The Dolphin Hotel in Surry Hills has recently undergone a transformation with a schmick new look by Maurice Terzini. The Wine Room features small sharing plates and 35 wines by the glass and over 150 by the bottle.
The Dolphin Hotel in Surry Hills has recently undergone a transformation, closing in October last year and reopening in early June with a schmick new look by Maurice Terzini. The area is split up into the main Dining Room, the Public Bar and the newly opened Wine Room which is where Raff and I found ourselves last Friday.
The main Dining Room is heaving with groups and families sharing pizzas or slow-roasted pork belly but the Wine Room is thankfully more cosy, seating just 50. Executive Chef Monty Koludrovic (Icebergs Dining Room and Bar) and head chef Sam Cheetham (ex-Becasse/Victoria Room) are at the helm of the kitchen of the Wine Room with James Hird (2015 Sommelier of the Year) overseeing the wine offerings.
We start with the Bonito and Foie Gras Crackers ($18). I might be crazy but the crackers remind me of papadums! They were super crisp, slightly garlic-y and the perfect vehicle for the fatty cubes of bonito. And let’s not forget the lip smacking blanket of shaved foie gras which melted on the tongue like snowflakes.
We debated getting some cured meats from the salumeria cabinet with products sourced locally from LP’s Quality Meats, Tony & Robbie De Palma, Continental Deli and Victor Churchill but we vow to return and instead opt for the Beef Tartare, Bagna Cauda, Pangrattato and Yolk ($24). Upon stabbing the egg yolk and mixing all the ingredients into the river of gooey egg yolk, we sit in silence at the first bite before eagerly reaching for seconds and scraping the plate clean.
The Pork, Prawn and Truffle Tortellini ($28) is a special listed on the wall and it was fan-bloody-tastic. The heady perfume of the truffle (from Tas) is intoxicating and each tortellini are perfect flavour bomb packages bathing in a ridiculously delicious bone broth. I would’ve loved if this was served in a bowl so I could spoon every last drop!
We couldn’t resist also ordering the Cavatelli, Octopus, Bone Marrow, Scrumphs ($24) because well, BONE MARROW! We loved the tiny curls of the cavatelli pasta shells and the slight chew from the octopus buried within, but oh my those globules of bone marrow- be still my beating heart! The ‘scrumphs’ refers to the scraps kids called the batter bits in London. The Wine Rooms’ take is a gluten free, lightly fried version made with squid ink to provide a nice crunchy element.
Aaaand of course we had to get dessert! The Zokoko Chocolate Tiramisu ($16) is a generous serve, a fluffy mound of mascarpone and cream, coffee soaked ladies fingers and a thin, crisp layer of Zokoko chocolate in the middle. And squee how cute are the plates with the running sausage??
The Wine Room takes bookings but be sure you select the right location and not the main dining room! The service and the food are top notch, we’ll definitely be back try the cured meats!
The Wine Room (@ The Dolphin Hotel)
412 Crown St,
Wine Room: 7 days from 5pm
Main Dining Room: Lunch: Fri – Sun: 12pm – 3pm
Dinner: Wed – Sun: from 5pm
Gazebo in Potts Point is doing a 5 course truffle degustation for $75 with truffle brie, burrata, mushroom tortellini, eye fillet and an apple galette.
I hate the cold. As soon as the temperature drops below 20C I turn into the world’s grumpiest person, groaning at every gust of bone chilling wind that sweeps through the city. It takes a lot for me to want to leave the house but the one thing I look forward to in winter is truffle season! There’s really quite nothing like the musky, earthy flavours of a fresh truffle and when Gazebo announced they were doing a 5 course truffle degustation dinner for $75, Sarah, Viv, Eric and I booked ourselves in for a midweek dinner.
The first course is a Brie Mon Pere, layered with truffle, truffle honey and comes with a slice of Brasserie Bread’s seeded toast. Now, you know I love my cheese but I just was not used to having brie as a first course and I reckon I would’ve preferred to have it after the dessert? And it happened to be so fricken cold that night that the cheese could’ve used a bit more time coming to a perfect temperature but still, it’s cheese and it was deeeelicious. The truffle was lovely with a light fragrance and I made sure to scrape all the truffle honey off my plate!
Next up is the Burrata with a salad of beets, heirloom tomatoes, asparagus and basil, drizzled with balsamic and grated truffle. Burrata has got to be one of my most favourite cheeses in all the lands, imagine a a pouch made of mozzarella and then filled with fresh cream and soft stringy bits of curd. Now imagine stabbing it and letting the creamy river flow, enveloping everything in its path… This was seriously sublime and decadent with the freshly grated truffle.
Moving on to the pasta dish- Mushroom Tortellini, with wild funghi, a shaved truffle white wine sauce and grated truffle pecorino. Whilst we all enjoyed this, I couldn’t help but think how much I loved the actual mushrooms over the pasta! The mushrooms were plump and juicy and tasted like they’d been lovingly bathed in brown butter, there was that roll your eyes to the heavens nutty deliciousness that only butter can produce. And I thought the sauce was non existent, if the menu hadn’t said that there was a sauce I probably wouldn’t have noticed but man I love pastas with a sauce.
Our final course is the Eye Fillet crusted in truffle salt, with roasted eschalots, a cauliflower and cheese bake with red wine jus and truffle. When this arrived at our table we all leant in and breathed in the heady truffle aroma. The steak was juicy and a perfect medium rare but I was drawn to the cauliflower bake because, cheese 😛
Aaand for dessert, a warm Apple galette with frangipane and a truffle ice cream. That pastry was incredible, super buttery but oh so light and flaky! The frangipane filling provided a nice richness but I thought after the intense truffle flavours we’d had in all the previous dishes that the truffle ice cream could’ve used more truffle? But it was a great ending to a degustation and pretty great value. The truffle degustation is only available on Wednesdays until 17th August so be sure to book!
2 Elizabeth Bay Road,
Tues – Sun: 12pm – 12am
White Mojo is located just down from Hardware Societe and pumping out amazing soft shell crab croissant burgers, tasty coffee and cute as a button baby donuts.
So on our last day in Melbs, I may have picked White Mojo to go to for brunch solely because I knew they stocked donuts… White Mojo opened in April just down the laneway from Hardware Societe and already they’ve developed a cult following with the locals.
Instead of his usual request of something simple like a bacon and egg roll, Noods orders the Cauliflower Pannacotta ($21) and all heads turn when the glass cloche is lifted and smoke billows out. Gotta love theatricality!
Presentation on point! Fat scallops were lightly seared and sitting on a bed of black pudding dust, dehydrated red onion and tiny nubbins of potato popcorn. The cauliflower pannacotta seemed more like a mousse I thought, and while yes we were warned that it was a cold dish, I don’t think I was prepared for it to be fridge cold especially as it was piped? I loved the flavour of it though, it was rich and creamy but I guess I just wished it could’ve been warm. Mad props for the shard of crisp pancetta and the perfectly gooey 63°C egg though, it was so satisfying stabbing the egg and watching the river of egg yolk run everywhere 😛
As for me, I’m in need of something fried so have chosen the White Mojo Croissant Burger ($22) which is stuffed with a deep fried soft shell crab, a sunny side up fried egg, pickled cucumbers and a drizzle of chipotle mayonnaise. The croissant is wondrously flaky and holds up well against the golden soft shell crab, I’m impressed by how light and crisp the batter is on the crab and not at all oily.
Sadly I was too full to eat one of each of the baby donuts on display so choose just one for dessert- the Matcha Donut. I’m not the biggest fan of candied fruit so may have removed the toppings but the donut was pretty good! Definitely on the denser side and not of the fluffy raised variety but a good hit of matcha and the perfect amount of icing that wasn’t overly sweet.
Service at White Mojo was friendly and pretty attentive and free sparkling water is immediately offered to each table which is pretty damn awesome. Definitely one on the must return list when I’m back down in Melbs!
115 Hardware street
Mon – Fri: 7am – 4pm
Sat – Sun: 8am – 5pm
Mantecato Risotteria Italiana is a neighbourhood gem in Balmain, known for their risotto and hand made pastas.
I loooove pasta, give me a giant carbalicious bowl of pasta and I’m a happy camper! Sarah, Viv and I have slowly been eating our way around Sydney at anywhere that serves pasta and next on our hit list is Mantecato, a neighbourhood gem in Balmain known for their risotto and hand made pastas.
But first, some cured meats and cheese please! Culatello and Burrata ($22) is a great starter and comes with a basket of freshly fried crisps that were puffy and deliciously buttery. The ribbons of culatello are lusciously fatty and the burrata oozes with all the charm of a thousand car salesmen.
The Battuta di manzo ai porcini ($22) is a beef eye fillet tartare dressed with extra virgin olive oil, salt & pepper and served with porcini mushrooms. I think I liked the pile of super juicy mushrooms more than the tartare itself, I mean it was tasty and all, but I prefer the classic steak tartare with the egg, capers, Tabasco sauce etc? Also I would’ve loved some bread or something to eat the tartare with.
Onto the pastas! The Risotto al Tartufo ($35) is a carnaroli parmesan risotto with freshly shaved black truffle. I freaking love truffle season you guys! That heady perfume is unlike anything else and the smell of the truffle is just so intoxicating! The risotto has a great consistency, it’s creamy and each plump grain has the perfect bite.
Whilst I liked the delicate truffle risotto, I was much more in love with the Alla milanese con ossobuco ($29), a saffron risotto with braised veal osso buco that was unctuously tender. It was rich and comforting and is definitely a winner for winter. And you betcha we scraped out all the bone marrow!
The Tagliatelle al ragù ($23) is a pile of hand made tagliatelle pasta with a pork & beef ragù bolognaise. The tagliatelle pasta is al dente and the rich ragu sauce is easily twirled and slurped with gusto.
We had to order the Ravioli di ricotta e spinaci ($25), the handmade pasta parcels are stuffed with a creamy ricotta cheese and spinach filling and topped with a rich butter and sage sauce. That sauce man, SUH GOOD! Is there anything butter can’t make taste good?!
The Lasagna verde al ragù ($24) doesn’t look super pretty but it was so fricken delicious! It was baked perfectly with the pasta sheets holding a rich pork and beef ragu sauce layered with creamy bechamel sauce and a golden cheesy top crust that hit all the right umami notes.
“Should we get a salad?” asks Sarah. “Well I mean the Insalata Mantecato ($18) has got gorgonzola cheese, pear, walnuts and speck,” we reply with a grin. And just look at those generous wedges of cheese! This is totally my idea of a great salad, with heaps of ingredients and not so much greenery 😛
And what’s a lunch without house made Tiramisu ($10)?
We’d hoped the tiramisu would be a giant wodge ala 10 William Street but alas. Mantecato’s version is served in a jar, and while the bottom layers of lady finger sponge is a touch on the dry side, there is generous amounts of cream.
A rare humans shot! Cream, Cheese, Carbs makes the world go round 😛
129/85 Reynolds Street,
Mon – Fri: 6pm – 10pm
Sat – Sun: 12pm – 10pm