Thursday, October 4, 2012

What's on Crown? Watts on Crown!

Voucher deals seem to have lost their sheen within a relatively short period of time. While I've had a few regretful purchases, on the whole they've been good for this consumer.

A little while back a voucher brought me to Watts on Crown in Surry Hills; a newcomer to the busy, ever-changing strip, boasting an ex Rockpool chef in a cosy neighbourhood bistro setting.

Sparkling wine at Watts on Crown, Crown Street, Surry Hills
Seated at a slightly awkward table in the front window, it was sparkling to start the three course meal as part of the deal.

In addition to some voucher guests, it was encouraging to see constant bunches of locals walk by, peer at the menu on the door and walk in, with more room and tables upstairs in the restaurant of refreshingly low-key fitout.

Grilled quail with chorizo, braised peppers and crisp basil
With plenty to tempt on the succinct menu, the quail entree took my fancy. Colourful with braised capsicums and crisp fried basil leaves, the small bird was well cooked though as always, required a bit of finger work to eat.

The slices of quality grilled chorizo added saltiness and substance to the small plate.

Chicken liver parfait with red onion marmalade and toast
The generous serve of chicken liver parfait, topped with a deep red jelly, arrived on a wooden board with cornichons, bread and marmalade, completely dwarfing the quail.

The gorgeous Sonoma white sourdough, toasted, made the perfect raft for the thick, pink and creamy parfait, of which there was plenty for extra bread even.

I didn't love the marmalade, which was fine as cornichons are my accompaniment of choice with livery parfaits.

Pan fried gurnard with bouillabaisse sauce
For mains I chose a seafood extravaganza in the pan fried gurnard fillet with bouillabaisse. The fish was perfection in its crisp skin, propped up by cubes of potatoes.

The mussels and small, head-on prawns were also well cooked in the tasty bouillabaisse sauce, with more bread on hand to mop up the juices.

Grilled rump steak with Cafe de Paris butter and watercress
The rump steak was an easy pick for the protein-hungry, and it was classic bistro fare served with the complex Cafe de Paris butter melting all over, a watercress salad and fat chips on the side.

Perfectly medium-rare, the thick piece of meat was mostly tender and completely indulgent with the buttery sauce.

Chips and caramelised Brussels sprouts
The fat chips were great - utterly fluffy within but crunchy on the outside - but I was smitten with the whole Brussels sprouts, flecked with almonds flakes sticking to their sweet, caramelised and grilled surfaces.

Mandarin creme brulee
There almost wasn't room for dessert, but as part of the deal, I persevered. The creme brûlée was a complete delight, served with a piece of shortbread.

Cracking through the toffee roof, the just-sweet-enough custard featured whole, fresh segments of mandarin - the citrus zing refreshing and unusual all at once.

Chocolate fondant with vanilia bean ice cream
The chocolate option was hard to beat though, with a well formed fondant outer revealing a gooey, hot river of chocolate lava which was completely decadent with the vanilla ice cream and nut brittle.

Completely stuffed, the rest of the room and upstairs were still going strong, with the open kitchen looking quite peacefully organised. Who would have thought Crown Street needed a classic bistro, but judging by the weeknight crowd and easy, pleasant menu, Watts on Crown seems to be just what the strip needed.

Watts on Crown on Urbanspoon


john@heneedsfood said...

I'm not sure how I managed to miss this voucher! I had dinner there the other weekend and as much as I loved the food, the noise upstairs was unbearable.

chocolatesuze said...

mmm that creme brulee looks perfect!

Missy Piggy said...

This has to be one of the BEST voucher deals I've bought in a long time. Food was great...we were very happy customers!

gaby @ lateraleating said...

Lucky you, I've had several voucher disappointments. Everything looks fantastic, voucher or not.

Richard Elliot said...

Pleased to hear Crown Street's ever changing restaurant scene has a good new addition, even if I won't be able to visit!

Sad to see you were still on duty with your Blackberry on the table even during dinner :(

Buggles & Squeak said...

Just got home from Watts On Crown - utilising the same deal! I was very impressed - especially with my main of fillet steak. The duck was missing its soft polenta though - which was a shame. The chocolate fondant was excellent! We'll be back.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

We really, really enjoyed our meal here. They're such a welcome addition to Crown Street!

Miss K @ The Food Diary said...

Surry Hills is really turning out to be an awesome place for good food :)

Christina @ The Hungry Australian said...

I'm impressed that you manage to try so many vouchers and that so many seem to be really worth it. I've actually never tried one but think it's about time I gave it a go.
btw 'chocolate lava'? - oh yes please!!

cquek said...

How sweet! They do look very fancy indeed

Tina said...

Hi John - Oh, I didn't notice that upstairs... But it's all hard furnishings, isn't it? :/

Hi suze - It was about as perfect as they come :)

Hi MissPiggy - It was one of the better ones, but I do hope it doesn't signal troubling times to come...

Hi gaby - That's a shame. The few disappointments have turned me off them a little.

Hi Richard - You migh not recognise Crown Street when you come back! (not my bb though)

Hi Buggles & Squeak - Oh yes, the fondant was pretty darned awesome. Plenty on the mains menu I wanted to try out.

Hi Lorraine - Absolutely! All this time Surry Hills needed a classic bistro..!

Hi Miss K - And drinks, but then, hasnt it always been...?

Hi Christina - Yeah, they were great in the beginning but then the bad deals started to creep in and now sometimes they're not worth a look... But there is gold to be found..!

Hi cquek - Not overly so


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