Sunday, 19 January 2014

Sydney, this is how you do it. The Sydney dining scene is seeing a resurgence of 'the wine bar' *cheers*. Changes in liquor licensing laws some years ago have been met with Gen-Yers spending their (few) dollars on a curated glass of vino. Places like Monopole10 William St, and Wine Library are leading the way. Nomad is a newie following suit in Surry Hills with an emphasis on Australian wine. Who knew we could hold our own? 

A design lover's paradise; the sun drenched restaurant/cellar door Credit: Broadsheet Sydney
I first walked past this warehouse space (formerly the site of the Spence & Lyda showroom) some months ago, and was  curious as to what was opening. By the end of last year, Nomad was born in true style, reminiscent of restaurants in NYC or Northern Europe. The copious blonde timber finishes and flashy central kitchen make this 150 seater sure to impress. The charcuterie hanging in all its glory in the custom built drying room doesn't hurt either. It ticks all those design aesthetic boxes for me.  

Head Chef Nathan Sasi who has Rockpool, Husk (in Sth Carolina) and Heston Blumenthal's Dinner on his CV. A new generation of young guns forging their own way on the dining scene  Credit: Australian Financial Review
Opening a food & wine bar is as much an investment in funds as in hard yakka. Thankfully, Nomad has got some proper talent on board in Chef Nathan Sasi and Rob Geddes MW (niice). The popularity of independent films like Red Obsession and new Aussie publication, Alquimie - wine has certainly piqued our interest. For starters the majority of the menu is wines, 20 each of red and white with the food offerings at the back. Don't be fooled however, the food is very far from an afterthought and takes its  inspiration from the Middle East. The list also features each winemaker by name, giving credit where it is well due. I went for a happy medium in the Ngeringa 2011 Rose (Mount Barker, SA) which had a lovely smooth finish. 

Pages from the first edition of Alquimie. For a complete wine novice like myself, Alquimie is wine magazine very much in the style of Kinfolk. The article on the granite cellar in Giaconda's Vineyard is a must-read Credit: Another Something & Co.

More than once the wait staff had caught us clueless on what to order. It all looked moorish, to be frank. However, we were given some recommendations which didn't disappoint. Service was friendly and efficient at the start of the night, hopefully consistency is a strong suit as the hours wear on and there are more bums on seats.
Here is a sampler of what we ordered:

Okay, so I stupidly didn't take a photo of this amazing salad. A daily special it consisted radicchio, figs, toasted almonds and lashing of shaved manchego cheese. It was so simple yet heavenly! Credit: Food52

Raw Kingfish, preserved lemon, fennel, dill. I am sure this would be a very popular entrée. Each mouthful left you wanting more and the fennel was a pleasant 'something different'

Nomad Jersey Milk Haloumi, BBQ zucchini, pinenuts, raisins, water cress. This one was one of my favourites. The disc of haloumi was cooked perfectly, slightly stretchy with such a delicate flavour. A real winner for me

BBQ Lamb rump, Moroccan eggplant salad, sheeps yoghurt. Cooked in all its fat (i.e. goodness), this lamb dish is quite home style but no less impressive

Bunuelos, rose water and cardamom custard. We were fooled into thinking this would be a 'light' dessert, a spiced custard perhaps. Err no...fried doughnuts coming right up. Can't be helped haha. These were executed very well, not a trace of doughiness

Nomad 3 month aged goat cheese, membrillo, dried grapes, ash crackers. A final touch to the seal the deal

I don't know about you but I was sold after this meal. Yes it sits on the pricier side but for that you are getting the best in a pretty neat package. Whether you know wines or not (I sit very much in the latter) be prepared for a good time with a lovely wine in hand. Nomad has become a fast favourite in critic's circles and the full house night after night is a great omen. Terry Durack 'lavished' it with a solid 15/20 and 4 *'s from Time Out Sydney Nomad's future is looking very bright.

A final look at that décor, who could resist? Credit: The Love Assembly

Thanks for reading!
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  1. Love the menu here. Always interesting and innovative, and so cool that they do their own cheeses and charcuterie too.



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