes with radish scales at Saint Peter by Chef Josh Niland in Paddington Sydney
Black flathead rillettes with witlof and roast almonds $16

Flathead rillettes arrive hidden beneath overlapping radish scales.

Black flathead rillettes beneath the radish scales at Saint Peter by Chef Josh Niland in Paddington Sydney
Black flathead rillettes with witlof and roast almonds

It's another firm favourite. The rillettes are soft and creamy with a textural crunch provided by the boats of witlof, radish discs and finely chopped roast almonds.

Hand picked Ballina spanner crab omelette at Saint Peter by Chef Josh Niland in Paddington Sydney
Hand picked Ballina spanner crab omelette $24

We finish up with the hand picked Ballina spanner crab omelette, a substantial serve piled with a generous amount of crab across the top. The puddle of fish broth at the bottom is fantastic too, tying everything together with umami resplendence.

Julie's kouign amman at Saint Peter by Chef Josh Niland in Paddington Sydney
Julie's kouign amman $12

We're still chugging through our Artificer filter coffee ($5) by the time we order desserts. There's no espresso machine onsite but if you ask nicely, they'll give you filter coffee top-ups for free. Win.

We ordered two serves of Julie's kouign amman to share between the six of us. It's not your classic caramelised Breton pastry but more of a sticky syrupy chewiness that your dentist should never see. Anyone with crowns or fillings should approach with care.

Lemon tart at Saint Peter by Chef Josh Niland in Paddington Sydney
Lemon tart $16

The lemon tart is its polar opposite, so soft and wobbly it trembles on the plate.

Lemon tart at Saint Peter by Chef Josh Niland in Paddington Sydney
Lemon tart 

We manage to nab a slice of the lemon tart while it was still warm from the oven. The flaky pastry and the fragile filling reminds me immediately of daan tart custard tarts at yum cha, only lemon flavoured. The delicate thinness of the pastry base is awe-inspiring too.

The swooning over this tart is unanimous.

Clothbound Maffra cheddar and Belrose honeycomb at Saint Peter by Chef Josh Niland in Paddington Sydney
Clothbound Maffra cheddar and Belrose honeycomb $16

And because everybody loves cheese, we order the clothbound Maffra cheddar with Belrose honeycomb too. The sharp bitey cheddar is the ideal match for the floral notes of honeycomb. The shavings of toast are impressively crisp.

Simple assembly. Quality ingredients. Saint Peter to a tee.

Dining room and waitstaff at Saint Peter by Chef Josh Niland in Paddington Sydney

Saint Peter Australian fish eatery by Chef Josh Niland in Paddington Sydney


Saint Peter Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saint Peter
362 Oxford Street, Paddington, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 8937 2530

Opening hours
Brunch/lunch Saturday and Sunday 10am-3pm
Dinner Wednesday to Sunday 5.30pm til late (bookings recommended)
Closed Monday and Tuesday


Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Paddington - 10 William Street
Surry Hills - Mohr Fish

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posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 9/19/2016 12:51:00 am


Monday, September 12, 2016

Meatmaiden, Melbourne

Meat dry aging in the cabinet at Meatmaiden in Melbourne

Meat. It takes centre stage at Melbourne's Meatmaiden, showcased in a backlit display cabinet like precious jewels. Forget about Breakfast at Tiffany's. I'd rather eat my croissant with this view instead.

I visited Meatmaiden a little while back on a work trip to Melbourne. Currently I'm a few days post-double wisdom teeth removal - hence the missing post from last week - and if there's one thing that a sore jaw makes you secretly pine for, it's the chewy satisfaction of meat. Like a real sucker for punishment, I've looked longingly at these photos during the editing process. I can't wait to chew on both sides of my mouth, allowing meat juices to flood my palate before slowly swallowing.

Bar area and interior decor at Meatmaiden in Melbourne

Meatmaiden is the sister restaurant to the more barbecue-centric Meatmother in Richmond. Its city location along Little Collins Street in the CBD makes Meatmaiden a lot more accessible. You have to descend deep into the bowels of a building basement, but that makes your first encounter even more memorable. Is this the right place? How many more stairs are there? Are we there yet?

Rangers Valley tomahawk rib eye on the bone at Meatmaiden in Melbourne
Rangers Valley tomahawk rib eye on the bone dry-aging in the cabinet

All is forgiven once the landing spits you out into a stylised steakhouse that feels more like a gentleman's club. The cavernous dining room combines clean lines, gleaming tiles and splashes of red amongst timber fittings.

Compilmentary crisps at Meatmaiden in Melbourne
Complimentary crisps

The menu is larger than you'd expect, broken up into small plates and meat from the smoker or the grill. Non-carnivores aren't ignored either. "Not meat" includes two seafood and two vegetarian options and the sides menu yields offers salads, roasted vegetables, mashed potato and mac & cheese.

If the process of deciding what to order is all too hard, you can go with the chef's choice menu at $53 per person. We chose our own dishes though, and even with way too much for three females, our bill only came to $46 per person. We definitely could have skipped a dish. The portions are huge - or maybe that's just because we're used to Sydney prices for Sydney (smaller) portions.

Burnt ends at Meatmaiden in Melbourne
Burnt ends $14

We kick things off with burnt ends, the pointy and fatty end of a smoked brisket, tumbled in a sticky barbecue sauce. There's plenty to go around as we savour its sweet smokiness.

Beef intercostal at Meatmaiden in Melbourne
Beef intercostal with burnt pearl onions and butternut puree $15

Intercostals are the muscles found between the ribs, often seen in Korean restaurants as rib fingers. Here the beef intercostals are cooking to a melting softness, served with pearl onions roasted until caramelised and slightly burnt. Dollops of butternut puree and slivers of radish help cut through the richness.

Shrimp cornbread with grilled prawns at Meatmaiden in Melbourne
Shrimp cornbread with grilled prawns and chipotle butter $14

We also hit up the shrimp cornbread, less of a muffin and more of a bread slice, adorned with grilled prawns, salad greens and lashings of chipotle butter.

Rangers Valley wagyu brisket at Meatmaiden in Melbourne
20-hour Rangers Valley wagyu brisket with Tasmanian pepperberry rub (200g) $26

The Rangers Valley wagyu brisket is a vision to behold, a sigh of fatty lusciousness draped across today's hipster must-have, the enamelware tray. You can see the glistening pockets of fat, the visible smoke ring and the way the protein fibres are ready to fall away with the nudge of a fork. It's gloriously rich and tender.

Confit lamb ribs with lemon crumb at Meatmaiden in Melbourne
Confit lamb ribs with lemon crumb $22

The confit lamb ribs are much larger in portion in size than we'd expected. At $22, we'd expected a small serving, not a mini mountain of seven ribs.The fat has been rendered terrifically well, creating mouthfuls of crisp and caramelised juiciness on the bone. The lemon crumb is a clever way to introduce tang and texture.

Gippsland pasture-fed beef short rib at Meatmaiden in Melbourne
Gippsland pasture-fed beef short rib $28

And because we really want to give our arteries a workout, we order the Gippslands pasture-fed beef short rib too. It's another wonderment of carnivorous bliss, combining beefy fattiness with a hum of intense smokiness.

Hot sauce and barbecue sauce at Meatmaiden in Melbourne
Hot sauce and bbq sauce

Metal buckets containing bottles of hot sauce and barbecue sauce allow you to go as wild as you please. I go a little crazy on both, sopping up puddles of sauce with hunks of protein.

Shaved fennel and pomegranate salad at Meatmaiden in Melbourne
Shaved fennel and pomegranate salad $9

Needless to say, the shaved fennel and pomegranate salad provides some much needed acidic relief among the meatfest. It's fresh, clean and bright, and just what our tastebuds (and arteries) need.

Spring onion mash with gravy at Meatmaiden in Melbourne
Spring onion mash with gravy $10

The spring onion mash fulfils our carb quotient. Buttery mashed potato in a lake of gravy is just too good to resist.

We found this was incredible value for some mighty fine protein. Would definitely visit again. Would definitely skip lunch in preparation.

Meatmaiden on Little Collins Street in Melbourne


Meatmaiden Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Meatmaiden
Basement, 195 Little Colins Street, Melbourne
Tel: +61 (03) 9078 7747

Opening hours
Monday to Saturday 12pm-3pm and 5pm til late


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posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 9/12/2016 12:23:00 am



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