The one time of the year I look forward to being spoilt. We forgo the presents on our birthdays in exchange for a nice meal out for the two of us. It's usually a surprise but my bad habit of asking too many questions usually means I half ruin it. Ryan did a very good job of keeping it from me this year right until we were almost on the doorstep. As soon as I walked past the famous Coca Cola sign of Kings Cross/Darlinghurst I kinda knew where we were going. Tomislav has been on my hit list for a while now and I know I've reminded Ryan about it recently.
It's a very cosy little restaurant, we both actually thought it would have been bigger. The open kitchen allows you to see and hear all the action while you wait for your dishes. It was a quite Friday that day, only us and another table of two.
Nv Champagne Agrapart Terroirs Blanc De Blanc, Avize, France
Because it's my birthday! Ryan also has a glass of red, I'm too busy with my bubbles so don't take a pic but I do get a taste of it. Can't remember what he ordered though.
RICE CRACKERS sour cream & chives
The rice crackers are light and crispy and we both enjoy munching on them - much too quickly though. The sour cream is made in house and has a nice, smooth almost velvety texture to it and is quite nice to eat. Once the crackers are gone, Ryan happily picks up the spoon to scoop it from the dish. This appetiser has our appetites hungry for more.
The butter is churned in house and is super smooth. It has an almost nutty hint to it.
The sourdough bread is bought from Iggy's. We pick up that there is an almost coffee like aroma to it. Goes very nicely with the butter.
First Course: VENISON TARTARE, quail yolk, mint crumbs
Ryan chose this dish as he loves a good tartare and is always keen on having venison if it's on the menu. Though the menu says mint crumbs I can't remember tasting it in the small mouthfuls that I got to try. I do remember our waitress say wasabi crumbs. The tartare is served with some thin fried wafers of bread to add a bit of contrasting crunch against the rich quail yolk.
First Course: SCAMPI CARPACCIO, sour cream, pumpkin juice
I chose this for something a little 'different'. The pumpkin juice was poured table side from a small test tube. The scampi flesh was firm and coriander herb crust added fresh flavours to the dish.
Second Course: GRILLED BLACKMORE’S TONGUE, beetroot, malt ice cream
Ryan has developed a love for tongue so couldn't go past this dish too when he saw it on the menu. The thin slices of tongue are just so soft and tender, you wouldn't really think that you're eating tongue. The malt ice cream was definitely an interesting accompaniment that we didn't expect to see on a savoury dish but it worked.
Second Course: POACHED HEN’S YOLK, foie gras, green peas
In another attempt to be different, I ordered the poached hen's yolk. This was definitely a surprise on a plate. I began by tasting each element by itself and then eating it all together. The freeze dried foie gras crumble was crispy, but yet dissolved and was creamy and smooth on your tongue. Not exactly the sensation I usually expect when eating foie gras. The peas, well the peas were peas but I never would have thought they'd be so delicious to eat. The star of the dish is of course the egg yolk which I thoroughly enjoyed piercing to release the oozy runny middle which binded the other two elements together. I seriously wanted to pick up my plate and lick it clean.
Third course: ROAST VEAL SWEETBREAD, purple onions, popcorn milk
Ryan seems to enjoy sweetbread too, so luckily for him it was also on the menu. Even after a forced mouthful I couldn't quite accept the idea of myself eating an animal's pancreas. Yes it was cooked to perfection but the taste was just a little too 'offal' for me. What was interesting was that popcorn milk, the flavour was only subtle but paired well with the caramelised skin of the sweetbreads.
Triple cooked chips.
This isn't on the menu but our waitress mentions it and as soon as I heard those three words, I immediately said 'YES'. Potato chips make me go weak at the knees, and who can resists TRIPLE cooked chips? Unfortunately they were not as crunchy as we had hoped them to be so were a little disappointed.
Third Course: ROAST LAMB BELLY, wasabi, grilled pineapple
Pork belly is a pretty standard favourite but I was keen to find out what lamb belly would be like. It was just like eating pork belly, but it was lamb. The lamb was cooked until it was soft and tender and there was a nice thin crackling on top. I've never really associated lamb meat with crackling before. The pineapple and wasabi together with the lamb was an interesting combination, which left me wanting to lick this plate clean too. I actually felt a little excited and disappointed at the same time at this point. Excited to know that the next course was dessert, my favourite part, but also disappointed that after such a fun dining experience it was coming to an end.
Fourth Course, dessert: MILK CHOCOLATE CREAM CAKE, mint, smoked banana ice cream
Ryan was about to order the cheese option but his sweet tooth got the better of him. The cake was so nice and soft and not overly rich for a chocolate dessert and we wished there was more of the smoked banana ice cream.
VANILLA CHEESECAKE, apple ice, roast apple ice cream
I was disappointed the apple crumble was no longer on the menu but was keen to see how Tomislav would serve up a cheesecake. There were 3 textures of cheese cake in this dish, with a set cheesecake in the middle, a soft velvety cheesecake mixture encasing it and then there are the cheesecake jelly cubes on top. The apple ice balanced the richness of the cheese cake and the caramelised apple slices added sweetness.
Oh dear, after just one glass of bubbles my cheeks almost match the colour of my top! I really enjoyed my birthday surprise this year. It's not the type of food experience for everyone but Ryan and I really enjoyed it and appreciate all the work that went into the dishes, letting us experience food outside of the square. Hope that we get a chance to revisit soon.
This was only part one to my three day weekend of feasting for my birthday. I hadn't initially planned for it that way but it just happened like that. Later that night we headed to Westfield Sydney for fellow June baby Ms Belly Rumbles' birthday dinner at Xanthi. We had a 10 course feast which sent me into a huge food coma by the end of the night, that along with the fact that Ryan and I had been in the city walking around all day.
The next day kicked off with brunch at one of Ryan's local cafes Zenja and then dinner with friends at La Casa and then on my actual birthday Ryan took my slightly hungover self to a lovely little authentically French Cafe, Sel et Poivre in Darlinghurst for lunch. He knew how much I missed Paris and since he couldn't take me back for my birthday, he brought Paris to me. It was then back home for a nap before heading out to dinner with all of my cousins for a combined birthday at Silvas where another big banquet was had. By breakfast the next day at work I really didn't feel like eating anything at all!
Just part of the 10 course feast we had at Xanthi for Ms Belly Rumbles' birthday.
Brunch with Ryan at Zenja Cafe, Strathfield.
Dinner with friends at La Casa.
Suprise lunch at Sel et Poivre.
Dinner at Silvas to celebrate a combined birthday with all the cousins.