Sunday, 8 March 2015

Out-Boned at Pinbone, Woollahra - 8 March 2015

The Pinbone crew have vacated their restaurant for 3 weeks to attend the Omnivore World Tour in Paris. During their absence, the space will be occupied by two restaurant pop-ups, namely, old Woollahra favourite, Buzo, and Out-Boned

Out-Boned was originally billed to be Silverbone, with ex-Noma chef Sam Miller looking to trial some of his dishes prior to the opening of his first restaurant, Silvereye in July this year. But due to personal reasons, Sam Miller has pulled out and has been replaced by another Noma alumnus and ex- Noma sous chef, Tom Halpin (the pop-up has consequently been renamed Out-Boned). I might have been a bit dismayed initially with Sam Miller not behind the pans for this pop-up, I was still remained excited about this pop-up diner with another ex-Noma chef at the helm.

My wife and I had a Sunday lunchtime booking at 1pm today. Out-Boned will be in its final week of operation next week, with only a Wednesday & Thursday night, and Sunday afternoon service remaining. 

The $65 menu offers 2 snacks, followed by what our waiter describes to us as, "4 more substantial savoury courses" (in truth, the portions were quite tiny so I am not sure if the term "substantial" is appropriate here). A dessert and a petit four round out the menu. With prior notice, the restaurant catered for my wife's vegetarian dietary requirements. The menu has changed each week, so by the end of Out-Boned's life, there will have been three different menus (see Not Quite Nigella's review for her write up of her meal during the first week).

Oyster and malt
My menu starts out with a Port Stephens rock oyster with fermented melon and malt oil. I normally prefer oysters served on their own to enjoy their natural flavour, but I didn't mind the fermented melon and malt oil here, which added some sweetness and acidity to the oyster without overpowering it.   

Courgette, lemon, malt, melon
My wife's first snack was shaved courgette, lemon, fermented melon and malt oil. The flavours of the fermented melon and malt oil were more discernible here compared to the oyster as the flavour of courgette is much more mild.  

Fried fish and dip
My other snack was garish with bottarga, served on a crisp stem of bok choy filled with sour cream. This was a clever little snack with the flavours of all the components working well together. 

Potato skin, sour cream, bok choy
My wife's last snack consisted of thin, crisp potato skins with sour cream and bok choy

Snow peas, pink grapefruit, pistachio
The first savoury course was a vegetarian dish with snow peas, pink grapefruit, crushed pistachios and pistachio praline. The flavour combinations might sound unusual at first, but I thought this dish was a winner. There was a enjoyable medley of sweet, salty, bitter and sour flavours at play here. I would happily eat a big bowl of this.      

 Potatoes, mussel
Sweet, "minerally" Tasmanian mussels and cubes of fermented potato sat in a creamy potato broth, with mussel foam and chopped sea spinach. This dish was simply delicious, with the flavours of the sea being quite prominent and working well with the potato. This was my favourite savoury course this meal.      

Boiled egg, potato, sour cream, chives
My wife's dish included a boiled egg, which had a warm, thick yolk, fermented potatoes, sour cream and chives. Potatoes and eggs are some of my wife's favourite things in this world, so she resoundingly enjoyed this course.   

Aubergine and mushroom
The next course was another vegetable based course. My aubergine was cooked with chicken fat whilst my wife's was just cooked with oil. The soft aubergine was sitting in slick of mushroom broth and pepper oil and topped with slices of button mushrooms. The pepper oil was quite intense but worked quite well with the earthy, umami-laden mushroom broth. Whilst not the prettiest dish, this was another solid and enjoyable dish.          

Smoked lamb
My final savoury course was roasted smoked lamb breast, which looked quite modest sitting alone on the edge of my plate. The lamb was smoky and had quite a nice flavour, but unfortunately the lamb was very dry and cooked til completely white in the centre. I noticed that the cut of lamb that was brought out to other tables was quite different to what I had. 

Roasted swede
My wife's final savoury course was roasted swede. The swede was amazing: wonderfully sweet, earthy and cooked with what appeared to be a heap of butter. I only tasted a little bit of the swede, so I developed serious food envy as I watched my wife devour the rest of the swedes.    

Cavolo nero
With the last savoury course, we had a side of cavolo nero with rhubarb vinaigrette. I always enjoy cavolo nero and this was no exception. 

Turnip gratin
A side of turnip gratin and parmesan was also served with the final savoury course. This was a hearty and enjoyable side dish. I liked how the turnip retained a nice, crisp texture.  

Apple and herb tart
The dessert was an apple and herb tart with stewed apples, marjoram custard, sliced apples, lemon thyme, fennel fronds and a dollop of cream on top. This tart was incredible, with a great marriage of sweet with savoury. Apples are one of my favourite fruits, especially in pies and tarts. The use of so many herbs was unique and added a lot of different yet complimentary flavours. The shortcrust pastry was also a highlight:it was thin, short and buttery. The apple and herb tart was my favourite course of the meal.        

Pumpkin cake
To conclude our meal at the pop-up diner, we were served a pumpkin pound cake topped with candied pepitas. The pumpkin cake was quite moist, not too heavy and an enjoyable end to what has been mostly a positive experience at Out-Boned. 

Highlight: The apple and herb tart was an absolute winner!
Lowlight: Small portions left me wanting more at the end of the meal. Smoked lamb breast was unfortunately dry. 
Overall: Out-Boned is a pop-up restaurant that has divided Sydney diners with its unique food offering. With the exception of the smoked lamb, I enjoyed all the courses. The apple and herb tart and the potatoes and mussels were particularly noteworthy. 7/10 (Great)

Out-Boned at Pinbone
Address: 3 Jersey Road, Woollahra NSW 2025
Contact details: 0450 155 377 or
Open for dinner Wednesday & Thursday, Lunch Sunday until March 15

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