Thursday, January 22, 2009

Glebe Point Diner

  • Glebe Point Diner, 407 Glebe Point Road, Glebe (9660 2646)
This was a review I wrote after the first time I dined at GPD in February 08, just over a year ago. Since then I have been back at least 6 more times, so will write an updated review very shortly.

I had been so excited about lunch as I had read a lot of reviews and heard great feedback from friends which all put Glebe Point Diner up on a pedestal. They loved it as it was a casual yet sophisticated restaurant that has nice simple food.

The high ceilings open up this dining room, making it feel spacious and not congested during its fully booked lunch and dinner seatings. Dark chocolate brown walls and chairs are balanced by the white floor and butcher paper on the marble tables. Your eye is drawn to the brown and white striped wall facing the bar which is contrasted by the vibrant lime green couch running its whole length. The combination of colours and patterns instantly created a fun and welcoming setting, however, when light streams through the glass façade, this space really comes to life.

Head Chef Alex Kearns has created a relaxed menu that does not muck around with its ingredient. All locally sources, and organic if available, he has placed a large emphasis on freshness and quality, changing the menu twice daily to take into consideration availability and seasonality. His blackboard menu offers a choice of 6 entrees, 4 mains and 4 desserts all of which can be easily paired by Manager and Sommilier Andrew John, to one of their 200 wines. Still focusing strongly on NSW vineyards, this epic wine list is regularly being changed to ensure diners can always try something new and exciting as John is always searching for the next impressive drop each vineyard has released.

Within minutes of arriving, I had already bumped into people I knew, well it is Glebe. After stopping to have a chat, and catch a glimpse what they were eating, I could see that my expectations would not be let down. Andrew assisted us out with our order whilst still finding time to joke around to make us feel very comfortable, as if we were regulars.

For entrée, Phillip ordered the Fennel and William Pear salad with shaved Parmesan ($16), which was a contrast of sweet and sharp. I ordered half a dozen Clyde River Sydney Rock Oysters with Finger Lime ($3.50 each) as I planned to barter for a taste of the light and crisp salad. However, after experiencing the fresh oysters, I had to rethink my plan. The slight saltiness of the brine was balanced by the acidity of the lime juice, sweetness of the salmon roe and the creamy texture of the oyster. It was the perfect compilation of flavours that I could not resist but to indulge, nearly finishing the whole plate.

Liang on the other hand did not originally order an entrée, was taken aback by these dishes and decided that he needed to try one too. Not soon after, a plate of the Fried Green Tomatoes with Woodside Chevre and Basil was placed in front of him. I was so glad I savoured each oyster slowly because I had two left to swap for one fried tomato. As green tomatoes were used because of their tartness instead of a sweet truss tomato, the clean and light flavours of the goat’s cheese and the strength of the basil are able to really stand out.

I looked around and observed my surroundings. Relaxed chef’s churned out the meals, taking the time to attend to detail and presentation. All patrons were immersing themselves in conversation and looked calm and peaceful, as was my table who, tucked away behind one of the pillars next to the glazed wall, felt as though we were the only customers there.

As we saw our mains making their way to our table, our faces filled with glee. The hand cut potato chips were thick and crunchy just like we would get when we were kids.

I was a bit jealous when my companions dishes came out, as I originally wanted to order the, both. The Coorong Angus Skirt salad with shaved parmesan, watercress and baby potatoes looked as good as it tasted. The meat was so tender and juicy it just melted in your mouth.

It was hard to keep our utensils to ourself when the Broome Barramundi fillet, coated in tarragon on a bed of peas and lettuce which were accompanied by Potato Scallops. These were, until now, something of a childhood memory for us. However, these scallops looked like nothing we had ever seen before. Thick and crunchy, they were all irregularly shaped with batter protruded in many little peaks. Maybe that’s why I like this place as it put smiles on my companions’ face which are somewhat cheeky, just like a child would have if they had just eaten the last cookie from the cookie jar.
The fish was coated in tarragon which really gave this dish some bite.

Once MY dish had been served, I was glad I had ordered last, as I had definitely made the right choice. The Windsor duck salad with purslane baby beets, grapes and fried potato was a very generous dish. Not only the large wing of meat, but there were also slices of meat underneath the salad. The meat was so rich and tender, due to a new breed of ducks which are being farmed in the Hawkesbury. Originally from France, the Grimaud has a very low fat and high meat content. They eat a diet of what and a secret blend of minerals and vitamins. By the end of the meal it turned out that my two companions were picking off my plate and wished they had ordered the duck instead, which felt like a small victory for me.

My wine, I was educated, was a French Beaujolais, similar to a Pinot noir, and is served chilled, which was perfect on such a say as it was extremely humid.

We were given some time to think about dessert, and although we were fixated on the dessert of the table next to us, a perfectly shapes and delicate Black Fig Tart with marscapone and jam. Although I could not fit in another dish, my companions though it a necessity to try indulge once more. The Peach Melba ($14) was an assortment of luminous colours. A deep orange coloured peach which skinned, was so soft you could cut it as easily as a hot knife went through butter. Served on a bed of raspberry puree with a big ball of creamy vanilla ice cream, it was simple yet delectable dessert. In some respects it could be compared to a strawberry sundae, which my companions always loved as a child, and still do.

The Chocolate Mousse with Hazelnut Praline, which although was light and fluffy, was just too rich and needed something to balance it. As my companion was eyeing out the Peach Melba and wished he had ordered the same, I ordered an extra serve of ice cream to balance the dish. Although not the best pair with the mousse, it definitely made it more enjoyable.
I sipped my espresso happily, and of course managed to sneak a few spoonfuls of dessert, which you always manage to find room for.

All of these dishes were so simple and true to their flavours. They did not try to be anything but what they were, and because each ingredient is carefully selected from organic or local producers. Customers know that they serve the best quality they can get, and the flavours really talk for themselves.

I am now planning my next visit, which will be equally exciting due to the fact the menu changes twice daily, depending on what is fresh and the availability of stock. So I get to taste to a whole new assortment of dishes and flavours, but this time I will make sure I save room and treat myself to dessert.

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