Something New, Something Different – Annata Review
Location: 69 Willoughby Road, Crows Nest NSW 2065
Chef: Jimmy Richardson
Mookie was recommended to this wine bar come restaurant when dining at another fine north shore establishment. Its not often that one restaurant recommends another so the Foodie Mookie crew felt the urgent need to check it out. We weren’t disappointed. Annata is different from the crowd of dining places in Crows Nest and truly stands out because of its differences. Its great to see some talent from south of the bridge heading north to inject some mojo direct into the artery of the local dining scene.
Annata (meaning vintage in Italian) is the creation of Christian Blair, previously of bar tender fame at Eau de Vie Bar and Rockpool Bar & Grill. His experience shows in the inventive and seasonal cocktail list on offer. His connections show in the excellent wine list selected by Richard Healy, sommelier for Rockpool Bar & Grill. Christian’s initial intention was to open a small bar but the zoning required that the focus of the venue be food. Enter Jimmy Richardson (ex Bridge Room & Cafe Paci) whose deft touch and passion for great seasonal produce shines through in the menu. The trio makes for a winning combination when it comes to whats on the menu at Annata.
The drinks menu has a formidable selection of wines by the glass in keeping with the restaurant originating in concept as a bar. The list has an excellent selection from both new and old world even for those sold by the glass which is uncommon. We select a bottle of Chardonnay (Mersault) and also a cocktail for Mookie. The Mersault was superb, a great combination of freshness, flintiness and citrus. We select many items from both small and large sharing plates. The stand out items are the Sydney Rock Oysters, Pickled Black Fungus which were fresh and the fungus adds a little vinegar to the sweetness of the oyster. Other stand out were the Scallops, Hazelnuts, Button Mushrooms, Chamomile, Guanciale and the Heirloom Carrots, Duck Ham, Broccoli, Salted Yolk, Lemon Butter. Jimmy has a real flair for keeping you guessing, with many old favorites served assembled in a completely different manner from the norm – cue the Zuchini Flowers and the Flathead.
Overall Annata was a pleasing revelation hidden away in plain sight on the main strip in Crows Nest. The food is being served in new and exciting ways and the wine list is lengthy but with excellent range of choice selection. The Foodie Mookie crew enjoyed the meal, and also the recommendation on wines from the staff. There is room for improvement in the service consistency. Whilst all the staff were friendly (and we did meet nearly all the floor staff), that in itself presented a small issue. Who did we need to follow up when multiple staff were taking our orders and one of them hadn’t arrived. We felt this combined with dishes being served one (for sharing) encumbered the delivery of service. Order all of the dishes and you will be in for a very long meal. Having said this we tremendously enjoyed our time and the positive and friendly attitude of the staff goes a long way.