21 Bay Street
Lunch (from Midday) and Dinner (from 5pm)
Breakfast from 9am
It is yet another cold, wet & windy Sydney day. We need comfort food, something warming to the body & soul. We have long wanted to dine at Dietmar Sawyere's Ad Lib Bistro and today seemed a better day than most to sample his take on bistro fare.
Ad Lib Double Bay is quite a large space with a classic 'bistro' fitout (think dark, warm woods & classic white tablecloths).
The menu is also classic bistro with entrees that include: Duck Liver parfait, Onion marmalade; Onion Soup Gratinee; Roast Portobello mushrooms, snails & parsley crumbs....all very appealing.
Buggles however, decides to go with Sugar Cured Salmon with Herb & Shallot Mascarpone & Toasted Brioche.She is a little taken aback initially with the rather bijoux appearance of the dish. There seems almost far too much brioche for the amount of salmon. The salmon however is very fresh and tasty while the shallot and herb mascarpone has great flavour.
The Spaghettini with Shiitake Mushrooms, Garlic, Parsley & Chilli is what speaks to me today. The thin spaghetti is cooked perfectly al dente... the garlic, while quite predominant, still does not overpower the plump, fleshy mushrooms, and the chilli adds an ever so slight welcome heat. A thoroughly enjoyable start.
The mains portion of the menu is very tempting indeed with choices such as: Boudin Noir with caramelised apple &celeriac; Veal liver sauteed with onions, mushrooms, madeira & cream; or perhaps Fish Fillet Meuniere with almond, green beans & beurre noisette.
Sirloin Steak with Beurre Cafe de Paris is Buggles' selection today. The steak while not tough, nor chewy, does have an odd texture to it, best described as somewhat grainy. It is cooked well though, & has excellent flavour. There is also slight zinginess to the dish which is quite refreshing.
The side of Roesti Potatoes is a wonderful mix of crunchy shards & fluffy strips which are truly delicious.
After my last disappointing beef cheek at Pickwick's, I decide to once again try & put this craving to bed. Slow Braised Rangers Valley Beef Cheek with Pomme Puree is just what the doctor ordered. A wonderfully rich, velvety, pull apart tender, melt in the mouth, cheek sitting beside a mound of creamy, buttery mash surrounded by a moat of dark, decadent braising liquid. Who can ask for more? It is utterly delectable. The side of Buttered Baby Carrots are a little too soft for our tastes, but they have good flavour & are quite buttery.
Buggles finishes with the Medjool Date and Pecan Pudding, Caramel and Vanilla Bean Icecream. The pudding is moist & plump full of dates. The surrounding toffee sauce is rich, golden & delicious while the vanilla icecream is lusciously creamy. This really is a perfect dessert for the wintry day.
The Chocolate Mousse (served at the table with a generous pour of cream), ends the meal ideally for me. It is a relatively dainty serve & while quite chocolatey, it isn't heavy & overly filling.
The service at Ad Lib is a bit hit & miss. It borders between disinterested & relatively friendly, depending on who is dealing with you.
This was a very enjoyable lunch & has certainly made the Buggles & Squeak "must do again" list. It is very reasonably priced with entrees ranging from $12-$32; mains from $25-$45 and all desserts a mere $12.