Sunday, April 8, 2012

Review: Wildfire

Ground Level

Overseas Passenger Terminal
Circular Quay West
ph: 02 8273 1222

Sun - Thurs: 12pm - 11pm
Fri: 12pm - 12am
Sat: 6pm - 12am

Wildfire is a restaurant we have been umming and ahhing about trying out for some time. Given some bad experiences of eating out in the Circular Quay precinct we just weren't sure if it would all lead to disappointment and a case of a restaurant that over promised and under delivered. Given our recent fabulous dinner at Mad Cow (another place that claims to really know their meat) we figure we should give it a go.

It is Sunday lunch on the harbour and unfortunately the sky is grey but on arrival we are seated with quite a fantastic view of the Opera House. Wildfire has quite an impressive room and seems very popular with larger groups with a number of families gathering.

Uncharacteristically for us, Squeak and I seem to switch roles today and she orders the Roasted Duck with freeze dried mandarin, foie gras butter, candied peel and toasted gingerbread spice to start. It is a beautifully plated dish on arrival. The skin looks delicious and the colours of the mandarin really set it off. Squeak quite enjoys the flavours of the dish, but unfortunately the duck is quite overcooked and as a result is dry and the skin which tantalised her earlier is not remotely crispy and is actually a bit rubbery.

I, strangely for me, decide to order the Potato Consomme with spherical sour crème, fermented black garlic paste, smoked leek and kipfler potatoes. The first thing I notice is that the consomme is not as clear as I expect, however the flavour is good. The kipflers are nice, but the element that really sets this dish apart is the fermented black garlic paste. The flavour this gave the dish really is outstanding.

So a hit and a miss with the starters, but we are really keen to try the steaks. Ever since the 'best steak we've ever tried' experience with the Inside Skirt Wagyu at Mad Cow we are pretty committed to sticking with the Wagyu. Squeak orders the Wagyu Rump Cap with a marble Score of 9+, while I decide upon the Wagyu Flat Iron with a marble Score of 7+.

The steaks are served simply with a wedge of lemon, a choice of condiments and a spoonful of what appears to be a a celeriac 'slaw. The meat is centre stage on the plate! Squeak's Wagyu Rump Cap is cooked nicely but simply does not have the amazing flavour she had expected.

My Flat Iron Wagyu is beautifully cooked, and is very tender to eat. I, too, am disappointed somewhat though as its flavour is unremarkable. Both steaks are nice - they just aren't amazing.

The steaks do come with a selection of condiments which are brought to the table and served to you. Squeak opts for both horseradish cream and bearnaise, while I also choose the horseradish, but go for the green chimi churri instead as my 2nd choice.  It is a shame that you get one rather small teaspoon  of each... but hey, maybe we are just being greedy.

Squeak has been particularly excited to try the Hand cut chips tossed in rendered duck fat with orange, thyme and star anise salt... how fantastic do they sound? The salt is tasty - on the few chips that managed to catch the few grains that fell on them.

The organic carrots roasted with Pedro Ximenez, labna, dill, mint and fennel seeds are nicely cooked and the herbs work well with them. For the price ($14 and $13 respectively) the serve sizes of the side dishes are a little tight. Fine for just the two of us, not so much if there are more of you.

Dessert is coming and we want something to wow us! Squeak opens the menu and knows exactly what she is going to get within a nanosecond.

One word - Lemon.

She cannot remember what it entails except to say there is cheesecake, lemon gel, white chocolate, some fantastic crunchy crumbs and a variety of other bits of lemony goodness. It is an absolutely beautiful dish to look at, and Squeak is not remotely disappointed by how it tastes either.

I am torn between a few, but ultimately decide upon the dessert entitled Caramel. I, too, cannot recall what is in it. There is parfait, there are chewy caramel chunks, there is a cream of some description and I think there is some prune element there also. It is a nice dessert, and the chewy caramel bits are very good. I do feel though it is largely one texture. A bit of crunch would have added to it I think. So I am left with a bit of dessert envy  at the stupendous dessert named 'Lemon'!

Melbourne has made us suckers for a petit four - they seem to accompany every meal - so we cannot go past a selection of petit fours to accompany our coffees. We select the cherry and coconut, and pineapple and fennel macarons, the white chocolate and pistachio mini eclair,  as well as a strawberry and vanilla cream fruit gel.

The cherry and coconut macaron is disappointing as the texture is all wrong, whereas the pineapple and fennel macaron is very good. The dehydrated pineapple accompanying it on the plate is a treat also. The pictachio eclair is surprisingly full of a pistachio cream and has good flavour but the starwberry fruit gel is the winner with a really intense strawberry jam like flavour.

Service... what do I say? Service isn't rude, it is just disinterested. This wouldn't seem quite so blatant, except we happen to be sitting next to a couple who seem to be receiving some very convivial service... great for them... but why can't this level of service be delivered to everyone? The bit that tops it all off though is the 15 minute wait for the bill, which appears within 30 seconds once it is requested a second time.  Not a big deal... just irritating.

So... did we enjoy our meal?  Yes, it was nice. Some hits and some misses, but overall a nice meal. It just didn't hit the high notes we had wanted it to.

Wildfire Sydney on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

Jasmin said...

Wildfire was the first restaurant that The GD took me to when we started dating and it was such a WOW! experience.
The food was incredible and the service was great and yet, successive visits have just seen it get worse and worse.

The service has become terrible and what used to be amazing steaks are now just, fine.

It has been a massive disappointment for us, but with the prices being what they are, it's not the kind of place you want to go to for fine...

If you're looking for amazing steaks in The Rocks, The Cut Bar and Grill underneath The Argyle Hotel is amazing and their Sher F1 Wagyu Standing Rib Roast is incredible.