Working in the city centre has always seemed like a nightmare to me, people everywhere, dealing with the argy bargy folk that are either on a mission and nearly knock you over. Or the kind that stop mid walk and you nearly knock over. Which is why I count my lucky stars I work in Surry Hills, were I’m blessed with both my personal space and some awesome café’s.
I do however, get a little bit of food envy when I hear about recent openings in the city – power lunches are a bit of a mystery to me. I only get half an hour at work to scoff my food, have a chit chat and race back to my desk so I’m always a little envious of those milling around at lunchtimes. Which is why I devote most of my Fridays (my day off) to food related adventures, coincidentally always in or around the city.
Bowery Lane was on my ever growing list of places to visit, I was drawn to its New York inspired menu consisting of Bagels, Boston Beans and Burgers. Opening initially just for breakfast and lunch, Bowery Lane recently expanded to dinner services on the 9th of September.
Walking into Bowery Lane you instantly feel transported to a swanky NYC eatery, with exposed rendered concrete walls, wooden floors, prominent black furnishings and snug booth seating. Not overly stylised but with a clear chic, industrial vibe.
Plonking ourselves down on the large communal table we settled in along with 15 or so other Sydney Food Bloggers for what was going be a ginormous meat fest. First up, from the ‘snacks’ portion of the menu, were the ‘Char Grilled Lamb Ribs’ – w/ chimmi churri & rocket. $14. Delectably soft and easily pulling away from the bone, these were one of the highlights of the night. I generally dislike most things on the bone, predominately because I’m lazy but these were tasty little morsels. We all liked the addition of the chimmi churri adding that punchy herby flavour hit.
Next were the ‘Manchego Croquettes’ – w/smoked chilli aioli’ $14. Always a sucker for an arancini or croquette (general gist is fried cheesy goodness). The first bite was an instant hit of the smoked aioli, which I enjoyed. The aioli was quite strong so it was a little hard to discern any manchego flavour but these were still delicious with and without the smoked chilli aioli.
Being a big big fan of hamburgers, what could be better than full grown burgers? Baby burgers!! I’ve gotten into the trap of thinking ordering trio’s of sliders totally cancels each other out and equal one regular sized burger. I like that illusion and will blissfully continue living in my happy place. A sight to behold for any food lover, boards full of sliders were then brought out to the large table. With trays of both ‘Yamba Prawn Sliders’ – w/ iceberg & fennel slaw. $16 and the ‘Rare Tuna Sliders’ – w/guacamole and pickled cucumber. $16. It was unanimous amongst the FFS’akers that the prawn slider was the favourite with the tuna slider having a pleasant taste but unusual mouth feel.
Moving along to ‘entrées’, we then had the ‘Master Kobe Wagyu’ – 9+ inside skirt w/chermoula, lemon. $16. Another standout dish, the wagyu was a perfect ‘medium rare- medium’ and benefited from the forceful kick of the chermoula – a marinade consisting of herbs, oil, lemon juice, garlic, cumin and salt.
We then sampled the ‘Jamon Serrano’ – w/ buffalo mozzarella, witlof rocket and shaved pear. $19. A really strong dish, having a bite with every element, the flavours balanced out nicely.
The last dish from the ‘entrée’ portion of the menu was the ‘House Smoked Hickory Salmon’ – w/puffed wild rice, bottarga salad and burnet’ $17. Perhaps after all the heavy hitting flavours we had tried prior, this was a rather subtle dish that may have flown under the radar for many. I’m not the greatest fan of seafood anyways, so this didn’t do much for me.
Vegetarians avert your eyes.
On to the shared plates. Between the table, one each of the four ‘shared plates’ were placed on the table, as we all did a bit of to-ing and fro-ing swapping dishes back and forth. We happened upon the ‘Pork Collar & Scratchings’ – w/ apple, parsley & fennel salad and spiced pear chutney. $46. Juicy and tender, the apple and fennel salad added some much needed texture as the pork was very soft. And the crackling? Who doesn’t love crackling!
We then sampled the ‘Whole BBQ Organic Chicken’ – w/ lentil & grains & smoked yoghurt. $48. The chicken was succulent and moist, I did enjoy the creamy addition of the grains, lentils and yoghurt tying it all together.
Next was the ‘1KG Braised Wagyu Short Rib’ – w/ horseradish cream & roasted garlic $58. This was the shared dish I was probably most looking forward to, having a little bit of an obsession with all things slow cooked these days. Falling straight off the bone, these short ribs did not disappoint, getting a little too caught up in all the eating I didn’t try it with the horseradish so can’t comment on the cohesiveness of the dish, all I know was that short rib was dee-lish…
The last of the shared plates was my pick of the bunch, the ‘Slow Cooked Lamb Shoulder’ – w/ lemon garlic dressing & watercress. $55. A really well executed slow cooked lamb. I really could not fault any of the shared dishes, they were all equally delicious and would easily feed 3-4 people.
My penultimate favourite of the night was the ‘Tempura Soft Shell Crab Burger’ – w/Asian slaw and miso mayonnaise. $22. Off the main menu, several were brought to the table for us to divide and share. Prior to Bowery Lane I had never had a fried soft shell crab, let alone one in a burger. Boy had I been missing out. Yes, while I’m not that keen on loads of seafood, generally battering it and throwing it in the deep fryer works miracles. One of the stand outs on the whole menu.
And because we had hardly eaten anything all night……. We were given the option of ordering our own mains. We were told this earlier in the night so purposely left a little space in the tum tum, for myself I had my eyes on one thing and one thing only…the Cheeseburger! Devastation, is probably the word I’d use when we found out they were no longer available. I sucked it up because… well really, I think we’d all eaten enough at this point. Vanessa opted for the ‘Pork Cotoletta’ – slaw, garlic aioli, lemon and sea salt. $27. Fancy talk for Schnitty and this was a good one, was a tad oily so it became incredibly heavy after a few bites but the flavour was there. We passed tipping point about 2 dishes earlier so we had a few bites and had our mains boxed. Alex and I shared the ‘Duck Ragu’ –w/pappadelle, chilli pancetta & parsley $26. I kind of blurted this one out when I was asked for a main, it’s a complete 180* from anything I would ordinarily order. Pasta was perfectly al dente, the duck was soft and plentiful and melted in your mouth but ultimately I found the ragu itself quite thin and a little bland.
We also couldn’t resist the ‘Reece’s Peanut Butter Cup Milkshake’ $7. We opted to get ours with skim milk because everyone knows when you add skim milk to anything you can totally add more chocolate and ice-cream. I’m a peanut butter fan from way back and loved the strong peanut butter flavour, I just wished it was a little thicker.
Sadly we’ve all been cursed with a massive sweet tooth and despite being full to the brim we shared two desserts between us. The first being the ‘Strawberry Shortcake’ – w/vanilla bean ice-cream & macerated berries. One for those wanting to end a meal on a lighter note. It was quite a refreshing way to end the evening. The very last dish of the night was the ‘Jar of Cookies & Cream’ – w/honeycomb, vanilla & dark chocolate. Our preferred dessert of the night, we loved the addition of the chocolate cookie crumbs. A much more decadent way to end a meal.
We were pretty impressed with the food and venue and will now make it our mission to come back for that elusive cheeseburger.
Photos by Alex
*For Food’s Sake were invited to Bowery Lane by Wasamedia, all opinions however are independent and our own.