Bistrode CBD is a place I walk past every week day. I work just a few doors down the street and have had a few sneaky drinks at CBD Hotel from time to time but have somehow never ventured upstairs to the restaurant.
When deciding what restaurants to check out during March Into Merivale 2012 Mr O suggested Bistrode CBD after his visit a few weeks prior. He’d been to another March Into Merivale event ‘Pork-Off: East vs West’ where Jeremy Strode of Bistrode CBD went head to head against Jowett Yu of Ms. G’s in the battle of the pig. Mr O was impressed by both chefs, and with Ms. G’s looking like a possible contender for our next all day Saturday eating fest, Bistrode CBD was locked in for MIM.
Hotel CBD opened in 1995 as the first non-fashion endeavour of the Merivale Group. The restaurant on level 1, formerly Bistro CBD, was taken over by Jeremy Strode of Bistrode in Surry Hills in late 2010. The dining room is quite large and much quieter than I had expected considering its proximity to the bar underneath. The room is adorned in black and white, with white pillars, dark wood tables and gorgeous striped fabric upholstered chairs.
As with all Merivale restaurants Bistrode CBD was offering the $33 Meal Deal which includes one course and a glass of wine or beer. And unlike our visit to est. the week prior we would be sticking with the $33 Meal Deal menu this time around!
$33 for one course and a glass of premium NZ wine or beer.
With our orders taken we were offered some bread to start – a choice of Iggy’s sourdough or Sonoma soy & linseed. I’ve never seen both Iggy’s and Sonoma offered at a restaurant before and felt spoilt for choice; though I couldn’t go past Iggy’s, and neither could Em, Dylan or Mr O.
Iggy’s sourdough is my favourite sourdough around town. To me it beats Sonoma and Brasserie Bread, not that I would ever turn either of those down. Iggy’s is just the perfect combination of crispy crust, moist, chewy centre and the right amount of sourness. Needless to say the bread and butter disappeared rather quickly.
Pumpkin & harissa pie, raw fennel & rocket salad.
I’d hoped to have the delicious sounding lamb pie but it was on the previous fortnight’s $33 Meal Deal menu so I was out of luck. With a choice of Petuna ocean trout, Pino’s sausages or a pumpkin & harissa pie I decided to stick with my craving of a pie. And if there is anything Em loves more than her beloved potato it’s pumpkin so she obviously followed suit.
As the plates reached the table I knew I’d made the right decision, golden pie, a mountain of fries and a few greens to balance out the meal. Cutting in to the crispy pastry I was hit with the gorgeous smell of baked pumpkin and the heady aroma of cumin. The pie filling was sensational with chunky pieces of pumpkin cooked to a soft tenderness while still retaining their shape and the perfect amount of harissa. In contrast to the hearty pie, the sharp fennel and peppery rocket made for a refreshing salad. And who can say no to fries?! Seasoned well, they just finished off a great dish.
Pino’s veal and pork sausages, fried egg, baked beans, hand cut chips.
No one was taken by the ocean trout dish so both Dylan and Mr O chose the snags. Having tasted Pino’s sausages on the Italian Food Safari last year I knew they were in for a treat. Though the baked beans scared me off this dish (home made or not I just hate baked beans… which is odd considering I love beans in every other format) the boys reported the beans were out of this world – both claiming they were the best baked beans they’d ever eaten!
As I suspected the flavour of the sausages was lovely but Dylan felt they were so lean they were a little dry. I loved the look of the fried egg with its crispy crumb outer and oozy yolk centre, and of course it hit the spot.
2010 Akarua ‘Rua’ Pinot Noir, Central Otago.
The Central Otago pinot noir was a my kind of pinot with cherry, plum and spice flavours and ripe tannins.
While we were all saying how large the portion sizes were and how full we were we just couldn’t resist dessert. Well actually Em did resist (if we ignore the extra glass of wine), but Dylan, Mr O and I couldn’t help ourselves. I couldn’t decide between three dishes so as Mr O ordered the honey tart and Dylan ordered the french toast I decided to go for the third option I’d been tossing up, the chocolate fondant.
Jane’s Organic Honey Tart & Peanut Butter Ice Cream ($17.00).
I managed to take a photo of the tart and hear Mr O exclaim how amazing it was, reminding him of his favourite childhood snack, peanut butter and honey sandwiches, yet somehow I didn’t actually try any. What was I thinking? This tart looked amazing and I had massive food envy. In fact I think I might need to head back to Bistrode CBD just to try the tart.
Brioche French Toast, Apples, Cinnamon Ice Cream ($17.50).
Buttery brioche, warm apples and creamy cinnamon ice cream – I loved every aspect of this dessert other than the fact it was Dylan’s and I couldn’t eat the whole thing. The brioche was crispy on the outside and soft and buttery on the inside and I enjoyed the textural contrast of the apples. The ice cream had a nice cinnamon kick that went perfectly with the rest of the dish.
Flourless Dark Chocolate Fondant, Milk & Chocolate Mint Sorbet ($17.50).
Food envy of that honey tart aside, the fondant was absolutely delicious. Rich and gooey, this was a dessert for chocolate lovers like me. The sorbet was nice and minty, though I would have preferred a creamy ice cream rather than a summery sorbet. While the flavour of the fondant was awesome I really have to say I thought the size was rather small for the price tag, but you can’t beat good quality so I can’t really complain.
I was really impressed with Bistrode CBD. Another little gem in the city that has gone unnoticed for too long. If you’re looking for a nice hearty meal with a decent price tag I would definitely recommend Bistrode CBD. I know I will be heading back for some of Jane’s organic honey tart soon.
1/52 King Street
Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9240 3000
Bistrode CBD Website