Sunday, February 5, 2012

Review : Cara&Co Restaurant

Shop 4001 Level 4

Westfield Sydney
188 Pitt Street
+61 2 9226 9988

Cara&Co restaurant has been on the Buggles and Squeak radar for a while now, so when our planned Australia Day lunch to Spice Temple did not eventuate, we figured this was as good a time as any to pop in to Cara&Co for a visit.

Upon entering the Cara&Co Concept Store we are immediately dazzled by its beauty & the amazing array of clothes, handbags, sunglasses (theo etc) and niche fragrances (think M.Micallef, G.Nejman).

Cara&Co aim to cater for all the senses, so as we make our way to the restaurant we certainly hope our sense of ‘taste’ will be well and truly engaged.
The restaurant flows on beautifully from the store, it is both warm & inviting and sleek & modern all at the same time. The tables are well spaced & generous.

Once seated, in a cosy corner booth, we are handed the menu to peruse.

We are immediately drawn to the Monday-Friday lunch special; two courses, plus a glass of wine for $45; or add dessert, coffee/tea and petit fours for an extra $15. 3 courses for $60. I don't know about you, but this screams bargain to me!

The arrival of the delicious potato bread roll accompanied by butter and salt, marks the beginning of our journey.

The first dish to arrive is Cauliflower BonBon with Herring roe and wasabi mayo. Not being a huge 'fish' fan I am concerned that the herring may be too overpowering; thankfully, I am proved incorrect. The cauilflower is rich and creamy with that very distinct cauliflower flavour, the roe does bring a mild fishyness to the dish, which is quickly counterbalanced by the slight heat of the wasabi mayo. A superb way to begin.

Next, Soy wasabi mayo with wild rice soil and horseradish crisp is also very good. Here again, the wasabi within the soy mayo is quite mild, the wild rice soil adds some nice, earthy texture; while the the horseradish crisp adds crunch along with a slight tickle of heat on the tongue. 

Buggles' entree of Fish United (King fish ceviche, preparations of cucumber, dill, sushi gel) is very pretty. The cucumber arrives in grilled, mousse and ice cream forms and each 'preparation' is delicious. The dill oil is pure dill essence. As a complete dish it is fresh, intensely flavoured and a textural wonderland. Buggles LOVES it. 

My Caesar in Disguise is stupendous. An intoxicating combination of green gazpacho, glazed chicken oyster, parmesan crisp, mustard ice cream, lettuce hearts and anchovies.
The gazpacho with its fresh, clean flavour cradles & envelopes the plump, juicy & abundant chicken oysters. The mustard ice cream cold, with a slight heat is divine. The dish as a whole is near flawless; one thing I would have liked, perhaps, is some candied bacon crumbs, just to add a little hint of sweetness and that all important bacon element.

For mains we have both decided on Beef Story (II). Fillet tartare, slowly cooked sirloin, glazed potato, lettuce, pickled tomato and béarnaise sauce 2012. Oh my good God....what an amazing dish. The tartare topped with a gooey (not oozy) quail's egg is perfection (although Buggles believes she's had better), the sirloin is cooked brilliantly and is so juicy & tender. The vegetable elements are all to die for; especially those pickled tomatoes! And for those wondering.... Bearnaise 2012? Well, it is a lighter, much less creamy version of this beloved sauce, that still retains all its spectacular flavour. A main course worthy of topping any "what would be your last meal" list!

The accompanying hand cut chips (with a wonderful house made tomato sauce) and Green salad, are both on the money.

Dessert time and Buggles has gone with Smurfs and Violets. This consists of an almond base topped with strawberry jelly and Belgian chocolate mousse, which is then topped again with a generous pour of rich, melted chocolate; accompanying this is a dish of fresh strawberries with a strawberry and violet mousse and a strawberry and vodka frappe. The strawberries are very fresh and have great flavour, as does the mousse. We aren't sure what the smurf refers to in the name... but who cares when it tastes this good!

My Nutty Lemon is a wonderous concoction of lemon curd and hazelnut. The hazelnut comes in crisp, sponge and roasted forms (painted silver & gold) and the dish also contains some white chocolate fruit balls, which are truly delicious. I enjoy this dessert so much.

And & petit fours. Made up of Tonka bean madeleine, raspberry/ dark chocolate fondant chocolates and caramel almond fudge topped with lemon curd; they are all very good. However, I am a little obsessed with the flavour of Tonka bean, so the madeleine is the standout for me.

The service from both our waitperson and the sommelier is friendly, well informed and relaxed.

So while it took us a while to get here, this is definitely a restaurant that just screams Buggles and Squeak. It is the food we love eating most and a return visit is not that far away.


Cara&Co Restaurant on Urbanspoon


joey@forkingaroundsydney said...

The food here is so pretty and contemporary, but I have been taken aback by the prices when I perused the menu. I wonder how many non-foodies would know of this place though?

chocolatesuze said...

love cara and co! definitely sydney's best kept secret!

Buggles and Squeak said...

Joey... you should definitely try out the midweek lunch special. We were astounded by the value! 2 courses + glass of wine for $45! If you get dessert for an extra $15 you also get tea/coffee as well as the petit fours!

Buggles and Squeak said... for whether or not many people know about it... I think you're right. It may be a place that most may just stumble upon whilst perusing the fabulous store! Shame though... cos we want to see it succeed!

Helen (Grab Your Fork) said...

Have been meaning to get here for ages. Love the idea of a beef story! lol. And the lunch special looks like fantastic value!

john@heneedsfood said...

Gorgeous food! I walk past Cara&Co every day when I head to work and always look in, thinking I need to try the food sometime. That lunchtime special sounds ideal. Pity I only take half an hour for lunch!

OohLookBel said...

The food looks fantastic, and beautifully presented. But the store and restaurant are virtually empty all the time. Hope it becomes more popular.

Vivian - vxdollface said...

going there tonight for dad's birthday! really excited, and the midwk lunch special is real great value

Anonymous said...

I'm not often moved to blog (and my food photos never turn out), but I had to say a big thank you to Buggles and Squeak for introducing me to this place! Have gone 3 times, very impressed every time - am busily telling everyone to go! And their madeleines are absolute heaven (the chef is very obliging - you can order them to take home, if you tell him in advance).

Buggles and Squeak said...

Our pleasure!!