Monday, April 30, 2012

Light grazing at Graze

I get hit by voucher fatigue every couple of months, and then go back into a buying spree. One of my more recent voucher purchases was Graze's Summer Feast Menu offer although by the time I booked into the small Pyrmont restaurant, summer had moved on.

With a menu of "grazing style dishes", it probably wasn't the best idea to position the voucher offer as a meal of three entrées and two mains as the dishes are not remotely main sized. A bottle of Borgo Bello Montepulciano from Abuzzo, Italy accompanied the varied meal as wine included in the deal.

Torched ocean trout, ginger salt, orange and ginger from Graze, Harris Street, Pyrmont
There was lots to choose from on the summer grazing menu, with the torched ocean trout catching my attention immediately.

The four bright orange strips of fish, burnished black, were quite a nice match with the sweet, torched orange segments with shiso leaves adding a subtle bitterness. The ginger salt was so subtle I didn't notice it while I thought the orange and ginger gel was more for aesthetics than function.

Butternut pumpkin gnocchi, caramelised chestnuts, basil, mushroom puree
The fall-apart soft slices of butternut pumpkin gnocchi more resembled grilled Roman style gnocchi, arriving with the ocean trout and setting the theme for presentation for the rest of the night (the small white rectangular plates are used for all dishes).

Mushrooms aren't the prettiest ingredient for a puree but this dish had some nice flavours with the basil and crunchy chestnuts. The rather autumnal ingredients, however, didn't neccessarily work together to create anything mind-blowing.

Truffled duck egg on toast, parmesan, grilled asparagus
The smell of our final entree arrived before it did; a pretty array of grilled asparagus spears over a sunny-side-up duck egg with plenty of truffle oil. There were a few pieces of very crisp bread beneath the arrangement, for dipping into the runny egg yolk, in a dish that was as classic as it was breakfast-appropriate.

Seared sardine, chilli and garlic olive oil, parsley, lemon
I'm not sure how four sardines and some foam constitutes a main meal, but here they were, pan fried to edible-bone state with a flavoursome coating of red chilli, garlic and parsley. The two shot glasses were filled with a part sauce, part dip gazpacho soup foam that was interesting at the very least.

Confit chicken wings, carrot,  mushroom and watercress
The saviour of the meal was undoubtedly the chicken wing dish – who would have thought at a restaurant aiming for an upmarket neighbourhood experience? These five mid-wings (with bones artfully removed) were intensely hot in temperature and featured golden, crispy skin all over.

The vivid carrot puree worked a treat with the chicken wings and whole shitake mushrooms, while it would have been nice to see the watercress with a role in the dish beyond garnish.

Espresso brulee, poached rhubarb
It was a laughing matter when the two desserts arrived at the table: the brulee set in an espresso cup and the Eton Mess about four times its size.

But showing that it's not size that matters, the espresso brulee was seriously smooth and rich, with a sweetly lingering hit of coffee. The poached rhubarb presented on the teaspoon was a pleasant wintery addition.

Fig Eton Mess, salted caramel jelly
There was a lot going on with the Eton Mess and not quite enough meringue, sadly as that's my favourite part. The thin meringue wings on top were about it, with plenty of cream, stewed figs and an intriguing jelly of salted caramel flavour that was definitely a great standalone component.

The service was well-intentioned and efficient with our wine glasses constantly (over)filled throughout the night in the comfortable restaurant setting. Lucky for the Pyrmont locals, the Graze menu affords great flexibility for neighbourhood diners who can have a light graze and then move on with the herds.

Graze on Urbanspoon


john@heneedsfood said...

I really enjoyed my voucher meal and it looks like the same formula was used in yours. I'm not sure why the term "main" is used when the portion sizes are comparable to the starters. Let's just call them "tasting plates" shall we?
Still, at the price of the voucher it was a bargain.

Jasmin @Opining, Whining & Dining said...

Hmmm. Does just seem like tasting plates to me, which I always assumed was on offer due to the name?
Perhaps it was done to sell more vouchers?

The chicken wings do look good.

joey@FoodiePop said...

I like the value of this place, and the food is interesting in a good way.

gaby @ lateraleating said...

Food looks great. I love the concept of grazing.

MissPiggy said...

I bought this voucher too and had a great meal. I agree the "mains" were quite small, but still delicious.

tania@mykitchenstories said...

Great honest review. I have seen a few on this place , I think its time to go

sugarpuffi said...

wow how good does that ocean trout look! shame the main meals are just a tad bigger than entree size and why would there only be a thin layer of meringue in an eton mess?!

Vivian - vxdollface said...

Sort of glad I didn't purchase the voucher! It does seem a little small in serving sizes cause they seem more like tapas to me. Might check out the actual menu though, hope the mains on that aren't so small!

SarahKate (Mi Casa-Su Casa) said...

Haha! I'm glad it wasn't just me who thought that the mushroom puree didn't look super gorgeous! That trout on the other hand... yum!

Loveforfood said...

i am so thrilled by your photos! gorgeous!

Anonymous said...

That close up shots are making me to grab food from the drool worthy

hannah said...

Yum, this looks totally delish! I have to admit we've bought a few vouchers now where the word 'meal' wasn't really fair. We always end up spending more which on one hand is fine but on the other hand kind of defeats the purpose of trying to limit spending by using the voucher.

Food is our religion said...

the sardines look quite tiny as a main meal but they do look quite interesting!

Tina said...

Hi John - Tasting/grazing plates - agreed.

Hi Jasmin - I'd return for those chicken wings, for sure!

Hi joey - They're trying something very different in a neighbourhood area, so good on them.

Hi gaby - Me too, though not when it's not expected... if that makes sense.

Hi MissPiggy - So many vouchers, so little time!

Hi tania - Thanks!

Hi sugarpuffi - I asked myself the same meringue-lacking question... :/

Hi Vivian - I think this was the normal menu serving size. They're all positioned as "grazing plates" - no entrees or mains as such.

Hi SarahKate - Brown puree... hmmm...

Hi Loveforfood - Thanks so much!

Hi machisan - Plenty more where that came from!

Hi hannah - Yeah, it is the point but a few poor experiences is why I've hit voucher fatugue. It's all about manaing expectations...

Hi Food is our religion - Not one of my favourite fish generally, but these were done quite well.


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