Thursday, December 30, 2010

Sydney Restaurant Review: Ms G's, Potts Point 17 November 2010

When friends drop in from London, its always a good excuse to go out and try and new restaurant.  The risk of course, is that if it's an ordinary meal it can take the shine off the excitement of catching up with old buddies.  However if its a cracker nosh-up, well, then you have all the makings of an awesome night.

It was a Monday, so not many restaurants are open on a Monday.  I decided to risk good friendship by suggesting a new Merivale Restaurant which I read about in my daily email from Daily Addict.  I've always had good experiences in Merivale Restaurants: the food, service and decor is always great, so I decided to chance Ms G's, their new baby in Potts Point.  I hadn't heard anything about it yet, but figured if Dan Hong and Jowett Yu were at the helm, it should be memorable.

Red neon lights at the door.  I like it already.

The first impression as we stepped through the door as we walked past the bar was that of a terrace-come-tree-house.  There were lovely big trees out the back window with hanging ropes.  Very Famous Five.

The rest of the interior is what could be described as a stylish mish-mash.  Later, we would discover the sheer delight of recipes plastered on the walls of the ladies loos from the early 70's. Awesome. We were led downstairs and chose a booth rather than a window table.  There's something comforting about booth seating.

We were starving, but eager to catch up, so across the top of our conversation we turned our attention to the menu, which looked amazing.  Between 4 hungry, enthusiastic diners we had nominated around 8 dishes we wanted.  We were a little excited to see one another and eat this food.  Our waitress Lauren was smiley and helpful.

We were given mis-matched crockery, in keeping with the decor, which was quite beautiful.  Mis-matched crockery doesn't anything remotely cool or beautiful in my house.  But that's the point I guess.

Amongst us we ordered 2 cocktails: an Aloe Vera (which sounded suspiciously similar to Zeta Bar's New York Foam with Absolut Vanilla vodka, limoncello, crushed lemons, Aloe Vera foam) and the impossible-to-pass-up Ms G's Famous Yuzu Slushee (with Limoncello, Russian Standard Vodka, yuzu juice & Regan's Orange Bitters).  The slushee arrived, trumping the Aloe Vera on presentation.  Because it looked exactly like a slushee, complete with plastic on top. I am, after all, a child of the 70's:

As we had a vegetarian amongst us, the first dish to arrive was Ms G's grilled corn on the cob with parmesan & lime.  The photo and description doesn't do the taste justice.  It had a definite tex/mex flavour going on, not at all what we had expected but was so delicious I could have happily sat down to a meal of Ms G's grilled corn and nought else.  The corn was juicy and combined with the aioli & parmesan, was a little messy and possibly not first date material (unless you wanna get down and dirty early on) but ahhhh, I know immediately that I will return to Ms G's if only for the corn.

The next dish comes quickly: Mini bánh mì- 2 crisp pork belly and 2 chicken katsu.  Not at all how we expected it to look.  We didn't have a clue what bánh mì were, thinking they would be skewers or similar.  However since then I have brushed up on my Vietnamese cuisine and found that bánh mì are actually baguettes with pickled veggies, coriander and usually pork or chicken.  I used to eat these a lot when I worked in Redfern and loved them. These little guys, masquerading as burgers, looked fab, but I would say at the time in my muddled-bánh-mì-skewer-head I thought they could have done without the buns.  Ha!  Imagine popping downstairs to the kitchen and telling Dan Hong I would have preferred to have his bánh mì without the buns.  This is why I tend not to speak to chefs. If you are a chef and see me coming, hide. I'm the one with my foot already in my mouth.

The next dish to swiftly arrive was the “Buddha’s Delight” - A textural vegetarian salad with tofu, seaweed, bean sprouts and some sort of jelly situation, the details of which I have since forgotten (sorry).  Clean, healthy, crunchy, tasty. I wanted more.

Hot on the heels of Buddha's Delight was the prawn toast with yuzu aioli and herbs.  I hasten to add that I would never have ordered this from the menu, however one of our companions was dead keen on it. I tried it and it was a tasty turn on the old favourite, but having just lost 5 kilos I was a bit gun-shy of the sordid, but come-hither deep-friedness of it.  But man oh man, the crunch! The sesame!  The prawny toast!

Our next dish arrived at the same time as the toast and hubby already started complaining that the dishes were coming too quickly... the stress of trying to finish off the preceding dish was interfering with his enjoyment of the meal.  He was right.  The dishes were coming a little too quickly, however as I was S T A R V I N G, I didn't mind so much, it was a great excuse to hoover quickly.  The grilled calamari, black pudding & coriander salsa verde is also something I probably wouldn't have ordered due to the inclusion of blood sausage, but I was convinced to try it and it was heavenly.  The calamari was tender, the sausage didn't taste like blood but a tasty, well..... sausage, and the coriander lifted it with a zing! But then I thought too long about the blood sausage being a sausage filled with congealed blood and left the rest for the boys to demolish.

Goodness.  There was more food? The egg noodles with XO sauce, braised duck and soft poached egg promised to be right up my alley.  I heart duck, I heart egg. What else could I want?  Sadly, this was my least favourite dish.  When I think about it, I prefer a roast duck so the braising possibly didn't float my boat.  Dunno.  Hubby pronounced it his favourite, so I bequeathed my unfinished portion to him.  Which was a good thing, as I was running out of tummy real estate.

Did I mention we were boisterous? Lauren, took our noise in her stride and with good humour.  She answered all our inane questions and offered suggestions.  She also highly recommended the crispy spiced tofu and fried eggs, cherry tomatoes, coriander and thai basil and said she thought it would make an awesome breakfast.  We complimented her on her knowledge of the menu and she said that even though the restaurant had only been open 4 days to the public, the staff had sat through explanations of all of the dishes on the menu and were encouraged, over these 2 nights, to try everything.  Lucky gal.  However this also explains why Merivale do hospitality so well.   And 4 days?  How did I end up being such a finger-on-the-pulse chick?  Thank you, Daily Dose.

Anyhoo, this dish ROCKED. Second favourite dish of mine.  That poached, then deep fried egg was un-be-lieve-able.  Lauren was truly awesome herself as this would indeed be a spectacular breakfast. The fried egg is that big lump on the right hand side.  The yolk was gooey but not too gooey.

Incredibly, there was yet another dish which arrived.  Stir fried rice noodles, wagyu beef, chilli, herbs and peanuts, minus the beef.  Our veggo friend declared this to be her favourite, and we ordered a second plate of it, which was quite a feat given how much food we had ploughed through.

And, I'm ashamed to admit, we ordered 2 desserts, to share.  One decadent, one no so.  We hoed into the “Stoner’s Delight” first: banana ice cream, chocolate, rice bubbles, pretzel, peanut brittle and marshmallow. Oh my freakin god.  I needn't describe the sheer indulgence and deliciousness of that one.  It was magnificent. 

We lamented the fact that we ate that one first but quite honestly, the “Splice” pine-lime granita with lychee sorbet and whipped cream was a perfect palate cleanser to finish off the meal.

As we'd broken all world speed records eating that much food in so little time (1.5 hours?) we tumbled (or should that be waddled?) out on Victoria Street by 8.30pm in time to linger over cocktails at Jimmy Liks for a cheeky nightcap. The tall cocktails at Jimmy Liks were $18 each and full to the brim with ice, so not particularly good value.  For my money, I prefer the bar area at Ms G's. Next time, we will linger longer.  We'll definitely be back.  The only criticism was the speed of the dishes, but Ms G's definitely deserves another visit. And soon!

Ms G's
155 Victoria Street
Potts Point
Reservations: 8313 1000
Open Mon-Sun dinner; Fri & Sat lunch
Food menu
Wine list

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