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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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 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, 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.
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, 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, 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, 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 $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.
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.
Bodega 1904 at the Tramsheds Harold Park
Shop 115, 1 Dalgal Way, Forest Lodge, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 8624 3133
Monday to Thursday 12pm-11pm
Friday to Saturday 12pm-11.45pm
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.
Related Grab Your Fork posts
Bodega, Surry Hills
Continental Deli, Newtown
Porteno, Surry Hills
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9/26/2016 12:37:00 am