When atmosphere makes a meal…
Value for Money: 7/10
After booking over a month in advance, I finally got to sample Matt Moran’s new restaurant: Chiswick. Was I going to agree with the fans or the detractors?
What a lovely spot, even at night. Despite being overly stressed that day, I felt at ease immediately upon walking in. It was the location, the garden, the decor and the ‘country house’ feel. Our casually dressed waiter was fantastic. He made us feel truly welcome and provided great advice all night. This was definitely off to a good start.
As per our waiter’s recommendation, we started off with the rosemary flatbread and 3 entrées. The flatbread was as warm and crispy as hoped but slightly bitter due to the rosemary flavouring. Yet another place where bread isn’t complimentary…for a Frenchy this just isn’t right!
The entrées received mixed reviews at our table. My favourite was the salt-cured tuna. Often disappointed by the slightly metallic taste of tuna, this dish was refreshingly subtle. Served on a block of pink salt, it tasted as divine as it looked. The waiter pointed it out that slightly rubbing the tuna onto the plate would make it saltier. The drawback of this innovative serving arrangement is that the tuna actually becomes too salty if left plated for too long. I know, I got to eat the last piece.
My friends really enjoyed the beef tartare but I thought it lacked a bit of a kick. Or maybe I just don’t like beef tartare all that much. The scallop entrée was good but went somewhat unnoticed after we had an exceptional scallop dish at Guillaume @ Bennelong a week earlier.
The Moran Family roast lamb with chickpeas and mint sauce delivered on our expectations…melty, tasty and heart-warming. However, the proportion of chickpeas and mint sauce was underwhelming compared to the size of the lamb shoulder. Also, I wouldn’t recommend this dish to any party of less than 4 guests – it is a sizeable piece of meat and you would run a significant risk of being ‘lambed-out’ by the end of it!
The side of hand-cut chips was good but for the sauce which reminded me too much of vegemite. They have actually changed the sauce since our visit. Good move, it wasn’t great.
The crab risotto was delightful but for the fact that it didn’t actually taste like crab! It is always a risk when cooking with flavours as delicate as crab. I found it incredibly addictive and would actually return just for it.
Finally, the desserts, such as the rhubarb éclair below, were pleasant without being overly exciting or crave-provoking. Each was somewhere between fancy and homely, however I would have prefered to have something time-honoured like a chocolate fondant with raspberry coulis.
From the decor, to the service, to the food, this was a truly comforting experience. This is a prime example of how multiple factors other than food affect our gustatory experience. The food was good but the atmosphere and service made it special. As a result of this one visit, I am more of a fan than a detractor. I will return for a long lazy lunch in the hope of confirming my first impression.
Have you eaten at Chiswick yet? If so, please share your thoughts in the comment box below.
- Modern Australian cuisine with a homely twist
- Dishes designed to share
- Dishes such as the roast lamb or roast chicken should be shared among a minimum of 4 people for maximum enjoyment
- Ideal for groups
- Uses ingredients from the kitchen garden
- Street parking
Chiswick – 65 Ocean Street, Woollahra 2025