It was my friend Melle's birthday and she really wanted to check out Gastro Park in Kings Cross. We check it out on a Thursday night. I didn't know it at the time but I was in for a feast. I completely overestimated how much I could eat this Thursday night.
I do the moderately seedy walk from Kings Cross Station but Melle and I enter Gastro Park which is sleek, clean and a bit trendy. We sit down and I peer at the art work across the room. I'm having trouble understanding the waiter who has a thick French accent but Melle understands him perfectly.
After flicking through the menu, Melle and I agreed to order the 7 course tasting menu ($140 pp) because it showcased a large range of dishes that we'd probably order a la carte.
We cheers with some wine and start talking about life, money, men, work and ageing.
First off are the snacks of which there were three. My favourite was probably the wagyu grissini sticks with shaved pecorino. I am not a huge fan of anchovy (above) which has a really strong flavour although the snack which had a sardine on thin pastry was more subtle in taste. The third snack was a wagyu and cheese crispy tartlet.
The first dish was the scallop and pomegranate ceviche. I would describe the dish more like a scallop sashimi with pickled onion. There was a bit of food theatre with smoke coming out. I'm not sure if this dish lives up to the description as the pickled onion flavours were so dominant.
The next dish is the suckling pig with crab, carrot and pork pebbles. As I am allergic to crab, I get another portion of pork which is nice. This dish is really delicious. The pork is so succulent and the pork crackle is ground up to make the pork pebble, adding texture and crunch.
Melle has read up on Gastro Park and tells me this seems to be the most written about and most popular - The Liquid gnocchi in mushroom consomme (above). The gnocchi are thin skinned pumpkin flavoured that pop in your mouth with pumpkin liquid. The broth is flavoursome and refreshing to eat.
For Melle, this is her favourite dish of the night. I quite like this dish and understand why this dish would be so popular.
The next dish is the seared ocean trout, bbq lettuce with shitake and red wine. This is a nice dish for fish lovers with a melt in your mouth sensation. I'm starting to get full however I power on. There's two dishes left.
The next dish is the 48 hour slow cooked jacob's creek beef short rib with asparagus, myrtle, peas and pistachio. The meat is so tender and I quite like the contrasting side of textures and flavours. This is one of my favourite dishes of the night.
I am really full by dessert which is the chocolate, honeycomb and vanilla sphere with cardamom, saffron and ginger. This dish is really lovely, although I was too full to completely appreciate the complexity, textures and combination of flavours. The honeycomb balls are frozen which I quite like.
Melle concurs with my thoughts. She is super full and wishes we saved room for more dessert. We both fail to finish dessert.
In summary, I had a nice experience at Gastro Park. The customer service is impeccable, the decore is elegant and the food is tasty. Some of the dishes were unremarkable and some were amazing. I can see a lot of technique in the dishes at Gastro Park. The staff are lovely and surprise Melle with a birthday balloon which delighted her.
I think fine dining and degustations are on the decline because of the price point and competition is fierce in Sydney. Let's see what happens in this space.
Happy Birthday Melle :)