Monsieur Poisson had, until recently, worked in a building which has a coffee kiosk in the foyer. He would usually stop in for coffee and sometimes raisin toast partway through the morning and would regularly chat to the owner/operator. One day, he and Coffee Guy were discussing where they liked to dine out when Coffee Guy handed him a business card saying it was for a new place where he knew quite a number of the staff. He urged Monsieur Poisson to try it and we made dinner arrangements there during a particularly busy period at work for me a couple of months ago. I had read very little about the place and was confused when online maps pointed to it being located at the site I associated with Blanco.
This newish baby of Grant King, ex-head chef of Pier, is intimate, cosy and tucked away from the, erm, bright lights of Darlinghurst Road. The service is friendly and I find it quite endearing that our waitress appears a tad nervous when serving us the complimentary bread when it doesn’t seem to want to leave the grasp of her cutlery-cum-tongs. I treat myself to a glass of Longbend sauvignon blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand which has tropical fruity notes, while admiring the squishy cutlery rests filled with pebbles suspended in a clear gel. (And, yes, I liked the wine so much that I bothered to have the name scribbled down for me so that I could remember it for future purposes.)
Gastro parK’s menu is brief but full of whimsy and playfulness. From the snacks section of the menu, we start with the ‘Putanesca wafer” and “Onion & mushroom macchiato, caramelised sweetbread”. The wafer is constructed from a framework of lacy grated parmesan which shatters easily and is a bit messy to eat, but a visual delight to admire being wedged into the crevice of a stone.
Monsieur Poisson is blown away by the flavour packed into the small glass of mushroom soup topped with sweet onion purée. The sweetbread has a sticky honey flavour to the outside and is presented skewered on a twig of rosemary.
We share an entrée of “Seared scallops, carrot tofu, Serrano ham, endive reduction, hazelnut” mainly due to Monsieur Poisson’s weakness for anything which makes mention of scallops. There are three scallops on the plate, of which one is encrusted in...I have no idea what, but its appearance resembles the coating on Cheezels! The carrot tofu looks like an orange-coloured panna cotta but tastes like carrot and nothing like tofu. I think at this point in time I started to lose my mind due to my eyes telling my brain to expect certain flavours and then they were anything but!
For mains, I’ve chosen the ‘Rangers valley beef fillet, sauté kale, onion soubise, caramelised veal sweetbreads’. The soft and juicy beef fillet features a thin, even crust and is flanked by onion purée akin to that in the macchiato as well as more sweetbreads. The kale is surprisingly crunchy with a texture like lettuce but served warm.
Monsieur Poisson has what has become Gastro parK’s signature dish – ‘Crispy scaled snapper, smoked potato purée, calamari crackling, ink sauce’. For starters there are the ink black components contrasted with the white plate, then there is the centrepiece of moist fish with an almost-bubbly layer of crispiness. Yes, those are real fish scales and not something else masquerading as. The calamari crackling is crisp like a light prawn cracker but a little oily on the fingers, and we still don’t know what those black little cylinders were!. This is the most fun dish of the evening and reminds us of dining at Restaurant Arras, especially when we are left guessing about the components.
Dessert is the shared ‘Pear & praline soufflé, Chantilly cream’. Soufflés are my default option to round off a meal as they’re light and also pretty to look at. If only we had the room to fit in a dessert each then we would have ordered the ‘Nitro pavlova’ as well!
I can quite confidently say this has been the most exciting meal of the year thus far. It was fun, relaxed and entertaining. Hey, even a certain Mr Durack gave them a 16/20 in his review.
5-9 Roslyn St (corner Kellett Way), Potts Point NSW
Tel: 8068 1017
Opening Hours: Sun & Mon CLOSED
Tues-Thurs 6pm-10pm (dinner only)
Fri & Sat 12pm-2:30pm (lunch)
Le Chasseur giveaway winners
Thank you to those who took the time to enter this competition courtesy of Kitchenware Direct. Monsieur Poisson had the pleasure of reading all of your creative responses and has chosen the following one as the lucky winner:
Le Chasseur Nordic Square Grill Pan 25cm
This would be fantastic to own, grill steaks with the char lines, garlic bread with olive oil, vegetables etc. would be a great addition to the kitchen's cooking cupboard, the mrs will be happy :) cross fingers
Anonymous, I have sent you an email notifying you as the winner and someone from Kitchenware Direct will be contacting you soon regarding how to claim your chosen prize and to arrange for delivery. Congratulations, and I hope you enjoy creating some delicious meals!
Thank you once again Kitchenware Direct for their generous giveaway offer.