Restaurant Review by Ron Lee
To which aspect of a restaurant do you give the highest priority?
Is it the service? Is it the ambience? Is it the view? Or is it even the food?
Sometimes, an eatery attached to an entertainment area might rely on proximity to the entertainment for its business and doesn’t necessarily serve up the finest cuisine.
Before attending the opening night of David Williamson’s latest play, Cruise Control, at the Ensemble Theatre in Kirribilli, we dropped in for a bite at Bayly’s Restaurant which is in the same building.
For the entree, we decided on the Duck Leg & Duck Sausage in a Porcini Mushroom & Autumn Vegetable Ragu on Pappardelle and the Pork Belly on Onion Jam with Chilli Glaze & Small Salad of Sweet Potato, Coriander & Golden Sultanas.
Sound exotic? The Duck Leg, Sausage and the other elements almost battled for flavour supremacy, yet were somehow entirely compatible and complementary. The Pork Belly, on the other hand, was enhanced by the other ingredients and was truly the star of the dish. Both were delightful.
For the mains, we had the Crisp Skin Barramundi topped with Pancetta & Sourdough Crumbs on Cauliflower Puree & Cabernet Butter Sauce and the Roast Veal Fillet on Sour Cream & Chive Mash with Roast Portobello Mushroom, Spinach & Black Pepper Sauce.
The crunchiness and chewiness of the Barra skin nicely juxtaposed with the tenderness of the fish texture and the enhancements of the dish made for a fantastic mix of flavours and textures. The Veal fillet was simpler, yet managed to please the palate with its own combination.
Many restaurants serve delicious meals but over-cook vegetables. The steamed broccoli, beans and snow peas with chive butter were perfectly cooked and maintained their crunch and flavour.
For the desserts, we couldn’t go past the Chocolate Mousse fondant slice with creme anglaise, raspberry sorbet & chilled mini Persian figs and the Strawberry, blueberry, mango & savoiardi biscuit trifle with passionfruit sorbet. Both desserts were absolutely superb and I will admit that I could have been tempted to indulge in more of that passionfruit sorbet. It was the perfect way to both tantalise and cleanse the palate after a more-than satisfying culinary experience.
Sometimes I look at a menu and nothing leaps out as being attractive, and I have occasionally left restaurants because of that. Why would you spend money on food that doesn’t have any appeal? However, at Bayly’s I could have quite happily indulged in anything on the menu. Yes, it’s good.
Add to that a water-level view of Sydney Harbour and you have a delightful and special experience.
So, is it service, ambience, the view or the food?
You can have it all, and Executive Chef Dan Brukarz and Restaurant Manager Gloria Gonzales have been perfectly cast in their roles at Bayly’s Restaurant in the Ensemble Theatre, and they will provide an experience that you will remember and probably revisit.Highly recommended