So we all miss Pinbone. The good news is that chefs Mike Eggert and Jemma Whiteman have moved into the kitchen at 10 William Street. It's only a four month stint, and no, you won't find any maple bacon and pumpkin tarts, but they are throwing in a few menu additions like a fried chicken panini (it's amazing) for customers in the know.
Aperol spritz $16
Eggert and Whiteman won't be making any drastic changes to the menu, maintaining all the classics conceived by Dan Pepperell (now leading the charge at Hubert) and continued by Luke Burgess (ex-Garagistes).
And the wine list is still phenomenal, carefully curated yet diverse with everything from orange wines by the glass to a perfectly mixed aperol spritz. Italian reds feature heavily but there are also Swiss whites and French apple ciders. On a Saturday lunchtime the place is heaving with couples, friends and a handful of toddlers.
Gnocco fritto, onion and comte $3
The menu runs from snacks to larger plates. Focaccia and extra virgin olive oil can be had for just $2 but the gnocco fritto is much more fun, little pillows of pastry topped with sweetly cooked onion and a snowdrift of comte shavings.
Pickles, fermented vegetables $10
A bowl of pickles and fermented vegetables is gut-loving goodness, a rainbow of fennel, cauliflower, carrot, red cabbage and gherkins all with varying levels of sourness and crunch.
Whipped 'bottarga' pretzel $14
The beloved whipped bottarga pretzel is hard to resist, gently spiked with cured mullet roe. The whipped bottarga is made in a similar way to Lebanese garlic sauce, lightened with blended soaked bread.
Tear off chunks of a seed-encrusted warm pretzel and dab that plate until it's clean. And if you're looking for that whipped bottarga recipe, you'll find it here.
Roasted fennel, green garlic sauce, orange gremolata $15
Of the 16 dishes on the menu, nine are vegetarian. If you listen to The Mitchen, you'll know that Eggert is committed to accommodating all dietary requirements.
And there's something deeply delicious about a well-cooked vegetable. We revel in the smokiness of roasted fennel, cooked so there are charred patches across its surface. A green garlic sauce is silky smooth and the clever substitution of orange for lemon in the gremolata provides a softer acidity on the palate.
Figs, ricotta, pangrattato $15
You could easily mistake the figs with ricotta for a dessert but the addition of rosemary leaves and pangrattato - fried bread crumbs - shifts this more to the savoury side. It's a fitting tribute to the last days of summer.
Fried chicken panini $12
The fried chicken panini isn't on the menu but make sure you ask for it. It's wickedly good. To call this a fried chicken burger would be an injustice. You'll find the juiciest thigh fillet coated in crunchy batter dressed in a peach hot sauce and drizzled with smoked mayo. Add two ripe slices of tomato, a handful of crisp lettuce and jam it all between two halves of a lightly toasted bun.
Inside the fried chicken panini
It's the kind of thing you can imagine they would have served up at Pinbone, a childhood comfort food dialed up to new levels of decadence. The kitchen sent these out on the house but I would've ordered it anyway. They only make about 15 a day.
Sugar snaps, pickled pumpkin, nori creme fraiche $15
We're also sent out a complimentary serve of the sugar snaps and pickled pumpkin, probably because this was Mr and Mrs Pig Flyin's fourth visit in a fortnight. They were also keen regulars at Pinbone.
It's a simple dish but one that works because of the freshness of the ingredients. The sugar snaps have a superb crispness to each bite, their sweetness counteracted by the slivers of pickled pumpkin. Nori creme fraiche is definitely an idea I'm borrowing for future use too.
Mackerel, purple congo potato, dashi $22
The kitchen said they'd sent out the sugar snaps and pumpkin because it paired so well with our next dish, the mackerel with purple congo potato. It does. The rich oiliness of the mackerel works well with the vegetables but it's also countered by the lightly vinegared julienned potato, reminiscent of Uighur-style potato shreds. The dashi broth provides an umami lift.
Smoked eel, leek and burnt oil crespelle $20
The smoked eel, leek and burnt oil crespelle is an impressive construction. There's a generous amount of eel inside the Italian crepe, mixed through with a tangle of buttered leeks.
Wholemeal gnocchetti, rooster, marsala, tarragon $26
If you're feeling particularly hungry, the wholemeal gnocchetti will satiate. The gnocchetti have a rib-sticking heartiness to them but what we love most about this dish is the sauce, gusty with flavour from the use of rooster carcasses and boosted with marsala. The scattering of rooster meat is lean but tender too.
Buckwheat chitarra, ceci, piselli, parmesan broth $25
I relish the al dente chew of the buckwheat chitarra, a flat edged pasta made by pushing the dough through a tool that looks like it has guitar or chitarra strings. A rubble of chickpeas and sweet pops of pea provide textural interest but again it's the broth that wins me over. The parmesan broth has a noticeable intensity - it's literally a cheese soup - that makes such logical sense with each bite of pasta.
Licorice farfalle, rabbit, carrot $25
The kitchen also sends out the licorice farfalle, still in late testing stages when we dined but should now be on the menu. The bow ties are made with licorice root, aniseed and star anise although there's not a very strong licorice taste despite its striking colour. A jumble of rabbit is soft and sweet, cooked purely in carrot juice. A few slices of pickled carrot provide balance and the garnish of Thai basil leaves is a clever touch too, with its flavour profile of licorice and anise.
Wholemeal gnocchetti and licorice farfalle
Occelli's barley and whisky cheese with date nuts $16
Whatever you do, order the cheese. It's far from the usual offering of brie, cheddar and blue. The Ocelli al Malto d'orzo e whisky is a cheese made from goat's milk and cow's milk that's then coated with malted barley and whisky and aged. Sharp and crumbly, its resonating nuttiness is amplified by the housemade date nut slice, reminiscent of a flattened protein ball. They work brilliantly together.
24 month comte with candy radicchio $15
We also have the comte, aged for two years, and served with the housemade candy radicchio. Comte is terrifically complex on its own but the radicchio, with its subtle bitterness transformed to jammy sweetness, adds another level of sophistication. That radicchio is mind-blowingly good.
Burnt orange, custard, finger lime, vincotto $12
We only have room for one dessert so skip the tiramisu (mondieu!) and order the burnt orange. I'm glad we did. It's just the tangy refreshment we need after our long and lazy lunch, the hunks of juicy orange sheathed in bittersweet toffee. Add a dollop of silky custard and a sprinkle of zingy finger lime pearls and before we know it, we're scraping the bowl clean.
Pinbone at 10 William will run until late May/early June 2016.
10 William Street
10 William Street, Paddington, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9360 3310
Monday to Thursday 5pm-12am
Friday and Saturday 12pm-12am
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3/21/2016 02:40:00 am