It's no coincidence if you're feeling Bondi vibes in the newly renovated Dolphin Hotel in Surry Hills. The new collaboration between Icebergs Dining Room and Hotel Harry has resulted in a bright and cheery dining area awash with natural light, blonde timber white wooden chairs and off-white walls.
The Italian menu is summery and casual, dominated by a comprehensive pizza selection cooked in a woodfired oven. The flexible menu allows diners to pick and choose between platters of salumi, starters or larger mains featuring meat or seafood.
Expect sophistication and attention to detail in everything. Our grilled octopus ($26 - pictured above) features an enormous coiled tentacle cooked to an impressive level of tenderness. It's surrounded by sweet roasted fennel, kipfler potatoes and a bright and zingy salsa verde.
Chilled prawns, broad beans, garlic shoots, saffron and herb dressing $28
Chilled prawns are just what you want on a hot summer's day. The peeled and halved sweet prawns are livened with bright green broad beans, soft herbs, extra virgin olive oil and a saffron dressing.
Ricotta and herb crochette, black garlic and bresaola $24
Even the humble crochette is lifted here. Hidden beneath thin blankets of bresaola are the tiniest ricotta and herb crochettes, fried to a golden crunch. We scoop them up with the dab of black garlic beneath and relish the molten cheese within.
Polenta chips $12
If you're looking for the best budget item on the menu, order the polenta chips. It's a mammoth portion of polenta blocks, stacked up like a game of jenga. Dip them into the whipped feta for maximum lushness.
Spaghetti with blue swimmer crab, fine herbs, white wine and bottarga $30
The spaghetti with blue swimmer crab is fast becoming a signature dish and there's a good reason. It's brilliantly done. Don't expect the usual spaghetti with olive oil and crab. This one is doused in a rich tomato sauce filled with hunks of blue swimmer crab, dusted over with finely shaved bottarga.
Grilled 250g boneless rib eye $36
Boneless rib eye is simply but expertly done, served with a red wine vinaigrette. Three large red radicchio leaves provide bitter relief against the richness of meat.
Whole snapper with sorrel and herb butter $34
The market fish changes every day. Today it's whole snapper, grilled to fork-flaking succulence, served with fresh sorrel leaves and a sorrel and herb butter.
Twice cooked free range chicken cacciatore, asparagus, spring pea and dragoncello $32
The classic chicken cacciatore has been revived, given a fresh spin here with a medley of greens that include crisp asparagus stalks, spring peas and dragoncello, Italian for tarragon. The sauce is worth drinking with a spoon.
Saltimbocca king prawn $26
King prawn, prosciutto, sage, mozzarella, lemon and fresh basil
You won't find ham and pineapple or supremes but you can delight in the modest simplicity of king prawns and prosciutto buried beneath a puddle of stretchy mozzarella cheese.
Marinated Sorbello family tomatoes, garlic, basil and mozzarella
Humbleness reins, too, in the Sorbello family tomatoes marinated and then scattered across a red base pizza, accented with pops of garlic and fresh basil. Bases are Roman-style thin and crispy, not the soft and floppy Napoli version.
Wood fired pizza oven in action
Wood fired lemon pudding $16
The wood fired oven works overtime, doubling as an oven for desserts. The wood fired lemon pudding is terrific, its tang of lemon balanced with the caramelised sugary crust at the bottom. Chunky pistachios provide textural crunch and a quenelle of vanilla ice cream adds a cool creaminess against the piping hot pudding.
Zokoko chocolate tiramisu $16
And save room for the tiramisu, served in a rustic scoop on the plate. Soaked sponger fingers, whipped cream and Zokoko chocolate is worth lingering over. Who needs Bondi when you can beach yourself here.
The Dolphin Hotel
412 Crown Street, Surry Hills, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9331 4800
Monday to Saturday 10am-12 midnight
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10/24/2016 01:18:00 am