What’s in a name? – Gastro Park
Restaurant: Gastro Park
Location: 5-9 Roslyn St Potts Point NSW 2011
Chef: Grant King
Hats: 2 Hats (2015)
We arrive in our car to what, previously, was a seedier area of Sydney. Gastro Park – the driver knows the place. We are met at the door as expected in a hatted restaurants. Its a brisk evening. Mookie checks into FB as is her habit and the jokes start online about the name – an unfortunate coincidence. Perhaps G Park or the full Gastronomy Park would welcome less sensation?
The space feels a little cold, the decor a little worn. The restaurant is triangular with glass on its two longest sides. We are seated at the point which whilst private also feels isolated sitting raised above the outlook. The waiter informs us that we may choose from 1 of 3 versions of tasting menu. Naturally we choose the 10 course version. Mookie requests the wine match. Pookie has pre-chosen a half bottle of Chablis – Denis Pommier Beauroy Premier Cru 2010, but will share a sip of each match. The snacks arrive with the Chardonnay soon following. A different waiter appears to clear our snacks, not realising that we have yet to start them. A combination of inexperience and the snack hiding in its setting.
There is a lot to be said for note taking. The wine match had not yet been forthcoming as the 2nd dish arrives, a query prompts the waiter to race off and correct the absence. The first snack has a lovely touch of romesco sauce that was lingering on the palette. The sashimi of blue eye cod works well with the Chablis. The grissini wrapped in beef carpaccio and sprinkled with Pecorino looks gruesome, but tastes pleasant.
Foie gras arrives but it must be straight from cool storage. It’s too cold to properly appreciate the flavour, the lingerings of which do, however, work quite well with the Vouvray to which it is matched. Next arrives scampi – sweet and with lemony sorrel it has a fresh zing that matchs well to a dry Pinot Gris from Alsace. The restaurant is starting to fill. Isolation is gone, now most other patrons are faced toward us. The ambiance of the restaurant has improved with the influx of people and the noise and heat that they create. A welcome vibe sets in.
Liquid butternut “gnocchi” arrives. The highlight dish of the meal Mookie agrees. The mushroom consume is delicious on a cold night and the bursting sweetness as the liquid butternut washes through the palette is an exquisite sensation. The Madeira match is stark in contrast, it does however clear the palette. Perhaps it should be enjoyed following the dish rather than with?
Crispy scaled Barramundi arrives, a lovely dish but served with Gamay? This Domaine des Bonnetieres would have better suited charcuterie or terrine surely. Setting the wine aside allows the focus to be on the sweetness of the fish, but why is there squid ink in this dish? Pork belly with crab and carrot arrives. Crab and pork work very well together. The Pinot Noir is good, though humbly I would suggest it might have been better suited to the Barramundi and the Gamay to the pork, crab and carrot.
Beef short rib, caramelised soy, mustard and grey ghost. Lovely flavour combination though the beef is a little dry. The sauce is wonderfully powerful. The Burton Shiraz holds it own though. A lovely example of Australian Shiraz with its big presence countering that of the dish.
The pan fried goats cheese is wonderfully decadent with truffle honey leaving a teasing sensation whispering across the taste-buds.
Welcome the desserts, and they do not disappoint. Frozen yuzu, buttermilk is lovely. The muscat match also winning a sigh of satisfaction. Then arrives The Sphere – chocolate, honeycomb and vanilla. Lovely and serving as another highlight.
Overall the food reigns supreme in this restaurant. The space is difficult, the service could improve with more staff training before they hit the floor. Pookie would question some of the wine match – specifically some of the reds but we were hit to eat good food, and that mission was accomplished.