With rave reviews and the twitterverse going crazy for Chiswick, it was an easy decision to include Matt Moran & Peter Sullivan’s new restaurant in our Fatterday extravaganza. Located in the leafy streets of Woollahra in the small, yet pretty Chiswick Gardens, the first thing that surprised me was how big the restaurant was. And how full. We arrived at 12:30pm (a little early for our 1pm reservation) and the restaurant was buzzing away with the majority of tables already full.
The restaurant is decked out with wooden tables of a variety of shapes and sizes. The chairs range from cute stools to long park benches. We couldn’t see the kitchen garden from our spot near the front garden windows but we did have a lovely view of the lush green lawns and gardens. Straight away I imagined the restaurant filling up with ladies who lunch, day in and day out. It’s a great spot.
Dylan and I were being sensible for once and were happy just to order mains for lunch, knowing we’d come straight from breakfast and still had the afternoon and dinner to get through. But Em couldn’t go past the scallops and Mr O really wanted to try the ravioli, so we ordered the two entrées to share.
Char grilled scallops, artichokes, burnt butter, tarragon ($22.00/$24.00 on weekends).
Lucky for us the scallop entrée comprised of 4 plump scallops, so we got a whole one each. I wonder if the kitchen upsized the entree for us? No one likes fighting over scallops! On a bed of creamy artichoke purée, the scallops were char-grilled, succulent and tasty. There wasn’t a huge amount of burnt butter which made this a suitably light start to the meal, and the aniseedy flavour from the tarragon something a little different.
Pulled veal ravioli, soy beans, cornichons, shiso ($20.00/$22.00 on weekends).
Mr O knew from the get go that he was having the ravioli. I think the menu had him at ‘pulled’. I wasn’t as convinced due to the inclusion of cornichons, but would never say no – for research purposes of course! My concern was the pasta dish would be quite heavy, but it was dressed with a wonderful assortment of greenery – soybeans, shiso leave, nasturtium leaves, cornichons, capers and parsley. It looked much lighter than I thought it would be. Cutting through the silky pasta revealed the pulled veal which was soft, lean and juicy. I was confronted with a big olive oil hit from the dressing and then the double whammy of pickle and capers hitting the palate. Parsley and the various leaves prevented the stronger flavours from dominating. A great start to lunch.
Char grilled Moran family grass fed beef, fresh horseradish ($35.00/$38.00 on weekends).
Before we arrived Dylan knew he was having the beef. Grass fed beef with fresh horseradish, he really didn’t need to read any further down the menu. I knew he would order the beef and was admittedly a little disappointed that my hopes of having the fish pie and lamb were squashed. Nevertheless I did get to try the steak. Sourced from the Moran family farm, Green Hills, which is located in the Central Tablelands in NSW (south of Bathurst, about a 4 hour drive from Sydney). Cooked to a perfect medium rare, the beef was smokey from the grill, tender and utterly amazing. Horseradish is one of Dylan’s favourite accompaniments to beef and the lovely, fresh horseradish was spectacular.
Orecchiette, spanner crab, snow peas, chilli ($30.00/$33.00 on weekends).
With the fish pie out of the equation (to be honest, had we not been heading out to dinner I would have ordered it anyway), I turned to the orechhiette. The spanner crab jumped out at me straight away and while reading through the rest of the menu I just kept returning to the pasta dish. Mr O and Em were happy to order the pasta and lamb to share, so I was lucky I got to try 3 of the 4 dishes on my wish list. Oh yeh, the pasta was amazing. Light, fresh flavours, the spanner crab permeated the whole dish, with a good touch of zesty lemon, hints of chilli and crispy snow peas. I loved every bit of this dish.
Wood roasted Moran family lamb, chick peas, mint ($59.00/$65.00 on weekends).
And then the pièce de résistance. The lamb. We’d all been waiting to try the Moran family lamb, having seen it for years on Masterchef. Slow cooked for 4 hours in a wood-fired oven, the meat on the bone doesn’t require anything more than a fork to pull it apart. Incredibly unctuous, the lamb had me going back for more and more. The inclusion of chickpea purée and a few whole chickpeas didn’t go very far and waned in comparison to the size of the lamb shoulder. While an order of sides is definitely required to go with the rich lamb, this is one stellar dish.
Hand cut chips, thyme, black garlic aioli ($9.00) / Steamed broccoli with garlic and chilli ($10.00).
Em can never not order potatoes. I think she was Irish in another life. And while the chips were nice, I didn’t rate them much at all. The others found the garlic aioli somewhat redeeming, but as a non-condiment eater I expected more from the chips alone. The broccoli on the other hand was a stunning side. The garlic and chilli just to my liking, seasoned well and still firm to the bite. I’d order the broccoli on every visit to Chiswick.
While I’m not a huge fan of weekend surcharges, it makes dining during the week more affordable. Though even on weekends the prices at Chiswick aren’t too bad at all. I admit I was a little sceptical before our visit, but the buzz is warranted, Chiswick certainly lived up to the hype.
Tummies full for the second time in a matter of hours, we declined the tempting desserts and headed off into the afternoon for a few sneaky drinks before dinner. 2 down, 1 to go in our Fatterday expedition.
65 Ocean Street
Woollahra NSW 2025
(02) 8388 8688
Chiswick Restaurant Website