Thursday, December 21, 2006

Pony Lounge & Dining, Cnr Argyle St and Kendall Lane, The Rocks

Pony Dining, Cnr Argyle St and Kendall Lane, The Rocks
Thursday 21 December, 2006

Located within the Rocks Centre, Pony Lounge & Dining is unmissable. Widely known as the latest 'hotspot' to visit the decor is captivating and draws you inside. The bar is lined with faux pony and the overhanging lights have stretched raw hide across them (if I didn't have any inhibitions I'd have jumped up and beaten them like drums!). Designer Michael McCann (Flying Fish, Whitewater) has transformed this space into an engaging, exciting venue.

Actually getting a reservation for Pony can be a challenge however, as one of my lunch buddies discovered. This was her experience,

I sent an email through their website at around 11.30 a.m. yesterday - no response has yet to come through. I rang this morning and left a message on their answering machine to follow up on my emailed reservation request - no-one has phoned back.

I phoned again about 5 mins ago - it was so hard to hear the guy on the other end due to the noise coming from the kitchen. Anyway, finally the reservation was made but unfortunately we have to sit outside - I did request an inside table. They have a large booking inside so we are stuck outside - I hope it is not a hot day although he did say that the outside dining on the outside deck in an alley way where you do get a cool breeze.

Let's hope the service at the restaurant is better than the reservation service !!

The chef, Damien Heads, formerly of Fuel Bistro on Crown St, Garfish etc offers up bistro quality meals and also smaller plates to share (why is every man & their dog doing 'tapas' inspired meals lately?) Don't get me wrong I love it but it's becoming really common now.

We arrived today and were shown to the very long share table out on the deck. The staff didn't really seem to know what was going on or who was looking after which guests. It was clumsy, however once we scanned the menu our concerns subsided. The menu is really tempting and I jumped straight to the sirloin with bernaise, hand cut fries and watercress.

One of my lunch buddies asked about the size of the risotto and was informed that the entree is half the main - well, thanks for clarifying we are so much more clearer now! My lunch buddies opted for the Risotto with prawns, pea, basil & mint and the parmesan crusted lamb cutlets with zucchini fritters, baby carrots and glazed eschalots. There was some confusion by the staff as to who on the very long share table ordered what - they kept bringing out dishes and trying to off load them to the wrong people - it was getting a little tired. We finally got our meals and they were delicious - the food is really impressive.

After contemplating dessert we were drawn to the apple galette baked with frangipane and sauce anglaise - WOW! This is by far the best dessert I have eaten in several months. It was light puff pastry with thinly sliced green apples! Delightful! Two of us ordered this and our other lunch buddy ordered the strawberries & cream with crisp pastry. Again, we were not disappointed.

There are some service issues here but the food is great - I'd like to come back for a long lunch during summer and work my way through their wine list.

Pony Dining - Cnr Argyle St and Kendall Lane, The Rocks - (02) 9252 7797


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