Ever passed by a place dozens of times on the way somewhere, pegging it in your mind for a longer, lingering glance but have never stopped in? That happens to me a lot in Sydney where a new, bright, shiny restaurant or cafe seems to emerge from the restaurant ether every few days or weeks or so. And whilst I have walked past The Winery many a time either in or out of Thomas Dux next door or on my way to another appointment I never quite made it in. Which meant that the suspended peacocks and Elvis room hadn't excited me until today. And well of course taxidermy always gets me excited.
Having a business meeting is always made that much more pleasurable when there is lunch or food involved. And when the people you are having the meeting with don't mind you whipping out the camera and taking photos of the food well, all the better. Who am I kidding? I used to do it even before the blog ;) We've ordered a selection of food to share among the six of us.
The entrees come out before long and little fishies are coated in a crunchy, light seasoning like a fine polenta and deep fried and served with a spicy chipotle and lime mayonnaise. They're not bad and the fish flavour is quite pronounced on these and remind me of whiting (as opposed to the smaller whitebait that you can buy sometimes called nanata that are served in fritters).
The stuffed roasted mushrooms are simple but well executed with a nice balance of flavours. There is milky, creamy ricotta and the pesto mushrooms are juicy and slightly addictive.
I find that some pates have a stronger livery taste to them than others and this one has one of the stronger livery flavour-for those that especially love the flavour of liver. It's a very generous serve and comes in a glass mason jar with bread and more bread is offered and given when we run out.
I'm a bit of a sausage roll fiend so I felt compelled to order this especially as I had made chorizo sausage rolls at home a few weeks before so I was curious to see how they compared. It comes out sliced into five pieces and while it is good, I think this has got to be the most expensive sausage roll on the market at $19 and it really needs more chorizo than veal. The tomato and chilli jam is good.
Like the pretty girl at school, a toastie is always going to get some interest and this one has four of us wanting to order it. But lovely Cas orders the ravioli because she knows that I need a little variety for the blog. Tom and Dave order the toastie and I order a chicken salad but get half of Tom's toastie. It is full of crab meat sandwiched between buttery bookends of toast, a squeeze of lemon and some salt and the lemon mayonnaise and it's the pick of the lunches. And the fries? Well they're cutely presented in printed paper and a little floury but we'll spend our calories with the toastie.
I ordered the salad which has a large lightly grilled rosemary salted chicken breast sliced in two on a bed of salad leaves, torn pieces of rich goat's cheese, orange segments, green beans, roasted beetroot slices and halved cherry tomatoes with a honey vinaigrette dressing. The pecans are a little soft, some toasting would have been lovely or last minute adding to the salad to provide a nice crunch but overall it's a satisfying and filling salad.
Another favourite is the pumpkin, ricotta and sage ravioli or rav as they call it for short with a bunch of confit cherry tomatoes perched on top.
I try some of Mani's steak, cooked medium rare, and it is delicious with a little dunking into the melted disc of Cafe de Paris butter. He notes previously that the fries were more the shoestring French Fry thickness.
There's no time for dessert as we are in a rush to get back to a meeting (forgive me dessert gods for I have sinned!).
So tell me Dear Reader, is there a restaurant that you've walked past and always wanted to try but never have?
285A Crown St, Surry Hills NSW
Tel: +61 (02) 9331 0833