District Dining had long been on my Sydney dining hit list, but circumstances conspired to keep me away until last weekend, when a reservation was secured and the much discussed crispy pigs’ ears finally emerged over the horizon.
So, was it worth the wait? The crispy pigs’ ears were salty, perfect pork scratchings – less a match for my chosen rhubarb bellini than a good pint of beer, but a great start nonetheless. It was the starters that really stood out: courgette flowers with ricotta were sweet, crisp and perfectly balanced, and a special of smoked eel and tempura cauliflower with ribbons of cucumber was a great choice.
A sharp steak tartare came with hot chips and toast; so tempting that the first thought of taking a photograph was long after the perfect quenelle had been attacked. Spiced, braised lamb shoulder fell to pieces and served with tzatziki.
The restaurant feels deceptively large, and whilst there’s more than a hint of dude-food about the menu, the flavours are fresh and it’s even suggested that the dishes don’t have to be shared. The food certainly ticked all the boxes and the value for money is decent for this part of town, with starters around $20 and mains around $30. I look forward to another chance to escape up the Mondrian-inspired stairs to try the desserts.
17 Randle Street, Surry Hills
Tuesday to Saturday, Lunch and Dinner