I visit The Cottage Bar and Kitchen in Balmain on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Luckily I had a table booked as it quickly filled up by 12:30pm with a buzzing atmosphere outside and the tables inside being filled up as well.
It's a gorgeous sunny Sunday afternoon at the Cottage Bar and Kitchen. I feel like a lady of leisure as I sip on my Pomegranate and Lychee Martini ($17) which has bombay sapphire gin, pomegranate liquer, lychee liquer, lemon juice, cranberry and a syrup. Matt sips on some young henrys beer. I let the atmosphere soak in and also hear live music playing in the background.
The new menu at cottage bar and kitchen has been designed by new head chef Adam McCaughey (ex noma and rockpool) who brings a variety of unique flavours in a sharing plate styled way of dining. I see a mix of families, couples and young trendy people sitting outside. I people watch as we look at the menu.
Matt and I start off with the Beetroot Cured Salmon ($22) with licorice foam, fresh apple, rice cracker, beetroot powder. The licorice foam is a thick paste and while Matt normally isn't a fan of licorice - he says he really likes the combination of the cured beetroot with the licorice. I don't like licorice either so I stick to the crunchy elements of the rice cracker and the soft beetroot powder which complement the salmon well.
Next up is the Wood Fired Prawns ($30). Matt is allergic to shell fish so I gladly devour this dish. The split jumbo prawns are roasted and has been marinated with lemon and a mix of middle eastern tasting herbs. I really like this dish, it's fresh, tasty and retains the natural prawn flavours. I highly recommend this dish.
Matt starts eyeing off the next dish. I know he's feeling impatient after watching me eat the wood fired prawns. It's the Warm Goats Cheese Dip ($14) which is oven baked and served up with caramelised honey, toasted almonds and dukkah with croutons. I love the mix of sweet and savoury in the cheese along with the crunchy textures from the dukkah. I like this dish.
It's Matt's turn to shine as he basically breathes in the next dish of the beef short rib ($26) off the bone with plum sauce, corn bread, ginger and shallots. The meat is so tender and melt in your mouth. The corn bread adds a bit of carby goodness along with the sauce. Matt is happy.
I suspect we've over ordered as I am starting to get full however next up is the "Fun Guy" pizza which is a field mushroom paste and buffalo mozzarella, forest mushrooms, parmesan, truffle oil and lemon ($23). The mushroom flavours are very prominent with the paste and the field mushrooms with a more subtle truffle oil flavour. I would have liked a cheesier/truffle ratio to mushroom but the pizza is still enjoyable to eat.
While I am full, there's always an extra stomach for dessert right? The menu has a very short dessert menu and so I we order both. First up is the Salted Caramel Tart ($13) which looks so damn sexy. The glisten on this salted caramel is total food porn. It's served up with fresh berries, blackberry gel, chocolate and hazlenut soil. As you can expect, the tart is full of chocolate and caramel flavours. I like the chocolate and hazlenut soil with the berry gel. I highly recommend.
For a more subtle dessert, there's the white chocolate parfait ($13) which is served with elderflower granita, passionfruit marshmellow and yuzu and gel. The parfait looks like a stick of butter and the granita looks like clouds. The dessert is really creative and I love yuzu flavours. It's a nice alternative if you don't want a heavier dessert like the salted caramel tart.
I've had a second cocktail by now and feel a bit tipsy. I'm really enjoying the jams and the new menu by head chef Adam McCaughey.
Summary: I really enjoyed my experience at the Cottage Bar and Kitchen. My favourite dishes were the wood fired prawns, beef short rib and the salted caramel tart. I think the menu is really refreshing, tasty and inventive. I think they also do a mean cocktail. Highly recommended.
Price: Depends on how much you eat as it's a sharing plate styled dining experience. Approx $50-60 per person plus drinks
Location: 342 Darling St, Balmain
Mon - Wed 5pm to 10pm
Thu 5pm to 12pm
Fri, Sat 5pm to 12pm
Sun 12pm to 10pm
Weekend Food Escapes was given a voucher to dine at The Cottage Bar and Kitchen. All photos, opinions and words are my own.