Concrete Blonde is nice and dark – perfect for a date. It was ideal for hubby and I, because we were on a date when we reviewed it. The ambient lighting and dimly lit corners with cosy tables make it a great place for a romantic dinner but not-so-great for taking photos without a flash. Therefore, I’ll need to apologise in advance for the photos – they’re not very good – but don’t let that stop you from checking it out, because the food is fantastic.
As it was date night, we started with a cocktail. Hubby had the Jam Jar G&T ($18); Mediterranean gin, agave syrup, lime, tonic water and black pepper. And yes, served in a little jam jar wrapped in brown paper with a sprig of rosemary. He dubbed it ‘Hobo chic’ because the brown paper reminded him of vagabonds that drink their booze from paper bags in the street. I had a sip and it was truly delicious.
However, I liked my Lychee and Rose Martini ($18)better. Belvedere vodka, fresh lychee puree, lime juice, Catron lychee liqueur and rose syrup were mixed together to create a deliciously fragrant drink that had my taste buds singing and ready to eat!
First up we had one of their bar snacks KFQ!? ($14); Kentucky fried quail. My photo turned out so badly that I can’t bear to publish it here, but the taste was so good you should get yourself down there to see and taste it for yourself. A crunchy, spiced coating gave way to juicy meat that had us drooling for more – damn you quails for being so small!
Next to arrive was the Hawkesbury river pencil squid ($21), pictured above. I love the way the menu specifies the source of the produce – this seems to be a trend at the moment – and I hope it continues. The squid was charred on the outside and tender on the inside and the accompanying cubes of chorizo, olives, piquillo peppers and salsa verde made every mouthful pop with flavour.
Bad photo, great main dish. I chose the special of the day Macleay Valley suckling pig roasted over wood with ”tempero du essencia” spice rub, celeriac, date and traditional dumplings. Wow. The crackling was tooth-shatteringly crisp and the pork meat soft and unctuous. I asked chef Patrick Dang how he came up with such a cracker of a dish:
“I was inspired by a dish I experienced when I was in Macao (a former Portuguese colonial near Hong Kong). A 5kg suckling pig was stuffed with paella rice, which is very much a Lisbon traditional dish. However, I found the suckling pig was not as crispy as the Cantonese style, where you will find them in Chinatown hanging at the window on display. To celebrate the cross culture like they do in Macao, I therefore applied the Chinese technique to give the suckling pig a glossy crispy skin, while I rub the “Time of Essence” (Portuguese spice blend including the African Piri Piri chili)”.
Another bad photo, another excellent dish. Hubby was extremely pleased with my choice for him of Ranger Valley 7+ wagyu beef ($40). He requested it medium rare and it turned up perfectly pink and it cut like butter. Served with aztec spices, papaya mojo, two types of corn and oxtail tamale there was no mistaking that Concrete Blonde dishes are influenced by ingredients and cooking techniques from America’s south west. Everything on the plate worked well except for the oxtail tamale. To me, it was a weird sticky and dry texture that didn’t taste of much.
We were feeling gluttonous so we ordered sides as well. Grilled broccolini ($9) with quinoa, hazelnut and lemon was fantastic. Why don’t people grill broccoli more often? I’m going to from now on. Home style rustic fries ($9) were good, not great, but lifted by the ‘red’ aioli and ‘green’ ketchup which added a nice sharp tang and counteracted the deep fried-ness.
We had a little break and then got stuck into a cheese course – please don’t judge us! (Dessert is coming after this…).
The Tarago River triple cream ($13) was a silky soft Australian cows milk, white mould cheese. Little slivers of compressed rhubard, pretty edible nasturtium flowers and smoked balsamic cut through the richness and enhanced the creaminess by contrast. I really love soft cheeses.
Lastly, we ordered dessert. Although we didn’t finish it. Promise. We’re not that piggy!
We just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to eat Pear tart tatin ($15) with sour cream caramel sauce, marzipan and brown butter ice cream. Yum, yum and more yum! And seasonal too, win-win.
If you think your Dad deserves to pig out this weekend too, then you’re in luck. Concrete Blonde are opening their doors especially for Father’s Day (having never opened for lunch before) with a special menu featuring rabbit pie, whole murray cod and more. Go on, show Dad you appreciate him with a slap-up three course meal.
Fig & Cherry dined as guests of Concrete Blonde and Agency G.
33 Bayswater Rd
Potts Point NSW 2000
Ph: 02 9380 8307