Chiswick, Woollahra

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

I must admit that I am often envious of those who are able to grow their own fruit and veg in their gardens at home. We have tried on multiple occasions to start our own mini veggie patch, with very little luck at all. There was a brief summer or two when our backyard was home to a forest of cherry tomatoes (grown by accident), however the only vegetable-like plant we've got now is a small bunch of basil that was bought from the supermarket and recently planted in a small garden pot. 

Chiswick, on the other hand, is home to the vegetable garden of everyone's dreams. 

From the outside, the complex resembles something of a cross between a welcoming country abode and airy glasshouse. It's surrounded by the charming Chiswick Gardens, which is where much of the produce used by the kitchen is grown and harvested. 

Chiswick embodies the farm to table approach to eating. The produce-driven menu changes seasonally and is heavily reliant on what's at its best in the self-sustained gardens outside. This philosophy is echoed by the interior's country-house vibe, with white bentwood chairs, simple table settings and timber floorboards overlain with cosy rugs.

The interior is sectioned into two main dining areas. One is adjacent to the open kitchen, centered around a long, communal wooden table, while the other overlooks the greenery of the gardens outside through a wall of floor-to-ceiling french windows.

The restaurant had just changed over to it's Autumn menu when we visit. Much of the menu is designed to share, and features simple ingredients that are allowed to sing on the plate.

Hiramasa Kingfish, finger lime, salty ice plant ($24)
This generously-sized entrée has a clean, refreshing aura about it. The contrast between the pale pink kingfish and vibrant green broth is stunning, both in terms of flavour and aesthetics. The fish is firm and ultra fresh, and the finger lime provides subtle citrus notes that are delicious against the pops of oily, tasty fat fish roe.

Ora king salmon, garden cucumbers, dill ($24)
The salmon in this dish is silky smooth and soft; the pieces draped across each other in an elegant, delicate pile. Cucumber seeds are present in this dish and provide that iconically cool, refreshing flavour to the fish. It's dressed lightly and showered with strands of dill. 

Grilled octopus, tahini, rosemary, chickpeas, herbs ($24)
This relatively more robust, earthy entrée is a winner. Small pieces of grilled baby octopus rest in a pool of creamy tahini sauce among a shower of roughly crushed chickpeas. We love the unusual addition of the roasted chickpeas. They're almost like crushed peanuts; this resemblance is mimicked  by the nutty tahini puree.

Spanner crab casarecci, chilli, garlic, basil ($36)
The flavour of the basil and garlic paste at the heart of this pasta dish is reminiscent to that of a vibrant green pesto. It coats every crevice of the casarecci, and is dotted with small clusters of white snapper crab meat. It's a deliciously garlic-heavy dish, with just a touch chilli. You really can taste every ingredient here - a real testament to the power of simple, organic home-grown produce. 

Moran Family lamb shoulder, baby eggplant, chermoula ($74)
I'd heard lots of great things about this Moran family lamb, and it definitely lives up to our expectations. The lamb shoulder is soft, succulent and peels off the bone. It's a good-sized serving, and is enough to feed the five of us as a share plate along with the other entrees we had on the night. It's definitely sizable enough as a meal for two people to share. The centerpiece is accompanied by firm baby eggplant, thin zucchini chips, pomegranate shards, and a big dollop of minty chermoula. A must try. 

Hand-cut chips, Chiswick ketchup ($11)
Hand-cut chips are cooked to a nice golden brown, and are more crispy than they are fluffy. The accompanying homemade ketchup has a sweet, chutney-like taste and deep red colour.

Seasonal greens, lemon, pepper ($11)
Vibrant broccolini, beans and spinach are lightly sauteed and mixed with lemon and pepper. 

Soft cheese ($10)
We delve into the dessert menu by starting with a soft, mellow goats cheese. It's not as pungent nor as strong as other varieties of goats cheese, and is paired with a selection of homemade lavosh and tiny, sweet baby red grapes. 

 Chocolate and hazelnut cake ($18)
This luxurious piece of chocolate hazelnut cake consists of two layers of velvety smooth mousse; the top layer hazelnut, and the bottom chocolate. It's coated in a glossy layer of dark chocolate glaze. Each bite is heavenly. 

Lemon curd, lemon verbena, toasted oats ($18)
This beautifully crafted dessert is a celebration of lemon. It's a light, lively dessert 'bowl' of toasted oat crumble, soft sago pearls and lemon granita arranged around a scoop of pastel yellow lemon sorbet. Each mouthful has a burst of sunny, sharp lemon. It's the perfect balance of sweet, sour, crunchy and soft. The dessert sounded ambiguous on the menu, but we were so glad we ordered it. 

Paddington Tea ($5)
We cleanse our palettes with a freshly brewed tea of lemongrass, ginger and licorice root. Each sip has that warming, sweet ginger flavour, which rounded out with subtle notes of aniseed. 

Everything at Chiswick is executed in a way that teeters the line between thoughtful elegance and rustic, humble cooking. It's the perfect balance of simple and contemporary, where the ingredients are allowed to be the stars of the show.


Chiswick Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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