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Saturday, October 15, 2005

Oscillate Wildly, Newtown

I've waxed lyrical about Oscillate Wildly before, and on this, my third visit, the palate and eyes were still bedazzled.

Oscillate Wildly is phenomenally popular, and with good reason. Where else in the inner-city can you dine on three imaginative breathtakingly delicious courses for a paltry $45? Its popularity is not helped by its tiny dining room which only seats about thirty--if you want to dine here on a Friday or Saturday night, you'll have to book about a month in advance (trust me, we've been thwarted many a time).

I had brought four newbie friends with me tonight. They'd been sick of me constantly rabbiting on about this place, and they were dying to try it. After a couple of false starts (everytime we rang, they were consistently fulled booked that weekend) we eventually made it a couple of Saturday nights ago.

As always, the wealth of menu options had us hemming and hawing for at least 15 minutes. Six entrees, six mains and five desserts--all delicious sounding and intriguingly exotic.

seared scallops with leek in anchovade
Seared scallops with crispy sweet/sour leek in
an achovyade sauce (anchovy/garlic)

blue swimmer crab steamed with marsala on parsley linguini
Blue swimmer crab steamed with marsala on parsley linguini

Parmesan tuille with truffled egg and smoked salmon
Parmesan tuille with a poached truffled egg and
home-smoked salmon

The scallops were apparently fantastically tender and perfectly cooked. We were surprised that the crab came whole too, although they'd done some of the legwork by cracking the legs for you.

I had the parmesan tuille which was melted parmesan moulded and cooled into a clever decorative basket. The egg was lovely and yolky with a daub of truffled oil. The highlight for me was definitely the home-smoked salmon which was freshly firm and imbued with an unbelievably good smoky aroma and taste.

"Is this smoked in your home?" I asked Ross, as he came to collect our dishes.

"Absolutely", he replied. "My flat upstairs was stinking of mesquite chips all day."

Wow. See that's authenticity for you. It truly was the best smoked anything I've ever had. Cold-smoked too, so the salmon was still pinky raw and possessing that springy meaty texture I adore about raw salmon.

fish of the day
Fish of the day papillote with lime and fresh herbs,
braised leek and parsnip

jewfish and prawn roulade
Jewfish and prawn roulade with panfried cherry tomatoes
and oregano butter

crisp fried duck
Crisp fried duck with roasted celeriac, creme de cassis
and raspberry reduction

There was a bit of a fish theme at our table. I elected for the fat though and rejoiced in the crispy fried duck which was moist and decadently satisfying. The raspberries added a pleasant sweetness and I always love a good bed of peppery rocket.

caramelised banana
Caramelised banana with cinnamon ice cream,
mint sabayon and roasted walnut dust

chocolate terrine
Chocolate terrine layered with panforte esspresso and double cream

cardamon panna cotta
Cardamon panna cotta with a chilli almond brittle

Our desserts arrived to the sight of us craning necks to check out each others' choices. The cinnamon ice cream was powerful with cinnamon, almost akin to American cinnamon candies. This warming influence paired well with the creamy caramelised banana and walnut dust... what a delightful evocative description.

The chocolate terrine was one I had deliberated over but dismissed as likely to be to rich. As always, what a fool I was! This was indeed chocolatey but in a damn good way. Rich but tapered with the body of strong coffee, and I couldn't help dipping my spoon in more than once.

I had chosen the cardamon panna cotta which I had reasoned would be a sensible way to end a meal featuring parmesan, salmon and crispy duck. The panna cotta was perfectly set, enough to maintain its silky composure, but gentle enough to emit a nervous wobble if provoked. The cardamon added a comforting flavour, offset by the sticky crunchy texture of the chilli almond brittle.

Owner and maitre'd Ross was charming as always, providing that perfect blend of helpfulness with friendly discretion.

If there was just one request, it would be to turn the lighting up so my photos don't end up all tinged with orangey hues =)

Head here for original dishes using quality ingredients served by a delightful host you want to take home to Mum. The menu changes regularly (two options from each course are changed every two weeks). Perfect incentive to schedule a regular visit.

Oscillate Wildly
275 Australia St, Newtown, Sydney
Tel: 02 9517 4700

Entrees $15
Mains $23
Desserts $10

or choose 3 courses for $45.

BYO--Corkage $3 per person

Related GrabYourFork posts:
Oscillate Wildly, February 2006
Oscillate Wildly, January 2005
8 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Anonymous on 10/15/2005 04:30:00 pm


  • At 10/15/2005 6:36 pm, Blogger Books and Tea For Two said…

    This is without a doubt, my absolute favourite restaurant in Sydney. It has always been absolutely incredible. I can never return enough.

    Do not, whatever you do, go to Linda's down the road. The food was so incredibly bad, and it works out at about the same price as Oscillate.

  • At 10/15/2005 8:04 pm, Blogger Reid said…

    Hi AG,

    How funny that this place is named after a Smiths song. Did I mention that previously? I can't remember.

    In any event, the food here looks really delicious. Too bad I can't get this type of food here. *sigh*

  • At 10/15/2005 8:11 pm, Blogger Reid said…

    BTW...YAY! Augustus is back! =)

  • At 10/15/2005 9:05 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    My spouse and I spent 50bucks eating at a hotel recently.. and it is nothing near what you ate here.. :(

  • At 10/16/2005 10:57 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hey AG, Don't keep writing writing about this place - I am going to have trouble making a reservation! :p I was thinking of taking a friend there for a special occasion. Now I am getting worried that I may not be able to get a table if I don't book way in advance...Any recommendations of which table is better, since it's a pretty small space? BTW, I tried the pistachio and ginger brulee tart from Bourke St Bakery, it was indeed very YUM! I also tried the choc tart (been told that they use belgian choc) & it was also very good (not too sweet or heavy). I don't know if you have been to the Sonoma Bakery-Cafe? (http://www.sourdough.com.au/sonoma/) It's up on Glebe Pt Rd. I got their spelt fruit bread (raisins, apricots & dates) & it was fantastic - esp when u have a slice (or 2, 3...) fresh on the day & spread some butter... simple things in life can be such pleasure!

  • At 10/16/2005 1:43 pm, Blogger Rachel said…

    Hi !! First visit to your site, but have found it extremely useful as I love food and visit Sydney every 6 weeks. Will be back here regularly I'm sure. Thanks for the excellent recommendation. In the past for a "set course meal" like that I had been to The Little Snail but have found it a bit pricey for the quality and selection of late.

    Take care and keep writing! I feel I've found a gem ;)

  • At 10/16/2005 11:03 pm, Blogger Veruca Salt said…

    Ok, you've nearly sold me. Maybe if you do one more post.

    Your description of the smoked salmon made my mouth water. I need it!

  • At 10/27/2005 7:42 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hey AG, I am going tomorrow night! I am soooo excited :)


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