Chiswick at the Gallery

Saturday, 17 January 2015

It only feels like yesterday that I was reviewing Chiswick on the leafy streets of Woollahra. As with all restaurant empires; one has the irrepressible desire to divide, multiply and conquer. Matt Moran has seized a rare opportunity to give the restaurant at the Art Gallery of New South Wales a timely revamp, opening Chiswick at the Gallery late last year. For years I had ignored the fact there was an upstairs restaurant - reserved for the likes of functions and weddings. The Caesar salad from the café downstairs was starting to look like an old friend. But times are a changin'!

Props. A complete transformation of what was already a prime location overlooking the Woolloomooloo Finger Wharf Photo credit: Chiswick Restaurant

Moran has injected the gallery with a bit of the Eastern suburbs Chiswick vibe and I'd say it's pretty welcome. One of the most pleasing restaurant interiors I've seen in a long time, not a sprig of rosemary is out of place nor a picture frame askew. It's freakishly perfect here. And light! There is light streaming in from the two sides of floor to ceiling windows. A great relief from the squinty darkness we have been enduring for ages in many (too many) establishments.  

Petuna ocean trout gravlax, fennel, mustard, dill. A started which was flying out of the kitchen. The gravlax was divine, and the fennel salad a low-key side. I could eat this kind of thing all day every day

Perched high on a stool at the communal table we had a view into the kitchen - this is usually a favourite spot of mine to dine were it not for the constant, sometimes frantic cry of "Service!". Under the pump, the noise emanating from the kitchen competes with the dining room. It got a little distracting I must admit. To the menu, and all the Chiswick tried and tested favourites reappear like the slow-roasted Moran family lamb. It's got signature written all over it, if you can look past the $72 price tag. That's like 72 killer pythons from the old days (imagine the possibilities). There's a decent range of dishes on offer, so you can build up your own menu or try the set menu which often includes an entry ticket to the gallery. As an aside, the Pop to Popism exhibition was a nice meander through the decades of pop art.

Pumpkin ravioli, broccolini, lemon, raisins. Delicate house made ravioli with a sweet pumpkin filling and buttery sauce. Faultless. MAJOR highlight/deliciousness going on here

Battered flathead fillets, chips, tartare sauce. Ever trusty on a summer Sydney menu, this generous serving definitely hit the spot

Pan-fried salmon fillet, fennel, quinoa, dandelion. This mesmerising piece of tableware detracted from the beautiful simplicity of this dish. The salmon skin was lovely and crispy, albeit a bit overcooked on the inside (for me anyway). More fennel on the side tick tick tick

And a sweet to finish:

Chiswick chocolate mousse cake with candied orange peel. A layered mousse cake hides under the dusted outer shell. It's a winner for texture and a sure-hit with chocolate lovers (raise your hands)

Modelled off the Woollahra, kitchen garden prototype - the ladies who lunch will be very glad to have a CBD outpost a stone's throw from the botanical gardens. Chiswick may appear elitist but it exudes an easy-going attitude that makes you feel at home instantly.   Now that the AGNSW has a restaurant to rival The Pavilion across the road, those enviable views just got a little bit better. It'll cost you a pretty penny - but what doesn't these days.

Thanks for reading!
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  1. I am working in a gardening company in Chiswick and last week one of my colleagues had a birthday. We decided to bring him in this restaurant as a birthday surprise. It was lovely. The meals were delicious and the atmosphere unique. I will bring my boyfriend for his birthday here!



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