Petit Fours: a Sydney food blog


Petit Fours: a Sydney food blog


Petit Fours: a Sydney food blog

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Tomislav, Darlinghurst

Tomislav has been on my radar for a long long time. Comparisons between Gastro Park (my favourite restaurant of 2012) make the wait almost unbearable and before we know it we're heading off down the good ol' Kings Cross. 

I'm going to go unorthodox and start off with just saying that Anne Marie the maitre D is an absolute darling. Given it was just us for lunch which felt a little odd in an empty restaurant but we felt very welcome and it would appear she would be able to handle a whole restaurant in her own right. It did feel a little tedious having to constantly signal her for attention rather than a more responsive service but her upbeat attitude and amicable demeanor more than made up for it.

They're located on the corner of Kirketon and William Street and they've got a balcony overlooking the rest of the action (infamous giant Coca Cola sign and possibly a fight scene or two included) where you can just soak in some of the gorgeous Spring sun that's starting to come out.

sea salt & vinegar
Let the fun begin. Their famed rice crackers arrive at our table to much ooohs and aaahs. 

Too much of a good thing can't be bad right? Unless you take into account how oily the crisps are but seriously who does. There's much fun to be had here as you're advise to spray on the vinegar from the bottle with the salt and vinegar which brings a taste of nostalgia to our afternoon.

Three cheese toasty gets us going with a toasted crisp and cheese marshmallow sandwiched in between. It gets everything right and whilst you can't discern the cheeses, it wasn't too sharp and the melting quality hits the right spot.  They should box the stuff and sell it. Come to think of it... cheese marshmallows... why hasn't anyone thought of that yet.

We're told that head chef and owner of this eponymous restaurant: Tomislav is in some sort of Nutella phase and much to our delight the bread and butter formula is jazzed up with a nitrogen frozen chocolate crumb which just melts beautifully. 

It seems like he's got a different combo every time and I would come back here weekly just to try what Tomislav has got in store. Can I?

apple ice - caramel ice cream
The first of our actual courses starts off with a sweet dish. Say whaaaat? 

As you gradually dig in and start figuring it out, the barbeque corn really gives it a subtle smokiness works really well more neutral savoury polenta but although the sweet caramel ice cream is intriguing, I'm not quite sure it feels right and soury cold apple granita just makes it ... well sweeter. 

salad burnette - mackerel mousse prawn crackers
A thin raw mackerel slice is punctuated with a punchy caper salsa and the apple granita's tart coldness oddly working to boost its freshness and lightens the whole dish up. 

Adorned with prawn crackers and mackerel mousse gets the umami tastes revved up and it just feels complete in its entirety. Every element is there both texturally and flavourwise and it's just utterly sublime.  

shitake- onion rings confit chicken wings
Strong contender for favourite dish here. Not just any old pea and ham soup. 

This one's got guts in the form of onion rings and shitake mushrooms to complement the sweet creaminess of the soup and there's a sort of pronounced fragrant lemony background that really lifts the dish to new heights. I would have been happy there but noooooo they go one step further and add a buttery confit chicken wing which ups the deliciousness factor by a billion.

sour potato - rainforest lime grilled Chinese cabbage
The other competing favourite dish today is the yellow fin tuna, poached so it cuts easily but retains its sashimi like quality. 

It's lean enough that it feels clean but was beautifully tender, and a simple slice cuts away the yielding meat, to be wrapped around the slightly charred chinese cabbage, potato foam and spritz of light rainforest lime zest.   

seaweed - broccoli cream Crystal bay prawns
Yay for beautifully cooked, soft and yielding scallops. Not yay for only one. This much seafood is crying out for some acid balance which there doesn't seem to be any of, specifically some lemon going on which would have made it perfect.

poached yolk - grilled mango foie gras crumbs
A made a joke that as if buttery sweetbreads as well as nitrogen frozen foie gras crumbs weren't enough, the richness is jacked with a quail yolk, naturally. 

On the note of the sweetbreads, it's an absolute revelation; full of gutsy powerful flavour and meltingly soft. Who knew offal could taste so good? I certainly didn't. This dish is a definite star with the piquant taste of charred spring onion cutting through it all although a touch more mango puree would get it going the right way.

frozen mustard - pickled radishes coconut pudding
Good protein continues with a ridiculously delicious, meat and fat layer alternating lamb neck. 

It's flanked by a ball of, you guessed it, nitrogen frozen mustard which gives you an exciting hot cold sensation initially but gets old quickly as soon as you figure that it sadly reduces the temperature of the warm dish. Coconut sago is a little odd and I'm not sure whether it's there for the sake of being eccentric but I can't exactly say it doesn't work either? I don't know...

mint crumbs - frozen yoghurt grilled pineapple
I'm going with the 'general' consensus here and say that the cheesecake dish is good, but in comparison to the rest of the savouries, not amazing. 

It's more or a less a refined version with the usual dense cheese base being foamed up until it's all beautifully light, topped with cubes of cheese jelly paired with a delicious 'froyo' with a crumbly biscuit base, grilled pineapple and mint dust. 

Nothing to go absolutely bonkers about but it's a nice sweet and really fun finish and that's high praise for a restaurant that doesn't even have its own pastry chef.

We finish the meal with some jellies which are true to their flavour and super soft. Not much of a sweet tooth here but it feels like another sweet course wouldn't go amiss here, perhaps a light pre-dessert. 

Contrasts are a where it's at here; sweet and savoury, hot and cold, textures, classical technique and progressive innovation but never does it ever get stagnant. That's not to say they always work however, sometimes the whimsicality and 'wow factor' comes at the slight cost of balance issues which sometimes isn't quite right. A lot of people wonder why spend so much money on food. I mean it all goes down the same hole right? Places like Tomislav are exactly the reason I do so. Where else can you get this much excitement and fun, this much consideration? It's almost unmatched anywhere else and definitely irreplicable at home. 

Tomislav has proven that molecular gastronomy isn't quite dead in the 21st century; anything here that can be foamed and crumbed and frozen is pretty much foamed, crumbed and frozen, so there's much to be learnt from this place. 

Saying the combinations are down right surprising and exciting would be an complete understatement. Tomislav has been to high places (Heston Blumenthal) and back and it appears that he's borrowed a bit of Heston wizardry with him. We're all the better for it. 

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I'm very fascinated by the chocolate crumb and butter for the bread! That's something I've never heard or seen of before! The rest of the courses look absolutely delightful as well :)

Am always impressed by all the posts I've read on tomislav. Such refinement and interesting flavours!

Love the rice crackers here. So much fun! The sweetbread sounds amazing too.

seaweed - broccoli cream Crystal bay prawns - love to try that.

Heard a lot of good things about this place, presentation of the dishes look amazing!

I loved Gastro Park. now Tomislav is calling out my name. Thanks for the review. Shall go check it out.

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No, we aren't the most amazing gastronomes or chefs. Heck, half our team doesn't even know how to cook... well. However, what we really love is eating. And lots of it. We enjoy that occasional freebie, filling up that craving for a midnight snack and finding a 20 in our pockets that we thought we never had, and using that as an excuse to go out eating. As we battle the ongoing war on uni student poverty, we'll bring you the most swoon worthy recounts of our latest foodie adventures.

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