39 Waterloo St
Surry Hills, NSW 2010
Ph : +61 431 212 453
High ceilings with flower filled bottles hapahzardly hanging down, rows of herbs lined up outside, the warm Winter’s sun streaming in, a small vase with a single flower on each table. First impressions count, and Orto Trading’s were that it was going to be an agreeable place to spend a few hours.
The menu is seasonal, and its 'June Winter' version very much British inspired, with Scotch eggs, smoked eel, Toad in Hole and Beef & Guinness stew making an appearance. There is a note at the top of the menu, stating “Please note that our main meals are designed for sharing and are approximately one and a half times a normal main.”
Ah, more shared-food-on-planks in Surry Hills.
Despite my doubts about whether in fact the mains were actually going to be that large, we decided to take the proffered advice, and ordered two entrée planks, a main plank, and a side plank.
First plank - Scotch egg ($9).
Yolk perfectly runny, the mince not too dry. Don’t let appearances deceive, this was a surprisingly filling half egg.
The second plank was the Cured meat plate with cider-cured ham, bresaola, prosciutto, chicken liver pate and house pickles. ($16)
Its arrival lead to the realisation that perhaps we should have skipped the Scotch Eggs. This is arguably one of the more generous cured meat platters I’ve had the pleasure of eating. The photo is a tad deceptive, as there were a fair few slices of each item. The meats were all freshly sliced and terrifically tasty, the chicken liver pate smooth and quite light, the toasted bread of sufficient quantity. Just a great all-round selection. My only negative point is presentation related – one of the problems with using wooden planks and platters is that it doesn’t take very long for them to develop those unattractive deep grooves. They detract from the overall appearance of the dish.
The main plank was Pomegranate glazed duck with hazelnuts, prosciutto, radicchio and prunes ($36).
Tender, meaty, juicy, and definitely enough for two people who had already eaten two entrées. The hazelnuts proved unexpectedly addictive, the radicchio was not only visually appealing but a nice bitter counterpoint to the richness of the duck and the oh-so-crispy prosciutto. The surprise for me was the prunes. I am not known for being particularly fond of meat with any type of fruit, so I had to be convinced by a fellow non-prune-eater that they were, in fact, good, before trying one. They were good. The sweetness of the scattered pomegranate was not overwhelming, and added visual appeal.
Again - deeply grooved planks...
Accompanying the duck was side plank Spunta potato batons with chilli salt ($9).
This was a huge serving of not so much batons as wedges. Light on the chilli salt, each baton was supersized, crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, and pretty tasty, though I was more taken by the thin crunchy slithers of potato. We didn't manage to get through this serving, despite my valiant attempts.
Orto Dining is a relaxed kind of eating place, its bistro style food full of good fresh clean flavours that you want to eat again. We left with the thought that was a lovely all-round experience that we'd be happy to have again.
What more could you ask for?
What more could you ask for?