A lot of people think I live in the inner west of Sydney. That's because I always seem to be writing about places there. But I only really know Newtown, Enmore and Marrickville well, but other suburbs like Abbotsford are quite new to me. It's a cold Wednesday night and my stomach is growling and all I can think about is Greek food as I make my way across Sydney's peak hour traffic. I'm late, as I always seem to be whenever I drive across the city but thankfully parking isn't an issue as The Smoking Goat is located at Sydney Rowing Club and there's parking. Free parking. Thank goodness for this minor Sydney miracle.
Alyson, Cheryl and Belinda and her girls are there already. The dining room at The Smoking Goat is bereft of any sort of Greek theming. In fact more than anything it looks like a wedding reception venue (which it is, I'm told by Cheryl). There is said to be a gorgeous water view out there but it is best visited in the daytime for lunch to see this. It is part of the Dedes restaurant group that includes Flying Fish and Salaryman. We order a few things to share and there are also some interesting looking cocktails but I beg off because it's mid week.
Taramasalata - pink cod roe 8, spicy feta - chilli, sweet bell peppers $8
I am a freak for taramasalata. I think it goes with pretty much everything but dessert and this is a nicely garlicky number that is creamy and just the right amount of salty. The spicy feta dip has a light hit of chilli and is similarly addictive especially with the triangles of soft, generously portioned bread.
Calamari, garlic & lemon yoghurt $14
Cheryl was craving some calamari so she ordered this and we were very glad that she did so because it's very tender and well seasoned. It comes with a garlic and lemon yogurt to dip in in the side and this is a favourite dish at the table even though it is very simple.
Olives tossed with garlic, oregano $8.50
The bowl of olives is glisteningly appealing. I spear a fat green olive oil top. It's enormous and served hot with flavours of garlic and oregano.
Lamb souvlaki, fries, salad, tzatziki $26
There is a choice of chicken or lamb souvlaki and we go for the lamb to cater for the girls' tastes. The lamb is tender and smoky and this is a very filling dish. It is also an all encompassing meal with fries, a vinaigrette dressed salad and tzatziki. The fries are a point of contention this evening though because the larger ones are quite raw in the centre.
Halloumi, tomato, onion & cucumber relish, oregano honey $15
How fabulous is halloumi cheese? It comes in three pieces with a superb tomato and onion relish with oregano honey. I think I could have eaten this all but you know you can't do that with your friends. Family maybe but not friends ;)
Sardines marinated, parsley, garlic, feta, lemon $14
I usually love sardines but these are strong and served marinated and cured with parsley, garlic, feta and lemon. It's very savoury and I usually like a bit of a sweet element with sardines.
Chargrilled sword fish steak, spinach & rice pilaf $26
After a small break the mains arrive. The first main is the swordfish, usually not a fish that I order because it can often come out dry. But this one is not at all. It ends up being one of my favourite mains because it is moist and succulent (two words I've never used to describe swordfish) on a bed of spinach and rice pilaf which is like a risotto.
Lamb shoulder slow roasted, lemon greek yoghurt, lazanki noodles $29
The lamb shoulder is very strong in lamb flavour. I usually love it with a bit more lemon cooked into the lamb to counteract the lamb aroma. It comes with lemon Greek yogurt and lazanki noodles which are like spaghetti. And although the pic makes it look somewhat small, it is a large dish.
Chargrilled smoked beef rib, smokey chipotle sauce, dipping sauces, lemon potatoes, pita $31
For something even more substantial, this beef rib is perfect. There are two large pieces of smoky chipotle tender beef rib that almost slip off as they come to the plate. They come with two dipping sauces and a side of lemon potatoes (also tender but a bit more lemon would be lovely) on two rounds of pita bread that are warm and soft and have soaked up the beef juices.
Lemon semolina sponge, raspberry jam, turkish delight ice cream $12
Everyone swoons over the Turkish delight ice cream ribboned with sauce and aromatic with rose perfume. The lemon semolina sponge is quite firm with a bouncy texture and honestly I preferred the two elements separately rather than together.
Cinnamon risogalo, cassonade crust, blueberry mousse $12
We all have eyes for the cinnamon rice pudding with just the right combination of cinnamon and creamy rice. It is topped with cassonade sugar and bruleed for a bit of crunchy texture. It is topped with a tiny quenelle of blueberry mousse and a tiny poached pear. There isn't quite enough of the blueberry mousse to have in each spoonful and the pear is a bit hard (you need a knife to eat this) but we keep going back to the nursery comfort of the rice pudding.
So tell me Dear Reader, do you tend to go waterview restaurants during the day or does it not matter to you to go at night? And are you a lamb lover or not?
This meal was indendently paid for.
The Smoking Goat
Sydney Rowing Club, 613 Great North Road, Abbotsford, Sydney, NSW Tel: +61 (02) 9712 5503