But post my dinner visit recently, I’ve been wondering: where has bloodwood been all my life? And indeed, where have I been when I should have been in their mezzanine dining room all this time?
|bloodwood, King Street, Newtown|
|Polenta chips, gorgonzola sauce|
The polenta chips are perfect bricks of yellow-gold ground cornmeal seasoned with salt flakes. Impossibly crisp on the outside and soft, piping hot and creamily textured on the inside, the chunky polenta chips were the perfect instruments to devour the pot of gorgonzola sauce, wiping it clean and even getting a top-up.
|Pork pintxo, lima beans, guindillas|
Nothing smells quite as good as charred meat on a stick, and this was certainly a highlight of the meal. Topped with a sensational tart green sauce and a bunch of the not-spicy guindilla chilliess, the tender pork was lean and full of flavour; the bean puree adding a necessary carbohydrate base.
|Spanner crab, green asparagus, brown butter, bread crumbs, parsley|
We also had an overflowing bowl that was the leaf salad - definitely the biggest I’ve seen on a restaurant table, although admittedly it wasn't really a side dish. But with thin, salty shards of crisp bresaola, this salad was bliss, helped by the fact that none of the leaves – red witlof included – had any bitterness about them.
|Coorong angus beef brisket, spatzle, cauliflower, beans|
The brisket must have been braised for many an hour, possibly in dark soy sauce, to achieve the tenderness that allowed it, and all its muscle and connective tissue, to be pulled apart with forks alone.
The crisp surfaced bits of spatzle, pan fried with cauliflower florets and green beans, were a tad on the oily side given the already rich, fat-melded beef brisket, making it a slight struggle to finish.
|bloodwood trifle – fresh berries, pound cake, port wine jelly, |
vanilla anglaise, yoghurt mascarpone
The current iteration of the perennial dessert featured fresh berries, including stunning blueberries, combined with a fragrant vanilla anglaise. The pound cake acted as a sponge to all the dairy goodness around it, while I could have easily gone a bowl of port wine jelly on its own.
Paired with the oaky, candied pineapple tones of the 2007 Grande Maison Cuvee de Angus, it wasn’t an overly sweet finish to the meal, at which point both the dining area and front bar were packed full with a broad range of punters. And with very good reason too – the food and wine are interesting yet approachable, mashing new and familiar with touches of both high-end and casual.
While the fine dining pedigree of the three bloodwood chefs/owners is well known, it was also a lovely surprise to find the professionalism and high standards also flows through to the service. Despite the casual-cool atmosphere, the top-notch service really elevated my experience of bloodwood to something special. I know where the bloody hell I want to eat more often.