This past Friday was one that found me there and on my journey back I noticed that the gorgeous little restaurant nearby that has been under construction for the past few months was now complete and open to the public, with a curious name - The Old Crow.
A quick google search when I was back at the office brought up the new establishment's menu and after a drool inducing read, I knew that I was very much wanting to go there. And as luck would have it, Jeremy and I were planning on having a date night the following night and in need of a new place to eat at before going to the movies after.
Jeremy and I arrive there at around 6.30pm after parking nearby on Money Street. We're met immediately by a friendly waiter who advises us that the inside tables are booked out but the outside ones are available. Since it's not too cold a night, we're happy with this and take a seat on the veranda like setting.
The tables here are beautifully simple, the chairs the same heavy wood. I like the simplicity and the use of fairy lights which creates a twinkling night time kind of magical feel. Thought the busy street is only metres away, I feel like we're transported to another place. With the jazzy soul grooves pumping away, I start to feel very at home while we relax with our automatically provided water and the menus. Let me say straight away, the service here on this night was impeccable. Friendly, attentive and endearing. Just the right balance of eclectic personalities and hipster vibe.
French quarter martini
We start off the night with a drink each. I choose from the cocktail menu, opting for the French Quarter Martini ($16) since the traditional french martini is one of my favourite cocktails. This one is made up of absolut vodka, chambord, pineapple juice and passionfruit juice, shaken and strained into a chilled martini glass.
It is absolutely delicious. Cold, silky and sweet. The alcohol is well balanced and the aftertaste is one full of that added passionfruit element. I love the little foam buildup on top which creates a light etherealness to the beverage.
Jeremy opts for a 500ml Bulmers ginger cider ($10) which comes out with an accompanying tall glass of ice to enjoy the drink with. It's such a small thing, but I really do appreciate that added offering. As a big fan of ginger beverages, I can see he's pleased with his choice.
While waiting on our drinks, we scan the food menu noting that there are some fantastic things on offer to choose from. The menu is broken up into five sections - snacks, shares, mains, sides and sweets. We decide to share a couple dishes to start off with and then grab a dish each for our mains. That way we'd get a decent sample of the menu to try.
Duck parfait, pear, brioche
For my choice in our starting items, I predictably choose the Duck Parfait, Pear, Brioche ($14.50) option. As a self proclaimed parfait addict, I couldn't not go for this! It comes out and looks impressive. Two buttery golden slices of brioche sit next to the big slab of parfait and a side salad of oozy pear puree, pear cubes, red onion and radish.
I love brioche. If you haven't tried it, I suggest you get to it asap because for me, this is the only bread that really counts. It's a French bread, light and slightly crumbly due to its very high butter and egg content. It's decadent and works as the perfect vessel for the equally sinful duck parfait.
As we smear big chunks of it onto the brioche, I notice straight away that it doesn't have the light airy quality of Cantina 663's (which is the bar in my opinion). But when I take a bite, I have to admit I am really blown away! The flavour is wonderfully creamy, the consistency like liquid silk. In Jeremy's opinion, he's calling it as the best he's had.
I have to say, the addition of the pear is really smart. It creates this whole sweet savoury balance with some added texture and enhanced flavour combinations. This is worth returning for alone.
Jeremy chooses the Fried Shrimp With Aioli ($10) for his contribution to our shared starters. They must be a new addition to the new menu because I hadn't seen them on the website, but boy am I glad they had them available!
Initially I'd worried how much we'd get for the price seeing as they charge oysters at $4.50 each (which for me is a bit too steep) but thankfully the servings here are very decent! The shrimp are fried whole and are deliciously crunchy. They're seasoned well and work perfectly with the accompanying aioli which is creamy and flavoursome. I could happily see myself sitting out here in their front yard like dining area in summer, with the sun beating down and a plate of these to devour. Yum!
Bread and butter
The bread is soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside; the fennel butter soft and creamy. I'm not a big fan of aniseed flavouring so I don't have too much but Jeremy gobbles it up.
Once we've finished with our starters our plates are cleared away and new cutlery brought to the table while the status of our drinks is checked on. About 20 minutes later (the right amount of time in my opinion) our mains come out to the table.
Jeremy's ordered the BBQ Beef Flank with Green Onion Puree & Roast Mushrooms ($35). As the most expensive item on the menu, I have to admit I'm expecting big things from this - and I'm happy to say it doesn't disappoint.
The beef flank is so tender it melts in my mouth, the green onion puree sweet and punchy in flavour. There's a great selection of different mushrooms, including button and king brown. They're all cooked lightly, just long enough to keep a toothsome texture that adds to the depth of the accompanying sauce's flavour. The whole dish works so well together and is something that looks really simply but tastes so complicated and wonderful.
For my main, I choose an item off the shares list instead of the actual mains. I'm not so sure I can handle a big serving of meat so I go for the Charred Cuttlefish with Chipotle and Creme Fraiche ($14.50).
It's just the right size serving for me, with three large cuts of cuttlefish atop of a scattering of chick peas and sauce. The lemon wedge on the side has also been char grilled which gives the whole dish a nice level of smokiness.
The cuttlefish is cooked perfectly. It has the right level of bite as I dig in, the texture smooth but snappy (if that makes sense!). I really like the creme fraiche blobs in the sauce, they give it some light creaminess and change the flavour profile with each mouthful.
Fried apple pies
Though we're both well on our way to being full, we decide to go all out and order dessert too. After all, its date night and that's a given thing to do!
There's three dessert options available - a pudding, a pie and a trifle. We decide on the first two, with Jeremy settling immediately on the Fried Apple Pies with Buttermilk Caramel & Nutmeg Ice-cream ($14).
It comes out and looks incredible! Very modern interpretation of a homely recipe. Two cigars of fried pastry stuffed with cinnamon and apple. They've been rolled in a mixture of castor sugar and spices, and sit atop a slick of sweet caramel with raisins and some microherbs. The texture is great - a nice combination of soft apple, crunchy pastry and creamy flavoursome ice-cream. There's julienned strips of fresh Granny Smith apples which give some sour freshness and balance out the elements. It's a really smart and tasty dish.
Chocolate & peanut pudding
I go for a much more rich and naughty option - the Chocolate & Peanut Pudding with Three Milk Ice-cream ($14). The pudding is like one I've made at home with a Donna Hay recipe, but I don't mind because it's done so well. The top of the pudding is crisp and a little crunchy, the inside fantastically gooey.
The ice-cream sits atop of a peanut crumb mixture which gives it added texture and flavour. I love peanut butter on anything so I'm extremely chuffed as I chomp away - loving the hidden peanut butter filling sitting in the middle of the pudding. The picture says it all...
Chocolate & peanut pudding
At the end of our meal, Jeremy and I can barely move - we're both so full and so satisfied! It's early days (I think it's only been open a week or so) but I'm hoping that the quality of food and service we experienced that night will continue. I can see myself definitely returning - hopefully to try the lunch menu which offers a variety of different menu items than dinner.