A casual yet chic dining venue can be added to Sydney’s list of fine dining restaurants.
I present to you, No.1 Bent Street.
From the mastermind behind Kitchen by Mike, which is sadly now closed, Chef Mike McEnearney has come out with a clever restaurant that is casual yet could be categorised as fine dining. When I think of fine dining I picture chandeliers, dim lighting, waiters in bow ties and me wearing an entirely new outfit from Kookai which I managed to buy on sale. Scrap that picture because that’s not what No.1 Bent Street is about.
The layout of this restaurant made me feel like I was dining in someone’s loft, rather than at a highly rated restaurant. There was an immediate sense of coziness and warmth that made me feel comfortable even if I wasn’t wearing my best dress.
Excited to check it out, I visited the restaurant with my sister, Ashleigh and her best friend, May. I’d like to sneak in that May has pretty much turned in to my friend now but I introduced her as my sister’s best friend because I knew my sister would chuck a hissy fit. You’re welcome, Ashleigh.
Thanks to our sometimes unreliable Google maps, my sister and I ended up walking around in circles for a solid 15 minutes before we actually found the place.*
The dishes are designed for sharing which meant that we could try a variety of dishes. For the night we ordered the following:
Ash baked eggplant
Crispy pork belly
John Dory fillets
Beef cheek suet pot pie
Roast pumpkin with nigella
On paper it seems quite a lot, but I found that the portions were a reasonable size and that for a group of 3 people it was a decent amount of food.
For our entrée, we ordered the ash baked eggplant, and personally not being the biggest fan of eggplant I found this dish to be quite delicious. The eggplant was soft, not mushy, and the pops of pomegranate seeds added texture to the dish. You could really taste the parsley so if parsley ain’t your cup of tea, then I would recommend to give this one a miss.
Our mains, the crispy pork belly, John Dory fillets and the beef cheek suet pot pie were all a reasonable size.
My favourite out of the three, was the crispy pork belly. It was cooked perfectly, the skin was crispy and most of all, the dollop of sauce on the side (gosh, I wish I could’ve taken it home with me) was absolutely delicious with the pork. The sauce and the pork together was a match made in heaven.
The fillets tasted fresh and with the slight tanginess from the lemon and spinach, you were able to absorb the natural flavours of the fish and appreciate its quality.
The beef pot pie looked like a massive piece of bread, but once we cut it open we were surprised to find an enormous piece of bone marrow just casually chilling. This definitely tasted like a pie but with a healthier twist. There was a sufficient amount of beef cheeks inside, so you didn’t have to fight over the meat, and there was a distinct crunch from the crust. However, I did find that the pie was slightly bland and wished there had been a little more seasoning which would have made it perfect for me.
As a side dish, we ordered the roast pumpkin with nigella. I’ve done the Googling for you and found that nigella is a type of black seed that is used as a spice. With a growing love for roast pumpkin this one was totally on-point. It melted in my mouth and tasted great with all the other dishes.
After slowly finishing off our mains, we decided to get 2 desserts, the chocolate fondant and the rice pudding.
The rice pudding was larger than I had imagined and would have been too much for one person to finish on their own. The pudding itself wasn’t sweet, but the sweetness came from the rhubarb jam and the honeycomb. It did feel a little heavy after just demolishing 3 main meals and would recommend this only if you had a lot of room left for dessert.
Chocolate is my favourite dessert option and the chocolate fondant literally took me to chocolate heaven. The melted chocolate inside was heavenly and it wasn’t so sweet that I was gulping down water. Fluffy and light, I would probably re-visit this restaurant just for the fondant.
All the ingredients felt fresh and I could feel, and taste, that the team we’re trying to be honest with what they plated up; simple dishes that warm the heart. Not the cheapest meal that one could find, I mean it is fine dining after all, it wasn’t outrageously pricey for what they delivered.
So if you’re in the mood to treat yourself, or a loved one, No.1 Bent Street could be your destination.
I know I’ll be back for that decadent chocolate fondant very soon.
The Skanky Stomach xxx
*Note: When using Google Maps to find the venue you must type in the full restaurant name rather than the address or it will take you to a random place in Petersham
Location: 1 Bent Street, Sydney, Australia
When To Go: Mon-Fri / 11.30-3pm & 5.30pm- late / Sat / 5.30pm- late
Great for: casual yet chic fine dining, groups, dates, best chocolate fondant ever