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Saturday, 16 May 2015

The Bridge Room - 12 May 2015


You might have noticed that I have been extremely quiet on the food blogging front these days. Please excuse my lack of updates as my wife and I are counting down the days til our lives will be changed forever with the arrival of life's most precious gift. Since June will be a month of confinement for the both of us, my wife decided to book a very early birthday celebration for me at The Bridge Room. If we're not going to be able to have a nice, quiet meal out for ages, we may as well do it in style, right?

The Bridge Room is the 2-hatted establishment of Ross Lusted (ex-Rockpool, Harbour Kitchen & Bar and Aman Resorts in Singapore). Bridge Room offers a modern Australian menu with Asian influences (there is no tasting menu, a rarity for restaurants above the one-hat category). It's been more than a couple of years since my last visit to The Bridge Room, so a revisit to one of my favourite CBD restaurants was well overdue.

To toast the evening, I had a berries & yuzushu cocktail (because... yuzu) and my wife had a cucumber & coriander mocktail (because... non-alcoholic).  

Sourdough bread and butter
For bread, there was a sourdough and a rye bread on offer, sourced from Iggy's Bread. Iggy's is one of the most reliable in Sydney when it comes to artisan breads. The thick crust is a trademark of Iggy's breads and was no exception with my slice of sourdough. Asking for seconds of this bread was a given.

Rock oysters, south coast NSW w/ shallot, red wine vinegar and white miso dressing, chives ($4.50 each)
I decided to start off with a couple of freshly shucked-to-order rock oysters from Merimbula in the south coast of NSW. These oysters went down a treat and came with plenty of salty brine. The oysters came with a white miso dressing and a shallot, red vinegar dressing. I preferred the more conventional, zingy shallot and red wine vinegar dressing. The white miso with accents of ginger and sesame, whilst nice, I wasn't sure how well these flavours paired with natural oysters.

Steamed scallop mousse, grey ghost mushrooms, torn scallop, chives, cured pork cheek ($34)
For entree, I had this pretty assortment of steamed scallop mousse with grey ghost mushrooms, a pan seared torn scallop and guanciale. The steamed scallop mousse was a textural highlight: so soft, smooth and silky. The torn scallop was perfectly cooked with sweet, translucent flesh and beautiful caramelisation of top. Mushrooms (pine and grey ghosts) featured all over the menu on this evening, which pleased me to no end given I love mushrooms. The grey ghosts were slippery and earthy. The guanciale added buttery richness to this impressive entree.

Robata grilled cos lettuce, grilled and smoked enoki mushrooms, creamed parsnip, pickled parsley leaves ($25)
My wife opted for this simple yet delicious entree. Cooking with the robata grill is a signature of The Bridge Room kitchen, adding smokiness and depth of flavour to anything that touches it. The grill intensified the sweetness and the umami in the cos lettuce and enoki mushrooms. A quenelle of creamed parsnip provided additional sweetness, earthiness and creaminess to the dish.

Rangers valley 7+ wagyu sirloin, grilled banana shallots, smoked milk, spinach, crisp potato ($52)
I had no idea what to order for main so I asked my waiter for advice. Being my indecisive self, I asked him about every main on the menu, so I was no closer to deciding on my main! The waiter ended up convincing me that the wagyu (rather amusingly, this was the dish that I thought I had ruled out before the waiter arrived). This dish turned out to be a fantastic choice! 

The Rangers Valley MBS 7+wagyu sirloin was cooked sous-vide and then finished on the robata grill, which added that trademark smokiness and caramelisation to the beef. The sirloin was cooked medium-rare and retained a nice, slightly resistant texture. Grilled banana shallots and smoked milk naturally complimented the sirloin. The thin, glass-like potato crisp was interesting and added another texture to the dish.  

Silken tofu, cucumber, daikon, shiitake mushrooms cooked in broth, Randall family organic brown rice, greens, cloud ear fungus ($30)
My wife's main was a clean, light and enjoyable dish of silken tofu, cucumber, daikon, shiitake mushrooms and cloud ear fungus. The only minor criticism was that the silken tofu could have been silkier (I think my wife was hoping for the texture to be more like my scallop mousse). There was also a paper thin sheet of rice chip. 

Randall family organic brown rice
The silken tofu also came with a bowl of organic brown rice. The rice had an amazing, nutty flavour. My wife said that she would be happy to down bowls of this rice.   

Black Russian tomatoes, sesame dressing, sprouts, chia seeds ($11)
I needed some vegetables so I ordered this delicious side of black Russian tomatoes with sesame dressing, sprouts and chia seeds.

Whipped 15 month old Parmigiano Reggiano, burnt apple, spiced bread ($18)
My wife and I decided to share the composed cheese course. I loved the simplicity of this course, with not too many things on the plate. 15 month old Parmigiano Reggiano was whipped and had a very smooth and creamy texture. The burnt apple puree, discs of fresh aple and thin spiced bread were a great match to the sharpness of the whipped Parmesan.    

Aerated passionfruit, roasted nougatine, passionfruit ice cream, passionfruit seed powder, glass biscuit ($18)
This dessert was intense in passionfruit flavour with aerated passionfruit, passionfruit ice cream and passionfruit seed powder. This dish fits perfectly on menu as a refreshing end to a meal at The Bridge Room. Roasted nougatine, meringue and glass biscuit add a variety of textures to this excellent, well-rounded dessert. 

Whipped black sesame, toasted sesame powder, melon, puffed black rice, coconut sugar ($18)
One of the dishes that I was keen to try at The Bridge Room was the black sesame dessert, which was featured in the Good Food Guide's top desserts of last year. So much has been said about this dessert that I was happy to discover that it is every bit as good as it is hyped up to be. As a huge fan of black sesame, I was absolutely blown away by this dessert! The whipped black sesame and toasted sesame was intense with black sesame flavour. The black sesame with puffed black rice was an amazing combination in terms of flavour and texture. Melon and coconut sugar rounded out this divine, Asian-inspired dessert.

As I left the restaurant, I didn't just farewell the waitstaff, I farewelled my days of fine dining for a life of sleepless nights and changing nappies! Although fine dining is one of my favourite things in life, I look forward to this new, exciting chapter in my life!

Verdict
Highlight: The black sesame and passionfruit desserts are worth the price of admission alone. 
Lowlight: I'm going to miss nights out like this with my wife.
Overall: Bridge Room is always a dependable choice for a top-notch fine dining meal without committing hours sitting through a tasting menu. The robata grill is the star here! 8/10 (Excellent)

The Bridge Room
Address: 44 Bridge St, Sydney NSW 2000
Contact no: 02 9247 7000
Website: www.thebridgeroom.com.au/

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