Thursday, July 26, 2012

quicko: jamie oliver's restaurant in sydney

It was my friend Anne's birthday the other day so a group of us went out for dinner at Jamie Oliver's restaurant in Sydney.  Not being interested in cooking anything more complex than taco salad (surely I've tortured you with pictures before ...) -- and only then under very extreme conditions of hospitality -- I really would never have stumbled across the restaurant without someone else propelling me into it.

Quite literally, really.  I've actually had several meetings directly next door to it, and I had never once registered that it existed until I looked up the address, discovered it was less than two doors down from where I'd just been, and thought, "gee, well, that's crazy, it must be really hidden."

It's not.  It's got big, glass walls at the entrance.  You just don't tend to see it unless you're looking for it, it appears.  I've actually been having a bit of trouble with glass in general lately, but if GarryWith2Rs doesn't tell you about it, you're certainly not getting it out of me.

So anyway, there I was, the queen of cereal and all things requiring less than no time to prepare (apples, chocolate ... occasionally cups of milk when I really splash out), at Jamie Oliver's restaurant, trying to act as if I had a clue what half the words on the menu were.

Generally vocabulary is my strong suit, but not, it appears, in fine dining.  I hedged my bets that half the rest of the table also had no idea and took the dignity blow of being the person to ask Anne what every single item I thought I was remotely interested in meant.  Which was really very handy because it turns out that one of the major ingredients in one of the salads I was strongly considering was really just a fancy name for cheese (probably some fancy kind of cheese, but still cheese).

Perhaps I haven't mentioned that I loathe cheese?  I loathe cheese.  Yep, pretty much all of it.  My two classic caveats have always been pizza (come on, I'm not a freak) and quiche, though I've recently had to add an addendum that if there is enough sugar to mask the cheese, I'm generally okay with it too.  Like in cheesecake.  But gosh, there's got to be a lot of sugar.  Oh, and it also seems that I've been happily eating it on burritos at Guzman and Gomez for quite some time as well, having completely mistaken it for ... a new kind of lettuce? ... for long enough to let it slide by.  I must be slipping.

Regardless, I loathe cheese and I certainly did not want a repeat of the unfortunate haloumi episode wherein I had very courageously ordered a dish of haloumi only to be shocked and distraught when what I was sure was fish turned out to be very definitely not fish at all.

Eventually, I decided to go with the silver dory, mostly because the waiter had referred to it as the "fish special," which led me to believe strongly that it was indeed fish and not cheese.

Happily, this time I was right and the silver dory was delicious.  I wouldn't go so far as to say my appetite was whetted by the end of it (and the salad.  I'm not really sure what it was -- and I highly suspect I dislike the sauce it was in on principle of it being entirely too close to "white and gunky" for my taste -- I also loathe anything "white and gunky" that isn't full of sugar -- but it was surprisingly okay and I ate it happily, though not as happily as the fish), but for a slightly fancier than usual restaurant, I figured I'd done okay.  (Why, oh why is it that the more you pay, the less they give you?  I shall never understand this conundrum.  Yet another reason I am an infrequent frequenter of fine dining.)

Again happily, though, this newfound hole in the "fullness" category left plenty of room for dessert.  (Ah.  That's the answer.  Marketing.  Vicious, vicious marketing, trying to take my money.  I should have just gone to Max Brenner afterwards and gotten twice as much.  Next time.)  They had one of those la-dee-dah ideas of giving you three flavors of ice cream you'd never normally think to put together (chili chocolate, hazelnut (not so bad, yet, I know, but wait) and lemon) and then sprinkling the resulting conglomeration with butterscotch topping and honeycomb (it's some candy thing here).  It was actually really good, if, again, not entirely filling.

All in all, it was a lovely evening (or night, rather.  Considering that bookings were unavailable before quarter to nine, it was a quarter to very late night for a Tuesday by the time I made it home.) and I hear the restrooms there are really quite exquisite as well.  Which would be very handy to know if I thought they'd be inclined to let me waltz in off the street to use them, but somehow I doubt it.

Anyway, that's the long and short of it.  A lovely evening at a lovely restaurant with lovely friends.  If only I hadn't eaten Nemo's friend.


Laetitia :-) said...

Hahaha - pizza without cheese is the norm for us since vegan cheese is too expensive for pizzas. We were in Bern, Switzerland once and stopped for lunch at a place where I ordered the vegetarian pizza with no cheese. The waitress looked at me with a shocked expression and said, "Pizza with no cheese! Have you ever eaten a pizza with no cheese!" I was wondering if she really believed that, as an obvious tourist, I would suddenly decide to try cheeseless pizza for the first time while in a different country. Funnily enough, the Italian pizza maker we found on the German / Austrian border didn't bat an eyelid when we asked for pizza with no cheese.

As for honeycomb, please tell me you've been introduced to Violet Crumble. I may no longer be able to eat it myself (dairy chocolate and all that) but I remember enjoying it. (Now I occasionally find honeycomb made without gelatine at the markets.)

And don't you just love the ginormous plates places like that love to serve tiny portions on. (It must be worth half my weekly wage - I got to starve while my imagination drooled over how much food would fit on the plate!) I reckon that's where the money goes - paying for someone to wash those plates!

Crazyjedidiah said...

But Dory in Nemo is not a Dory but a Blue Tang.