Thursday, August 25, 2011

Concrete Blonde

Having tried to book Gastro Park but only offered a booking for 6 pm or 9 pm, we had booked dinner at Lotus for last night (Thursday), which is a favourite of ours.  However I saw a piece in Delicious Magazine about a new restaurant called Concrete Blonde, so decided to change our booking.  It is under Hugo's at 33 Bayswater Road, Potts Point.  I was a bit worried about it, as the website was uber cool which usually means all style but no substance, but then saw a piece by Terry Durack in the SMH Magazine, so decided it was worth a visit, particularly as we had made a pact to visit as many new restaurants as we could.  
Boy, are we glad we did.  It's obviously just opened, and I'll bet in a couple of weeks' time, it will be very hard to get a booking.  The Head Chef is Patrick Dang, formerly of Fratelli Paradiso, Salt and MG Garage, as well as international positions.  Very impressive.

On arrival we were knocked out by the decor - really fabulous outdoor area with tons of heaters.  Because it was a beautiful night, the owner (or one of them?) Peter Polovin opened the fabulous fabric roof so we could enjoy the night.

The kitchen is amazing, with fantastic wood fired grills. 
We couldn't help but count the kitchen staff - 10.  Sadly not enough floor staff - more on that later.  
We had a drink and a couple of tasters whilst waiting for our other guests.  We ordered the 'Lolli Pork' (Zhenjiang Black Vinegar Toffee with Cumquat Preserve and a hint of Horseradish).  Fabulous.
And the 'KFQ!?' (Fried Quail Kentucky Style with Watermelon Relish, Ancho Chilli, Cilantro and Ranchero Dressing.  Really amazing.
When our other guests arrived, we moved to the table.  By now the restaurant was virtually full.
The feature wall with the fireplace is extraordinary.
We all chose a dish, which we shared.
Clarence River Jumbo Prawns
Lemongrass Marinade, Cucumber & Pomelo Salad, Peanut, Nam Prik Dipping Sauce

Duck from Tinder Creek
Free Range Duck over the fire with aromatic Spices, Watermelon, Witlof and Apricot Jam

Lamb Loin by Murraylands Farm
Cooked to pink, Red Cabbage Puree, Beetroot, Pumpernickel, Dill, Caraway
Ranger Valley 7+ Wagyu Beef
Hangar Steak, Aztec Spices, Papaya Mojo, Posole of two types of Corn, Ox Tail Tamale
Gnocchetti of Potato
Hand Made, Edamame, Sweet Corn Brown Butter emulsion, Tarragon, Shemiji Mushroom
Japanese 'Wafu' Salad
Oak Lettuce, Wakame, Daikon, Cucumber
Home Style Rustic Fries
Red Aioli, Green Ketchup

Really fabulous food.

But back to the floor staff.  There just weren't enough.  It was very hard to order wine, and in fact to order the meal or even attract someone to get the bill.  Shame.  The waiters had the ability to look right through you.  Annoying.

Interesting toilet decor.  Maybe make sure you have your IPhone with the Torch App!

Around $100 per head.  So, service aside - would have to give it

9/10          Highly Recommended.

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