Poetica is a new restaurant in North Sydney. Located in the 1Denison building amongst a host of other eateries it's the latest restaurant rollout from the same team of Lou Lou in Milsons Point. So what is it like and why is everyone talking about the oysters there?
noun a sentimental longing or wistful affection for a period in the past.
I'm experiencing a lot of nostalgia as we drive through the streets of North Sydney. My first advertising job was just metres away from Poetica and the memories come back thick and fast like a movie playing in my head. My favourite part of my job in advertising was of course the lunches when ad sales teams would take us out for a nice lunch. I'm sure that if Poetica were around, we would have definitely come here - for the amount of offices there aren't nearly enough restaurants of this calibre in the area and we would always have to cross the bridge for lunches.
At night the crowd at Poetica is mixed in age with couples and friend groups of women and men. Service is lovely and deferential and we watch the staff handle an older couple celebrating their anniversary with TLC. The 120 seater restaurant has a long, rectangular dining room with an open kitchen on the left and is decked out with blond wood furniture and light neutral tones. Casting light above are white lighting fixtures that immediately make me think of white Pringles chips (you cannot take me anywhere). There is also a bar slightly hidden away behind a curtain on the right as soon as you enter. The head chef here is Connor Hartley-Simpson.
Mr NQN and I start with some cocktails because it is Friday night. Each cocktail has the main ingredients listed plus a little description of the style of cocktail it is which is helpful when choosing. I order the Above Lavender Bay because I love the sound of this plus we also got married in Lavender Bay. It has Forty Spotted Wild Rose gin, Lillet Rose, honey, lavender, citrus and Aussie sparkling wine and it is described as "Shaken, sparkling and zingy". Mr NQN makes a more pragmatic choice because he is tired and needs a coffee pick me up. The Wattle Seed Express is described as a nitro espresso martini with Australian wheat vodka, nitro cold brew, broken beans, coffee liqueur and wattleseed.
Everyone seems to be talking about the Flambadou (pronounced flahm-buh-doe) oysters. These oysters are briefly kissed by the heat with a little nduja and sliced, pickled guindilla peppers on top. The key flavour is via the Flambadou where beef fat is heated by flame in a metal cone funnel (the Flambadou) and then drizzled over the oysters. This method harks back to the Middle Ages and is becoming popular again and gives the oysters a bone marrow-like flavour and texture. It's so delightful yet unexpected. The oyster flavour takes a back seat to the beef fat and if you love luscious bone marrow you will love the Flambadou oysters.
Our other entree is the raw beef with green mustard and a topping of crispy onions (this ingredient will pop up in a few dishes, and I'm not mad about it). The beef is fresh and moreish although some crackers would have been fantastic to complete it.
As we were being shown to our table they pointed out the dry ageing cabinet with displays of dry aged swordfish and beef. The swordfish has been aged for 5+ days and is served pre-sliced like a steak with a jus gras (pan dripping sauce) reduced down and shaved horseradish on top. The dry ageing changes the texture of the swordfish and it's more tender and less dry and dense while the sauce is intense and good when you get a lot of it. This and the steak below did need some seasoning though but this is easily rectified.
I can only imagine how many of the dry aged steaks are ordered on a corporate Amex. These start at $180 for a 750g Jack’s Creek MB3 sirloin on the bone and the steak has been aged for 50+ days. They have a special, a smaller 500g one still on the bone and it is a luscious, beefy flavour forward steak. We add some salt and pepper to it and it pairs so perfectly with the radicchio and grated Gouda salad below with its peppery bitter leaves, creamy intense gouda, crispy onions and balsamic reduction. I have plans to make this at home next time I get some radicchio in my vege box. And they whisk off the bone for us to take home to Teddy and Milo.
It's dessert time and while all of the desserts sound good, we are drawn to the seasonal special, the mango tart. This is fresh, diced mango in a crisp buttery tart shell with a macadamia nut ice cream and shaved macadamia nut on top. It's not overly sweet which I like and it's a nice dessert. Although if I am being honest I think if I were to do it again, I would finish with some more Flambadou oysters.
So tell me Dear Reader, have you ever had anything cooked with a Flambadou? Do you like bone marrow?
NQN and Mr NQN were guests of 1 Denison but all opinions remain her own.
Mezzanine Level/1 Denison St, North Sydney NSW 2060
Open 12pm-11pm Tuesday to Saturday
Phone: (02) 9067 4925