Tonight I’m having dinner with a very old friend, the Greek goddess, who’s also just returned from a big overseas trip. We have travel stories to share and I have a few Greek recipe enquiries to make with her after my time over there.
We’re dining at The Sardine Room in Potts Point – I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to come here (I’m ashamed actually as it’s now my new favourite place). Another friend of mine has been recommending it to me for ages and has kindly organised us a table – our last-minute decision to come here saw the restaurant booked out by a function. Thankfully it’s a balmy evening and we’re seated outside on the street. It’s packed.
I will admit to questioning if they served more than just sardines… (if you didn’t think that was a silly question, then the answer is yes they do)
The owner, Ange, is a gorgeous ball of energy that greets us like old friends. She sits down at our table to explain the menu – you can tell instantly how passionate she as about food and the dining experience.
GG and I agree “I’ll eat everything”, so we’re happy to go with Ange’s recommendations. Salt and pepper squid with garlic aioli is a must she tells us – it’s taken her years to perfect the recipe and it’s now her signature dish. She suggests we try three different cooking techniques – thankfully this includes the Squid ink ravioli with organic egg yolk, blue swimmer crab & trout caviar that I had my eye on, and the Steamed prawn wontons with honey satay & chilli.
The squid has definitely earned its reputation, light, salty and crispy (we’re even given the option to cook this with rice flour if we had any gluten allergies). The delicate wonton melts away to a succulent prawn that only needs the slightest touch of the rich satay. My favourite is the ravioli – a perfectly cooked organic egg in a black squid ink pastry pillow that oozes out over the sweet crab and pops of salty caviar.
For mains, we’re almost sold on the Seafood pie with mussels, fish and prawns but it’s not really pie weather for me – although I was most impressed when I mentioned I didn’t like mussels, Ange said “No problem, I can cook it without mussels” – what restaurant happily offers to tailor their dishes to your needs these days? Amazing. We end up sharing the Grilled barramundi on Vietnamese salad and Seared Atlantic salmon with quinoa, whole almonds, falafel & goats cheese.
I tuck in to the perfectly cooked salmon first – crispy skinned and still a little pink in the middle. The salad is the best quinoa I’ve tasted in a long time (I’ve tried so often to make quinoa taste this good…), dressed lightly with lemon and olive oil with roasted blanched almonds, chunks of goats cheese and little falafels. Yum, yum, yum. The barramundi is equally as good, although it’s a little dark to see the colourful salad it sits on full of cabbage and fresh herbs.
I’m drinking the Scotchmans Hill ‘09 Pinot Noir from the Bellarine Peninsular, VIC. GG is drinking the Pierro ltc ‘09 Semillon Sauv Blanc from the Margaret River, WA.
The Greek goddess had chosen dessert before we even looked at the rest of the menu (I love her for that), and she suggests not one, but two desserts to share! (I love her even more for that). I’ve chosen the Warm vanilla custard with filo pastry, toasted almonds & ice cream – GG tells me this sounds like the traditional Greek dessert ‘Galaktoboureko’ (Ange later confirms this). The Bread & butter pudding with chocolate chop, dates, maple syrup & ice cream is made with organic sourdough – say no more, sold.
I’m mad for anything custard, so the inspired-‘Galaktoboureko’ is a winner with me. The pastry melts away against the semolina based warm vanilla custard. I ask GG how to make this. The bread & butter pudding is nice, but it’s hard to taste the sourdough through the heavy spices and maple syrup.
The Sardine Room… I can’t wait to come back here!
The Sardine Room – Shop 2, 31 Challis Avenue, Potts Point NSW 2011 – 02 9357 7444