Friday, February 8, 2013

Sunday Lunch - Chiswick

 Last weekend we headed out to Sunday family lunch and got to visit a restaurant that had been on my to do list for quite a while now. Chiswick is the joint venture of chefs Matt Moran and Peter Sullivan - where the seasonal menu is designed for sharing, and the focus is on simplicity and high quality produce that reflects the changing seasons. The restaurant has its own 150 square metre kitchen garden where much of the produce for the menu is grown. I love the whole notion of literally being able to look out the window as I'm eating my lunch and be able to see where the food on my plate came from, so Chiswick really appealed to me from that standpoint.

Chiswick Restaurant

The restaurant itself is a delightful space - very light and airy and surrounded by gorgeous greenery. Although everything is beautifully arranged, it is quite casual and relaxed. A perfect venue to have a moochy Sunday lunch with the family or friends. The service was excellent - with upbeat, friendly and efficient staff who clearly knew the menu well. As well as cooks and floor staff, Chiswick employs it's own full time gardener who works with the chefs to create the ever changing seasonal menu.

The Main Dining Room

While we waited for our lunch companions to arrive, we decided to enjoy a cocktail from the very inviting looking cocktail list. My choice was called Natural Element - a refreshing and delicious combination of Bombay gin, yuzu, green tea, lemon juice and peach bitters. Andrew went for the Apple and Basil Martini - a potent mix of 42 Below Vodka, elderflower, apple juice and purple basil from the garden. Both were delicious, but being lunchtime we stopped at the one!

Pre-Lunch Cocktails

The Kitchen Garden @ Chiswick
- a source of beautiful fresh produce

We decided to start our lunch with a selection from the "small plates" menu. I adore scallops, so we absolutely needed to include the grilled scallop and daikon dish among our choices. The dish was clean and simple, the scallops cooked beautifully and the daikon and chilli adding just the right amount of piquant flavour.

Char Grilled Scallops, Daikon, Chilli Jam & Viola

A super light, velvet textured chicken liver parfait with delicious rustic bread, hazelnut paste and fresh figs followed. The texture of the parfait was amazing, giving the dish a really luxurious feel, despite it's simplicity.

Chicken Liver Parfait, Hazelnuts and Figs

A shared dish of prawn popcorn, crunchy iceberg lettuce and a spicy, punchy jalapeno sauce was a bit retro in presentation, but was delicious. So moreish! I wish you could have a bucket of this home delivered!

Prawn Popcorn, Jalapeno Sauce and Iceberg

The Handmade ravioli was super light and full of fresh Summer flavours. Young broad beans are one of my favourite things and this was a lovely way to enjoy them.

Broad Bean and Purple Basil Ravioli with Sauce Vierge

After enjoying our selection of small plate dishes, we moved on the the main courses. We decided not to do individual mains and chose instead two generous shared platters. One of chicken and one of the famous Moran family lamb from their farm in the Central Tablelands of NSW.

The chicken was easily the dish of the day for me. Served in the very French style of braised lettuce caramelised pearl onions and fresh garden peas and green beans, it was so, so moist and succulent. Although the skin was golden and crispy (as it should be!) even the breast meat retained it's juiciness. I would go as far to say it was the most beautifully cooked chicken I've eaten.

Chicken, Pearl Onions, Braised Lettuce and Peas

A shoulder of Moran family lamb was cooked in a wood fired oven, so retained that lovely woodfired aroma. The meat was so tender that although we were provided with a knife and fork for carving, a spoon was all that was required. The lamb was delicious, however I felt that it was a little under seasoned and would have benefited from a little more salt during the cooking process to boost the flavour. With better seasoning, this dish would have been outstanding, instead of just very good. Under seasoning is one of the biggest cooking mistakes I think - not just at home, but in restaurants too. Don't be so scared of salt people! It really does make a difference.

Woodfired Slow cooked Moran Family Lamb
with parsley sauce green olive, fennel and tomato salad

I really enjoyed our first visit to Chiswick.  It is a great place to eat simple, well prepared, good quality food. The atmosphere is light and lovely - a perfect venue for a relaxed lunch. We will definitely return again to see what the garden and the menu has in store as the year progresses and the seasons change. Chiswick is definitely worth a visit.

65 Ocean Street
Woollahra NSW 2025
Ph: (02) 8388 8688


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