I had been looking forward to vising this highly-rated eatery for quite some time. Located in the uber-trendy Surry Hills, which I have gathered is something like the Sydney equivalent of Fitzroy, I expected it to be right up my alley.
The menu was sort of modern-Australian, posh pub food. The decor is quite quirky, with all sorts of vintage furniture and retro wallpaper.
Lobster croquettes ($18)
The croquettes were served with shaved fennel and horseradish mayo. They were quite tasty even though they seemed to contain quite a lot of dill and minimal lobster. Lucky I’m a fan of dill! The mayo had barely any horseradish flavour at all which was unfortunate. The shaved fennel on the side was a nice accompaniment to the croquettes though.
Fish finger burger ($23)
I decided on the fish finger burger after I saw someone else get it at another table. I was a bit disappointed to discover that it looked a hell of a lot better than it tasted. It apparently came with sauce gribiche, fennel slaw, chilli and mayo. The chilli mayo was served in a dish next to the chips so I assumed that it was for dipping, although now that I think about it I probably should have put it on the burger to give it some flavour. The sauce gribiche, which normally consists of eggs, mustard, capers and pickle, was just kind of like bland mayonnaise. The fish was slightly dry and was really crying out for a nice acidic tartare. The sweet brioche bun was lovely and would have been perfect for a beef burger, however I’m not sure that it was the best match for the fish.
800 gram sirloin on the bone ($60)
My dining partner ordered the 800g sirloin on the bone which was served pink with bérnaise and fries. It was nice and juicy but it could have been more tender and was slightly lacking in flavour. I also wasn’t really fan of the sticky-sweet balsamic-type glaze that the meat was swimming in.
Citrus tart, $13
Now this was a serious let down. The whole thing tasted over-processed and factory made. The pastry was soggy and tasteless. The filling also had no hint of citrus flavour whatsoever. If I hadn’t been told it was supposed to be citrus I wouldn’t have guessed. It had a very dense, excess-flour sort of texture. Not exactly the best mouth feel. It was really stodgy, bland and downright depressing. The miserly dribble of bottled strawberry sauce didn’t do much for me either. Surely they could have popped down to Bourke Street and gotten some real pastries?
Crème brûlée ($13)
The vanilla bean crème brûlée was served with an almond biscuit and some peach compote. The portion size was good and the custard was smooth and creamy. However, the toffee crust was unevenly done with some parts undercooked and some burnt.
There’s no denying that the Winery has a great vibe. The funky decor, great music choice, attractive outdoor dining area and friendly service staff combine to give the place a fantastic atmosphere. Heck, I lost count of the number times I counted the word ‘atmosphere’ used in the diner reviews on the Winery’s Urbanspoon page.
However, this is not an ‘atmosphere’ blog nor is it a bar blog. As much I enjoyed the experience of being at the Winery, and as much as I would love a chilled-out summer Sunday sesh in that wonderful garden, I have to say that the food is just not up to scratch. Especially at those prices. I guess this is another one of those eat-somewhere-else-first-and-then-come-here-for-a-drink places. But definitely do come here for a drink.The Winery 285A Crown Street Surry Hills, NSW