At the moment the weekends are mostly mine, trips to the markets, cafes and restaurants to visit, countryside to see….I have alot of catching up to do.
Wandering through Surry Hills on a Sunday lunchtime it’s really pretty quite. I found myself at the busy doors of Bird Cow Fish. A place I recognised, thanks to my friendly local newsagent in London who ordered Gourmet Traveller for me (and text me when it came in!)
Bird Cow Fish has a very relaxed bistro feel with dark timber tables, lighter timber floors, food art and French posters adorning the walls. Their food philosophy centres around seasonal and sustainable produce.
Not having a booking they found me a table just near the door but I managed to spot a couple leave and the staff kindly swapped my table. I had already decided to have fish for my main. The waiter suggested I order a side or an entree if I was hungry as the dish was not very substantial. Yes I was hungry, but as usual famished for a feast but quickly filled to bursting.
In the spirit of making summer last as long as possible I went with the waiters suggestion of a dry crisp 2008 Even Keel riesling from Clare Valley ($12). Don’t worry you do get more in your glass, I just had a few sips before I thought about getting the camera out.
I had my eye on the gnocchi with prawn meat sauteed in burnt butter, verjuice, capers and sage ($19.50). The waiter agreed as he tells me it was one of their signature dishes that chef, Alex Herbert, had demonstrated on Masterchef. Sounded good to me.
It was the best gnocchi I have ever had. I started to make hmm noises, in my mind I was rolling my eyes too, I hope no one saw. Alex adds a little parmesan to her gnocchi which adds a slight salty cheese flavour. I haven’t had much experience with verjuice, it’s not widely used in the UK. I knew there was something in the mix, not just olive oil but I couldn’t pick it until I read the menu again. It added a lovely light citrus acidity to the dish.
Palmers Island Mulloway Fillet with carpaccio of zucchini, olive tapenade and skordhalia filled fried zucchini flowers ($35.50). Was actually quite a sizable serving with two fillets upon which to work my way through. The crispy skinned fish was full of juice, and look at those zucchini flowers, the batter is so fine you can see the flower through it. If I was really picky a little acidity in the dish, maybe in the zucchini carpaccio, would have made it perfect for me.
Dessert special was roasted figs with vanilla bean ice cream honeycomb and caramelised walnuts ($15.50). Just looking at the picture you can imagine how good this was.There was still steam coming off the figs and as the vanilla ice cream melted into the caramel sauce, the chewy honeycomb sat sweet with crunch. I was still savouring my second mouthful when they brought over my macchiato ($3). Just looking at it I had a little laugh to myself happy in dessert and good coffee land. Fabulous food, lovely friendly, accommodating staff. I left happy. I’ll be back for sure.
Yes two days later in fact. Looking for a nice relaxing lunch I headed back. The weekend informalities had been replaced with crisp white linen and folded napkins. I opted for the lunch special of salmon fishcakes, watercress and frisée salad with hass avocado and a tartare sauce ($18.50). Not overloaded with potato and a touch of dill, the fishcakes were satisfying with a chunky tartare sauce.
A glass of dry Crawford River rosé ($11) on the side and some old issues of Gourmet Traveller magazine, made for a midweek lunch for one. And yes, I’ll be back….
Unfortunately Bird Cow Fish closed it’s doors in February 2012.