Some may call it gossip, I prefer to call it a catch up and when you haven't seen a girlfriend in weeks or even months, well I think that the polite thing to do is avail yourself of all of the girly gossip ahem...current affairs you can.
Except of course if you're sitting elbow to elbow to the table next to you which happens to be the position Christie and I happen to be in. We've got a booking and we are the first customers at 12 noon at Honeycomb, the already popular new place from Cafe Sopra's Andy Bunn and we take a seat at the banquette against the window of the restaurant. Within seconds, two tables of two sit down right next to us and then suddenly all juicy bits of information disappear from our lips as we feel like we're sharing them with the other diners so we zip our lips and concentrate on the menu.
The menu is tighter than the sprawling chalkboard menu at Cafe Sopra and seems to be more hand picked favourites which makes choosing easier. The waitress is friendly and recommends some dishes to us-the specials also sound good and we choose quickly. Unlike Sopra where there is a no photos policy, they seem a bit more lenient here at Honeycomb and when I ask if it is ok to take photos the waitress asks if it is for a blog, I nod yes and assent is given.
I'm an absolute fiend for vitello tonnato, the Italian dish made with thinly sliced veal, tuna and a creamy sauce. It's a doppelganger of the Cafe Sopra version except there's added flavour from the plump white anchovies, baby capers and paper thin sliced lemon. It's the kind of dish where we wish we had some bread to mop up the sauce (noticed by the waitress who brings bread with the mains).
The salad with super crispy crunchy baby cos leaves, chunks of caramelised roast pumpkin, red capsicum, coriander, chilli and sweet syrup aged balsamic is swoon worthy. The quail pieces, delicate and juicy require picking up with fingers to get every tasty morsel off them.
Choosing a main was hard, there were the specials which I tend not to order because Dear Readers won't necessarily be able to order them but I had heard that the menu changes regularly here so what is on the menu will inevitably change so we decided on the mahi mahi "with everything." It came out as two pan fried fillets of mahi mahi on a bed of tender broccolini, mushrooms, bacon, pesto and flavoured with parsley and lemon. The bacon, mushrooms and pesto are full steam ahead with flavour-bold and striking whilst it feels like the mahi mahi is a little lost amongst these strong flavours.
I love a rich ragu and this one is a knockout with a spicy hint of chilli and chunks of blissful fall apart cubes of lamb meat. It sits on a bed of gnocchetti sardi which is Sardinian pasta shaped like the little ridge ovals of gnocchi (although it is not made from potato like gnocchi, rather durum wheat like pasta) and everything is showered with a layer of reggiano cheese.
The bannoffee pie, another item along with vitello tonnato that I am unable to resist, comes out as a thick slice of rich caramel, buttery biscuit base, a layer of banana and a generous squirt of whipped cream and chocolate shavings. It's pretty damn good in that thick, sweet way that bannoffee delivers in spades although a serving this size is perhaps best shared especially if you've eaten two courses before ;)
On the other end of the scale, the buttermilk pudding, wobbly as panna cotta and tart like yogurt. It is light and slightly tart especially compared with the thick, sweet bannoffee pie. And in comparison it feels virtuous-too virtuous for Christie who proclaims it like diet food!
And as we can't fit in another morsel and the noise level amps up we take that as our cue to leave and let another two to take our place.
So tell me Dear Reader, how do you choose what you order? Do you try and order healthier options when you eat out or do you choose things you can't make at home? And is there a dish that you just have to order if you see it on a menu?
354 Liverpool Street, Darlinghurst, NSW 2010
Tel: +61 (02) 9331 3387
Open Tuesday-Friday 12-3pm, 6-10pm
Saturday 9am-3pm, 6-10pm
Sunday 9am until close