Amateur Dramatics

Friday, 12 April 2013

Roll up, roll up!
I'm sharing with you today my visit to Neild Avenue, a Mediterranean style 'taverna' (err, it's anything BUT). One of my many 'locals' in Darlinghurst. This show is brought to you by the team behind Icebergs Dining Room and North Bondi Italian Food - two Sydney stalwarts. Rock. Solid.

Open sesame! Set in a huge space (read: total understatement), you feel like you've just entered a studio backlot, with bar attached! Source: Neild Avenue

The restaurant is massive, to say the least. Spread over a large industrial warehouse space on the ground floor, there is also a private dining room upstairs with room for 16 AND a separate bar. Sheesh kebabs! The design is quite impressive, the restaurant space is punctuated by huge wooden 'canvases' depicting depicting cartoon characters from an imaginary sci-fi epic. It's pretty out there but it looks great! Each table (in designer's black) has a little recess to hold cutlery and condiments. The quilted black leather booth seats are the perfect finishing touch.

This is totally the money shot, the aerial that I would never have been able to take myself! The interior sure has that wow factor. It was very reminiscent of a movie set (having never been on one before but you know what I mean). Source: Neild Avenue 

The pomegranate mojito, (requisite) cocktail goodness!

Drink in hand, the wait staff are dressed white overalls (a bit of a signature of the Maurice Terzini (owner)/Robert Marchetti (chef) restaurants. With a solid knowledge on the menu (so extensive it fills an A3 page) and a jovial attitude, we got a cheeky "SeƱores, ni hao ma?" early on. The menu has something for everyone, there's a focus on platters of seafood, vibrant salads and swathes of grilled meats. It's a meat lovers paradise and totally geared for sharing down a long table.

Now, down to business:

Salad Quinoa of tomatoes, parsley, fresh/toasted chickpeas, mint dressing. This salad was a surprise highlight. The freshest baby tomatoes (so tiny + cute) and parsley, the texture of chickpea in a slightly acidic dressing - I couldn't get enough of this one. I may just have to attempt this at home!

Spiced Half Roasted Duck (left) and Slow cooked goat chops (right): the duck had a nice and crispy skin but the flesh was rather bland. We were looking for succulent and juicy! The pilaf rice & parsley salad did not really marry the dish well. The goat chops had a nice accompanying mild dressing

Whole Salt Baked Snapper Portofino Style with Lemon oil, ligurian olives and thin cut potatoes. This fish was exceedingly tiny, it was a challenge to share between 6! And it was missing a huge chunk of it when served! This dish was quite unexpectedly salty, yes it was baked in salt but usually the salt doesn't permeate the flesh. It was also a little on the drier side. The mandolined potato slices were a nice touch

Baklava goodness (right) and Goat's Yoghurt (right): the baklava with Persian pistachios looked divine. I always find them a tad sickly sweet, lucky they were so tiny then! The yoghurt was the healthy option/detox, doused in cinnamon. This one had a bit of preserved lemon in there and felt like a bit of a breakfast-dessert - a bressert.

P.S. Those first two options were for wimps. This is what I went for:

To appease the inner child in me: the Prune Sundae! Prune gelato, organic prunes, chocolate sauce, almond Chantilly. The ice cream was just churned and the warm chocolate sauce was TDF (to-die-for)! This was an old fashioned treat with the prunes to make you feel better. This serving size was certainly enough for two, my fellow diners had no hesitations in helping me out!

And there we have it, a massive meal in a massive restaurant. We pretty much rolled out of this place, clutching our food babies. Sad to say, the food here often looked better than it tasted. The salt baked fish that had been recommended to us by said overalled waiter was a bit underwhelming. Top marks for design that is let down by food that falls just short.

Thanks for reading!


  1. This place looks so epic, cannot wait to try when I'm back in town. And you're right, so many good spots in that area.

  2. OMG, I was already hungry. Gimme some of that fish and quinoa salad right away, please!! :-)

  3. The design of the restaurant is absolutely fab! And i could devour that desert in seconds! Mmmmm.

  4. What a beautiful space! The food looks amazing too..



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