Friday, July 20, 2012

Tomislav - Darlinghurst

For hubby's birthday this year, I booked for us to try Tomislav. It was a small, intimate restaurant - dim litted and with an open kitchen. For that Wednesday night, Tomislav was also there to teach a masterclass. We were seated just as the class finished. There were 2 waitresses for the whole restaurant and these waitresses were responsible for EVERYTHING - from answering the phone, to taking you to your seat, to getting your order, to bringing out your order, to clearing you table...absolutely everything! So whilst they were friendly and nice when their attention was on you, it was really really really hard to get their attention (as there were so many table and things they had to attend to). As such, we were up for a very very slow paced meal...

We started with their famous rice crackers. There are two flavours - sour cream and chives, and salt & vinegar. We chose the salt & vinegar version ($10) and it was yummy and playful. You get to spray the vinegar on yourself - as much or as little as you liked. The vinegar concoction isn't very strong and also brings along a subtle sweetness to it all. The crackers themselves were really thin and crispy. I think they're made of those viet rice paper sheets deep fried? I'm not sure why I think that... must have read it somewhere.
Rice Crackers (salt & vinegar) - $10
We were a bit torn between the 4 course meal or the 8 course degustation. At the end, hubby settled for the 4 course (which in retrospect, was a very good decision given the crazily slow pace of dinner). Even though we were ready to order and we flagged the waitress over wanting to order, it probably took a good 20 minutes before they allowed us to order our food. Looking around at some table which arrived after us, that seemed to be the norm.

The bread and butter came - butter on a fake stone cube and the sourdough bread looking ordinary. However, when you buttered your bread, a hint of coffee flavour crosses your palate which I found quite interesting. I couldn't tell whether the espresso flavour lay in the butter or in the bread. After tasting each separately (and copping a querying eye from the hubby when I scooped the super super crazily smooth butter into my mouth), I still couldn't really decide. Thing is, I felt as though the coffee flavour came from the crust of the bread... but it didn't make sense because Tomislav churns their own butter but just buys bread from the bakery... so if anything, they will be in a better position to flavour the butter. A question for me to ask them next time, when the waiters are less occupied.
butter on a stone
"coffee" tasting bread
I have to apologise for the crappy quality of my photos. Yes, I am a noob when it comes to taking photos of food on black plates in a dim atmophere and I don't realise it until I put it on my computer (cos it looks decent on the display of my camera).

Anyway - first courses. I picked the fried crystal bay prawns. The small prawns reminded me of popcorn chicken. They were lightly seasoned with seaweed flakes and swam in a pea and ham soup. The prawns were beautifully cooked and tasted delish. The soup with thick and crazily pea-tasting. If you don't like peas - do not order this dish! Luckily, I do like my peas and I did enjoy this course.
Fried Crystal Bay Prawns with seaweed and pea & ham soup
Hubby went for a venison tartare. This was a thin round disk of venison, beautifully seasoned, dotted with a small quail yolk and a small hint of mint crumbs. Crispy flatbread cracker thing added that textural crunch to the dish.
Venison Tartare, quail yolk, mint crumbs
My second course was a poached hen's yolk served with powdered (frozen?) foie gras and green peas. The foie gras, whilst powdery looking, went all smooth and creamy the moment it entered my mouth. Mixed with the gooey tasty yolk and the texturally firmer peas, it was really quite a good experience. The plate it came on also made it look cool and warpy :)
poached hen's yolk, foie gras, green peas
Hubby's 2nd course was the roast quail. The quail came with a sour cherry and XO sauce. The meat was succulent and cooked well... pink ish but not too pink.
roast Red Gate farm quail with sour cherries and XO sauce
Next up, in terms of mains, hubby decided on the roast lamb belly. I could have easily mistaken the looks of this for a pork belly (but probably more finness looking). It came with a wasabi powder, which was really subtle in taste, and a grilled pineapple. There was a creamy white sauce that I'm not sure what it was but I think it all came together nicely.
Roast lamb belly, wasabi and grilled pineapple
 The standout dish for the night was definately the braised beef short rib. This was OMG awesome. The short rib was soooooo succulent and sooooo tender and soooooo tasty. A bit of the beef with a dab of the crazily buttery soft smooth polenta (which really just seemed like butter), and I was floating in beef bliss! So delicious. There were also thin slices of buttered and herbed king brown mushrooms.
Braised beef short rib with soft polenta and king brown mushrooms
We couldn't pass up the opportunity to try the Heston-inspired tripple cooked crinkle cut fries ($11). Sadly, we weren't that impressed with it. Sure, it was crunchy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside... but wasn't really all that much better than fresh chips from other places (e.g. El Jannah).
famous hand cut chips
Dessert-wise, hubby went for the cheese - the tarago river blue cheese which came with a pickled tamarillo pie and clotted cream. The cheese was really strong but very creamy and nice... when eaten in small portions. The pie was interesting - kind of like an apple pie but not.
Tarago River Blue with pickled tamarillo pie and clotted cream
My dessert was yummier. It was a vanilla cheesecake with apple ice shavings and roast apple icecream. The cheesecake was flavoured just right. Smooth round ball of smoothness with a crumbly buttered base. The icy-ness of the apple ice shavings and the flavoursome icecream added the temperature difference in your mouth. Although I'm not a fan of the apple taste, I was still a fan of this dessert.
Vanilla cheesecake with apple ice and roast apple ice cream
Coffees were ordered. Averate tasting long-black and cappuccino. No petit fours came with it which for a restaurant of this calibre, was a little dissappointing.
By the end of our meal (which started at 7.15pm), it was around 11pm. That was for a four course meal. Imagine the length of time required for the 8 course degustation! So only come here when you're feeling leisurely... wasn't really the fault of the waitresses... they were nice and friendly... but probably just worn thin having to look after everything (including making our coffee)!

Food - 9/10
Service - 6/10
Ambiance - 8/10
Value for money - 7/10
Overall - 30/40

2/13 Kirketon Road
NSW 2010
Tel: (02) 9356 4535

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