The recent emphasis on local, sustainable produce on Sydney’s restaurant scene hasn’t escaped Matt Moran and Peter Sullivan, co-owners and operators of new venture Chiswick in Woollahra. Located at Chiswick Gardens and former home to Pruniers, where many an engagement party, golden anniversary and 60th birthday was celebrated, Chiswick Restaurant and Bar finds itself nestled in amongst a leafy park, bordered by trees and complete with a fountain. Since opening a week and a half ago, Chiswick hasn’t put a foot wrong. With a 150 square metre kitchen garden, tended to by a dedicated gardener, it gives Head Chef Tim Bryan the scope to create a seasonal menu, focusing on produce “sourced and grown with integrity”.
The interior is light and open, surrounded by white framed floor-to-ceiling windows and French doors which open out to the park. With a large communal table inside and seats at the bar, there is a place for your grandma and your Eastern Suburbs ladies who lunch, as well as families, groups and romantics (and many a celebrity I hear, if this morning’s Sunday Telegraph review is anything to go by). With a country home-style feel, the atmosphere is relaxed, and the staff professional yet casual in gardening overalls. While the crowd at this early Wednesday night sitting is very Woollahra, I can definitely see that this place will be a hotspot for Sunday afternoon sessions long after sunny summer has made way for windy winter.
The menu at Chiswick is concise and harnesses the fresh, home-grown produce from the garden, as well as several “Moran family” additions of beef and lamb. While The Screaming Artichoke doesn’t generally make comment on the meaty fare, it needs to be said that if animal produce is going to be used it should be of the highest quality and grown in an ethical, sustainable way, and it looks like that is a big concern for Chiswick. Pickled Garden Vegetables, as seen all over Sydney right now (see Balla and Gardels Bar) include heirloom carrots and radishes, and meanwhile Balla and Chiswick share more than just a menu inclusion, having both used Frost* Design for their branding and identity (see more in Desktop Magazine). Rosemary Flat Bread is perfectly cooked and served on a wooden chopping board, and the Small Plate Salad of Rosa Radish, Marinated Cucumber, Mint & Goats Curd is the perfect size and evident the ingredients haven’t had far to travel from garden to plate.
There is only one vegetarian option in the Mains/To Share sections combined, an Orecchiette with Tomato, Asparagus, Basil, Pine nuts and Parmesan. Using similar ingredients to that which you might find at the food court at DJs, it’s lucky that this is exceptional, tasty and a really great example of what can be done with pasta without over or under-doing it. By dessert I am spent, but a Baked Meringue with Yuzu and Granny Smith Apples and a White Chocolate Pannacotta with Crushed Berries and Jelly are shared amongst the table. My Ritz Carlton tea, described as “black tea, caramel, vanilla, apricot and cornflowers” comes served in a traditional English-style floral cup and saucer with golden trim. I am impressed, although the patriarch of the family is overwhelmed by the “fanciness” and begs for simpler trimmings.
So the verdict? I will absolutely be back to Chiswick. The fit-out is impressive and the environment homely while being exciting for people-spotting and menu study. Next time I shall make a point of sitting at the bar to experience the cocktail side of things, and with a revolving-door style of fare I hope to get a taste of more from the garden on my next visit. With Moran and Sullivan having pulled out of a recent deal with Westfield Sydney CBD for a rooftop bar and food operation in order to concentrate on Chiswick, I think we can expect big things from Woollahra’s latest revival.
65 Ocean Street Woollahra NSW 2025
(02) 8388 8688