Palings Kitchen and Bar
Level 1 Ivy
330 George St
Palings Kitchen and Bar is the result of the transformation that has taken place on Level 1 of the Ivy. The indoor outdoor feel remains but its warmer and more homey. The good use of timber gives the whole place a less austere and more inviting feel. There's no doubt that it's still a big place - but it has so many different spaces that it doesn't have a cavernous feel to it at all even though they can turn over almost 1,000 meals across a busy day.
We were there as part of a food bloggers evening to taste their new menu and to meet head chef Christopher Whitehead.
|Christopher Whitehead explains the menu|
|Open plan but homey|
|Timber and unique lighting add appeal|
We started with several entrees and salads. The food was all delivered in earthenware dishes that matched the outdoor feel of your garden - but with more comfort. Tin plates and the cutlery canteen on the table also added to the atmosphere.
The watermelon, summer squash, olive, fetta and toasted pistachio salad was so fresh and refreshing. Its a great summer salad that will probably disappear in winter due to seasonal availability so get in early if you want to try it. Its not something I'd normally order but it turned out to be delicious.
The roasted cauliflower, pomegranate, fennel and lime salad really wowed us. So tasty and refreshing with great flavour combinations that really appealed.
|Roasted Cauliflower Salad|
Mlady loves croquettes and these were top notch in her opinion. She loved them. They were filled with jamon and manchego which is always a great combination and arrived hot and crisp. Then the mushroom and taleggio arancini arrived with its tangy roasted garlic aioli - lovely. These dishes are a great start to a meal - or even a meal in themselves with a few drinks.
|Mushroom and Taleggio Arancini|
|Jamon and Manchego Croquettes|
Fancy a toasted cheese sandwich for dinner? You will once you've tried this version! The cheese toastie has Pyengana cheddar, leek, chicory and walnut on sourdough. This is a sharing dish but you can have it solo if you want but it is rich - it also uses Pepe Saya butter. Then there's the southern fried chicken wings with ranch dressing. We weren't expecting anything special with these and they surprised us. The marinade was memorable with a nice spice blend coating the tender chicken.
|Southern Fried Chicken Wings|
|Pyengana Cheddar Cheese Toastie|
The final starter - yes all the above were just to get the meal going - was the Palings traditional smoked eel and chips. What a surprise packet this was. It was tender and tasty and the smoke flavour was subtle but still evident.
|Palings Traditional Smoked Eel|
|Villa Maria Pinot Noir|
|David Blackmore Skirt Steak|
I asked Christopher Whitehead what his favourite dish was and after some elbow twisting he said it was the David Blackmore skirt steak.
Described in the menu as being served with stuffed peppers and a green sauce this 200gm wagyu has a 9+ marble score.
It melted in my mouth. I would have this dish every week if I could, it was that good.
When pressed Christopher also said that owner Justin Hemmes favourite (and yes he has personally tried and provided feedback on all the dishes) is the Thursday roast of slow cooked beef ribs - so if you're there on a Thursday you can try it for yourself!
|Grillede Fish of the Day|
Mlady had the grilled fish of the day that came with creamy potato and cucumber and sorrel.
It was nicely done with good flavours and well cooked and nothing at all was wrong with it but it probably was not as spectacular as the other dishes that were so memorable. The creamy potato salad was excellent though.
The salads that accompanied the mains were fresh, fragrant and picturesque.
Broccolini, beetroot and rainbow chard, pine nut and sesame dressing just sounded great and looked and tasted it too.
The saltwater potatoes with spicy pebre sauce were a killer side. If you're picturing potatoes that have been grown under water in the ocean then you're a bit off the mark. They are cooked in salt water until it all evaporates and the potatoes are left perfectly cooked and crusted in fine salt. They were amazing. So tender and so tasty - its easy to see why these are so popular here.
|Rangers Valley Rump|
|Palings Pork Schnitty|
A couple of other main courses ordered were the 300gm grain fed Rangers Valley rump steak with fries and Paris butter which looked indulgently good. There was also a specialty of the house - their Palings pork schnitty with gingered slaw. Having eaten a few pork schnitzels in Austria last year it was tempting and looked very authentic when it arrived at the table.
|Different spaces inside|
Palings also has several unique punches that are served in tall "jugs" that looked so appealing. We tried two and although I don't normally order punch I probably would consider it here after trying these. The glasses were unique as well - kind of like jam jars with handles.
Then of course there's dessert - and this is something you have to try here. The desserts all come from Lorraine Godsmark who runs Lorraine's Patisserie which is just downstairs from Ivy in Palings Lane (and they also sell from the shop there directly to the public). We started with the rhubarb pie - which is an old favourite of mine as my mum made it when I was a kid. This one was delicious with a lovely pastry enveloping the rhubarb mixture. It was almost as good as mums - which is high praise! Then for those after an old favourite traditional dessert there's the New York cheesecake. This rich tasty baked cheesecake was what you would expect for a top dessert.
|New York Cheesecake|
We then had "Ruby's cake" - which had an almost ferrero rocher taste to it with its hazelnuts and chocolate combination.
Delicious again and so light and fluffy it literally melted in the mouth and had such beautiful flavours.
Then there was the petit croquembouche. I was expecting it to look a bit more croquembouche-ish but the taste was all that I hoped for and more. Loved it again. The sticky crunchy toffee went perfectly with the pastry and filling. Then of course the flourless chocolate cake was rich and sweet and indulgent all in one. It was surprisingly light as well.
|Flourless Chocolate Cake|
Palings Kitchen and Bar has a lovely relaxed feel to it. The lights go down as the night progresses - adding to the chilled laid-back vibe. Service is excellent - if you're not sure what to order ask - they'll explain the menu and make suggestions as everyone knows the dishes well. The food is diverse and very good across entrees, main courses and desserts. A lot of thought has gone in to this venture and it shows.
Sir and Mlady dined as guests of Palings Kitchen and Bar arranged by Sophie and Rachel of Sally Burleigh Public Relations. Special thanks also to Andy and Rebecca of Merrivale.
|The Open Kitchen for all to see|