Saturday, February 03, 2007

Salon Blanc, Cowper Wharf Rd, Woolloomooloo

Salon Blanc, Cowper Wharf Rd, Woolloomooloo
Saturday 3 February, 2007

Salon Blanc offers great people watching along the Finger Wharf at Woolloomooloo. It is the second restaurant down from Cowper Wharf Rd (the first restaurant on the wharf is Aki's Indian) and there are approximately 9 restaurants along the wharf including China Doll, Kingsleys's Steak & Crab House and Otto.

The website states,

"Situated on the historic Finger Wharf at Woolloomooloo Salon Blanc offers an unforgettable dining experience. As you approach the restaurant you are greeted with the stunning Iain Halliday design of white walls, eclectic furnishings, with dabs of colour and convivial seating. A welcome splash of comfort and style to the wharf."

I think the description is lacking as the white washed walls, white furniture and white place settings are offset by a striking silver hanging that sparkles with the light and a rich, colourful feature wall that looks like a mosaic from outside. I really loved the look and feel of the space.

We were warmly greeted and shown to our prime table overlooking the wharf and city skyline. It was still light and we needed sunglasses on until 8pm as the blinds don't come down far enough to block the sunlight from the outdoor seating. We were encouraged to order a cocktail first and after reading their menu and pricey wine list decided on a Vanilla mojito - perennial mint smashed with tahitian limes and matuselum ron, vanilla bean and sugar and White peach bellini - a lick of summer peach bound with italian prosecco. Both were $15.

As we enjoyed our cocktails and watched the crowds arrive for dinner it became obvious that unless you have a booking along the wharf it is near impossible to acquire a table. We watched so many people be turned away and watched them try the next restaurant, then the next with no luck.

Chef Colin Selwood is now a part owner in Salon Blanc and although he is a New Zealander brings his French, bordering Spanish cuisine to Sydney. I couldn't go past the Thirlmere free range chicken liver parfait, cornichons and toasted brioche for entree and my dinner buddy ordered the Zucchini flowers stuffed with ricotta, green olives and oregano, tomato sauce and truffle pecorino.

When the chicken liver parfait arrived at the table I knew straight away that there was far too much parfait for the amount of brioche served. It would have been nice for the staff to suggest that if I wanted more brioche I only had to ask. Instead, I ran out of brioche (it was creamy and incredibly delicious) and had to flag down a waiter to enquire whether I could have more. The answer was yes, but it would have been nice not to have to ask.

After we finished our cocktails we decided to order wine by the glass to go with our mains. We asked one waiter for a suggestion and she said she would get the Sommelier. Shortly afterwards, another waiter arrived and we went through the same process. The Sommelier did finally arrive and suggest some lovely options but our meals arrived well before the wine. I thought the staff could have been more forward thinking and ensure we had our wine before the main meals arrived.

I had ordered the Crisp skin ocean trout with roast capsicum cous cous,
saffron and tomato vinaigrette and my dinner buddy ordered the Grilled hiramasa kingfish with warm salad of sugar snap peas, red onion and swiss browns. Our fish was beautifully cooked but unfortunately the roast capsicum cous cous was a disapointment - it was dry and served as a cylinder base for the fish.

As we continued to people watch and enjoy the atmosphere we agreed to splurge and order dessert. I opted for the Mango parfait with coconut rice pudding (our waiter suggested this over the Passion fruit tart and orange jelly) and my dinner buddy ordered the dessert special - Summer pavlova topped with cream and berries.

Our desserts were really good except for the shaved dried coconut served alongside the coconut rice pudding. It was hard and inedible. The service was hit & miss which was disappointing but overall the food was good. It was pricey and I felt it was just too pricey for what we experienced - entrees are just under $20, mains are under $40 and desserts are $15 and under.

Salon Blanc - 2/6 Cowper Wharf Rd, Woolloomooloo - (02) 9356 2222


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