My friend, the frantic worldwide jetsetter friend Carbon Debit was coming to Sydney and on this rainy Sydney evening, I suggested meeting up at The Sardine Room, a place that rates very highly on eatability and one recommended to me for their excellent Salt and Pepper Squid. I will travel for a good S&P squid so I was looking forward to this. It's fairly early when we take a seat in the smallish room. It's smartly decorated with funky gothic-style lights. I thought I knew what I wanted from taking a look at the menu on the website only to be confounded by the owner who takes a seat next to us to explain the specials.
I'm torn, I definitely want the Salt and Pepper squid but am not hungry enough to eat a main and an entree but the Lemon Sole, served in the skeleton beckons for curiosity value. Carbon Debit saw another customer's order of this set down and confirmed that it was indeed an interesting looking dish so I order it. She orders the Soft Shell Crab and the Duck Ravioli.
Salt & Pepper squid w confit garlic aioli & lemon $16
Our entrees arrive quickly, the Salt and Pepper Squid is a large mound of squiggly tendrils of squid and it's piping hot and fresh. Perfectly seasoned and tender as tender can be I'm a very, very happy camper. Incidentally the salad it's served on is also very good and flavoursome, not just a garnish.
Tempura battered soft shell crab w sweet chilli jam $16
I try some of Carbon Debit's soft shell crab. It's quite good but the squid is the definite pick of the two. It's said to come with sweet chili jam which is more of a spicy onion jam with slices of onion throughout which Carbon Debit finds overwhelms the delicate crab.
Duck ravioli w seared scallops in a porcini & rosemary broth $28
I try some of her main, the duck ravioli which is surprisingly good. I say surprisingly as I had assumed that the specialty was seafood but the delicately flavoured sauce is nicely paired with the soft duck filled ravioli and there is a generous serve of scallops.
Crispy Lemon Sole with asian style dressed salad served in the skeleton $28
My crispy lemon sole comes to the table with a flourish. It's clear they're proud of this dish and we see many other diners order this. We see them setting this down in front of other diners saying "Look at this, isn't it spectacular presentation?" as they set it down. The salad itself is a mixture of red cabbage, herbs, cherry tomato and other salad vegetables with delicious spicy dressing. The fish has been filletted and the meat cut into pieces, floured and deep fried. The only problem is that the fish is only slightly warm by the time it has reached me and deep fried food needs to be hot.
Even though it's a Tuesday night, by 7.30pm it's full. The tables near us feel a little crowded, indeed the people to my right feel like they're dining with us so we decline dessert. Perhaps that's why it's called The Sardine Room.
And the only good part about the rain? The chance to use my Wicked umbrella of course darlings! ;)
The Sardine Room
31 Challis Avenue, Potts Point, NSW
Tel: +61 (02) 9357 7444
Open: from 6pm Tuesday-Sunday