Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Verandah Restaurant

Verandah Restaurant and Wine Bar
55-65 Elizabeth St
(Entrances on both Elizabeth St and Castlereagh St)
Sydney NSW 2000
Ph : (02) 9239 5888
Open : 12-3pm Monday to Friday

British politics, links from the Daily Mail, and very likely the best gingerbread cookies in Sydney.

These are some of the things that I associate with chef Jonathan Ingram (or @jonathaningram3 as he is known on twitter) of Verandah. We crossed paths once, at the opening of the Wine Library, but didn’t actually meet or speak on that occasion, so a visit to Verandah was a long overdue event.

The sunny spacious restaurant is accessed via a walkway from the popular Verandah Bar area, and easy to miss if you’re not looking for it.

On this particular day, the clientele was very much the Suited City type, which made our table somewhat incongruous. I’d like to think that we added err ‘variety’.

We faffed around with our orders, one course or two? Quite ridiculous, really.

The problem was solved for us, in the end.

Zucchini flowers stuffed with Wild Rocket, Ricotta and Parmesan; Prawns on Ratatouille;
Crab and Avocado tian

My favourite of these three (yes the plate was as large as it appears) was the zucchini flowers, both the batter and filling of which were light texturally and tastewise. Sometimes I find zucchini flower filling a bit heavy, but these? Well I wished that I'd had more than one.  The tian contained generous amounts of crab, the classic avocado combination creamy but with the acidity of the accompanying tomatoes cutting a nice bite through the creaminess. Oh, and I think that the middle item was a small dollop of ratatouille beneath the plump fresh prawns, or if not, then something akin to it.

Lamb Backstrap on Caponata, Provencal vegetables and olive lamb jus

Roast free range pork cutlet with pumpkin puree, speck, peas and baby cos

Hiramasa kingfish on saffron angel hair with Alaskan crab, prawn and chilli oil

This was my choice. A substantial dish (the fish skin crisp) with a nice decent chilli kick to the perfectly al dente pasta and sweet prawns.

Although the Alaskan crab was the smallest component of this dish, it got me wondering, so I did  a little reading.  There are three species of King crab in Alaska - red, blue and brown, each type of which is found in different areas of Alaskan waters. Most of the King crab harvested in Alaska comes from the Bering Sea.

The major Alaskan harvest occurs in sub-zero temperatures and during a very short season,  lasting a matter of weeks during the period between October and January. Alaskan crab fishing is considered to be highly dangerous; on average, one crab fisherman dies weekly during the harvesting season.

The meat in the dishes ordered by my companions were supplied by Tim of urbanfoodmarket who, like Jonathan, is a well known Sydney tweep, especially via his 'meatup' events and the Saturday Kings Cross Markets.  Although I did not try either dish, I was assured that the meat was tender and beautifully cooked in both cases, the caponata full of flavour and a great accompaniment to the lamb, and the crackling up to crackle.

Creamy Mash

Jonathan spent some time at Guillaume, and it shows most obviously in his mash. Oh my. This is creamy buttery mash comparable to Bennelong's; marginally different in taste, but so damn good. This picture doesn't do justice to the size of the bowl, which was polished clean.

Salad of Tomato, Pesto Salad and Goats Cheese
Mixed Leaves

The mixed leaves were lightly dressed, the tomato salad a particular favourite of one of us, who declared it 'fabulous'. I think that I favoured the mixed leaves, for the simple reason that I ate most of the mash, and in so doing, needed a lighter salad as a counterpoint to all that starch. 

Unfortunately, we lingered for far too long to fit in dessert as well, so that will be on the cards for our next visit.  A big thank you to Jonathan and Terry for a fun lunch, hope to see you both again soon.


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5pandas said...

once again, a great post AP. thanks.

joey@FoodiePop said...

Yum. The pork cutlet and pumpkin puree looks delightfully fattening. :-)

The Sydney Tarts said...

@5pandas - glad you could be there!

joey@FoodiePop - Heh :) It's a shame they are only open for lunch.