Well, we did have some but country town restaurants.
Do you know what I have access to now?
Every little purple dot on that map is a restaurant/cafe/bar. Look at it, just look. And that is just in the city. There are so many places to go and so many things to try. I could eat out every night for the rest of my life and not get to all of them. I, of course, have a list of must go to restaurants. I have been to a couple of them already. I have been to a lot of other amazing places too. I think I should take you with me too.
Riley St Garage is on my must go list. I'm not sure how or when I first heard of it but I knew that it was absolutely necessary that I go there. I've been to a number of restaurants on my own and, while wonderful, it just isn't the same as when you are sharing it with someone else. I decided to leave going to Riley St Garage until I had someone to go with me.The opportunity arose this past Saturday.
Did you know that Saturday was International Beard Day? Did you know there was an International Beard Day? No, neither did I until a few weeks ago when Riley St Garage posted about it on their instagram with details of an event they were having. It really was some perfect timing. I had a well-groomed friend coming from Melbourne that weekend, a "degustation" menu was in place and, well, it was Riley St Garage. It was a no-brainer that we were going to go there.
Saturday arrived and it was a beautiful day. I will offer a little advice, don't wear new shoes and walk from Central Station to the restaurant. My feet did not appreciate it. If I hadn't been wearing new shoes it would have been an easy gentle walk from the city to the restaurant. Quite often when you look at the map the two points look a rather long distance apart but when you have google maps actually work out the route for you most things are within easy walking distance of public transport. This is no exception in relation to the train. Plus, if you want there is a bus stop pretty much right outside the door!
As per usual we were early, me more so. There is a little cafe next door. Now when I say little, I mean really little. We did consider going there but there was no room inside and secondly I didn't really want to eat or drink anything prior to our coming lunch. We wandered a little but my feet hurt so we sat on a bench and talked.
I know, I know, I can hear you all saying "we don't care about that. tell us about the food". LOL
We were very warmly welcomed, I would love to say by who but...I didn't get names, I also didn't take photos of the set up inside....I'll do better. Everyone was very friendly and jovial. We started at the bar. The stools at the bar were comfortable and sturdy but I had a lot of trouble getting up there. LOL Platform heels next time I guess. A well set out bar and a nice little range of cocktails. I had a sinnaman which was described as an apple pie in a glass (I didn't take a photo, sorry). It was, it really did taste just like an apple pie. My friend asked our bartender to surprise him, I'm not a very good reveiwer, I don't remember what he got now.... looking at the menu I think it was the Tommy's Twisted. He was very happy with the choice.
We moved onto the table and off we went to our table and into an amazing degustation menu.
The oysters came served in a champagne box full of ice. I'll be honest, I'm not usually a fan of oysters. Usually quite happy for others to have my share but I was intrigued by the combination of flavours and wasn't going to miss out. I was very pleased that I did. It would have been very easy for one of the flavours to dominate the dish with either the smoke or the truffle taking over but I found that it was wonderfully balanced and they complimented each other perfectly. It was a wonderful start to the meal.
The tacos were next out in a box filled with barley, another excellent presentation. I admit that I had not come across barley miso before. The crunch of the taco shells were perfect with the soft and buttery tuna. The miso was perfectly proportioned so that it coated but didn't smother the tuna nor soften the crunchy shells. The dabs of mayo on top completed the dish. I assume that the taco shells were some kind of rice paper. I really should have asked...
We were just finished with our tacos and the beef carpaccio was next to hit the table. I read the menu, we both read the menu, and I still ask my companion if it was parmesan, to which he agreed. It was not because the menu very clearly states salted ricotta....not a good foodie! LOL I'll also admit to another little d'oh moment with this dish in that there was some crunchy pieces in it and I asked "do you think this is fried garlic slices?" No that would be the horseradish. I've never had a carpaccio before. I've always been really hesitant of having raw beef but I did really enjoy it the beef was, like I said with the tuna, soft and buttery. I had always wondered how difficult it would be to eat it raw. I guess, like every other situation it depends on the cut and how you treat it to get the result you want. I wouldn't hesitate to try it again.
Can I just say how much I love burrata? I do, I really do. It looks like it's firm like mozzarella but it is oozy inside. This one was perfect a little resistance when first cutting into it, with a spoon, but then so soft, silky and oozy inside. The pickled onion was a perfect accompaniment with the cheese. It had a vinegary flavour but it was not over-powering. The pistachios added a lovely crunch to the dish.
I wasn't completely sure what to expect with the corn dogs. I do love a good chorizo and this was a really good one. I'd never had a lamb chorizo before and I didn't really notice the lamb flavour in it. My mum would have I'm sure. She could tell if the meat grinder hadn't been cleaned completely after mincing the lamb before the beef, she really didn't like lamb. The chorizo was perfectly seasoned, a nice bite to it but nothing over powering. The batter coating it was perfectly cooked and an excellent batter to meat proportion. The pickle and sauce completed it nicely.
The lamb shoulder, truffle mash and broccolini all hit our table. The lamb was just melting off the bone. A spoon was all that was needed to break it apart. It was saucy and juicy the labne and little crunch bits or garlic were delicious with it. The truffle mash was absolutely to die for. I really could have just sat there with the spoon and eaten the whole dish. The truffle flavour was strong but not too strong. The actual mash was so creamy. I love creamy mash and, I'll be honest, is one of the few reason I keep my thermomix. The broccolini was perfectly cooked. The smokey charred flavour came through beautifully. The three components of the main course fitted together so perfectly.
After devouring all of that food we were grateful that they offered a bit of a break before the dessert. It was nice to sit with the flavours for a while and not have them rushed off your palate with a burst of sugar. A glass of wine, Sauvignon Blanc for me and Pinot Noir for him, had also been consumed during lunch. We just stayed with water for the rest of the meal. The dessert made an appearance flaming away (I really should have done a video), and we waited for it to die down. there was a beautiful crack on top when we broke into it. It looked like it was going to be really sweet and really heavy but it really wasn't either of those. Yes, it was sweet but not overpowering. It wasn't a huge rush of sugar into my system. The brownie was dense but not so dense that it weighed down in my stomach. I will admit that we didn't finish it. I'd had the perfect amount of food and any more really would have been too much so the last bit went begging.
I thoroughly enjoyed my meal. Everyone was very friendly and the service was excellent. I can tick it off my go to list but will leave it on there as I'd really like to go to Riley St Garage again.