Friday, March 10, 2006

Northbridge Bistro, Strathallen Ave, Northbridge

Northbridge Bistro, Strathallen Ave, Northbridge
Friday 10 March

Former Bistro CBD chef, John Evans is cooking up a storm in Northbridge. Did you say Northbridge? Not the place one would expect to find a chef of this calibre but thank goodness - the CBD's loss is the North Shore's gain.

Northbridge Bistro is located inside the Northbridge Hotel and has developed quite a reputation for serving great quality bistro food at reasonable prices. On Friday night the hotel was packed with locals - some acting like they had been there since lunchtime (the day before...). Plus, it was the start of the rugby league season, so all eyes were glued to the screens in the hotel.

The bistro is inviting and there are some tables outside in the courtyard. The only downside is that the courtyard is also a thoroughfare to a small beer garden, so patrons from the hotel stumble back and forth all night.

The staff are friendly, very keen to serve and big fans of John (in the kitchen). I asked for a menu while I waiting and engaged one waitress in a conversation about the 'must have' menu items. Surprisingly, she didn't do the old 'everything's good' but targeted one of two items on the entree and main lists that sounded very tempting.

We kicked off with some garlic and parmesan bread - which arrived at the table fresh from the grill and was absolutely delicious. We then decided to share an entree - salt and sechuan pepper calamari - it was light and the seasoning was just right.

For mains, the decisions were harder, the menu is not extensive however everything sounds very good and is based around seasonal produce. I opted for the Pork belly on a bed of english spinach and my tennis buddy settled on the sirloin with cafe de paris butter and chips.

You know the meals are good when there's not much talking, just sounds like, 'mmm'. The pork belly was perfect and I could still get my knife through the crackle without sending it flying across the room. My tennis buddy also rated the sirloin with cafe de paris butter however the chips were disappointing - plain and looked like they had come straight from a packet - to compliment the sirloin maybe wedges or thick cut fries would have been a better option.

After a bottle of wine and still plenty to discuss we agreed on dessert. I devoured the fig & blueberry tart with caramel ice-cream and my tennis buddy scored with the autumn berry crumble with fresh nuts on top.

For this feast, our bill came to $70pp which I thought was very reasonable considering we'd ordered three courses and a bottle of wine.

Northbridge Bistro - 57 Strathallen Ave, Northbridge - (02) 9958 5228


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