Bianca: I am embarrassed to say it took me as long as it did to visit Nomad, a restaurant come, bakery, cheese maker and wine cellar. With a clear focus on the ‘flavours of the Mediterranean’, it really was an amalgamation of quality Australian produce driven by a passion for nourishing and wholesome food.
I went twice in the space of a week, I enjoyed it that much. With my second visit tipping me over from ‘liking’ the food at Nomad to ‘loving’ the food. What shocked me initially was the size of the restaurant. Dining on top of other patrons has generally become accepted in the Sydney scene, with tables plopped so close together we may as well get comfy and sidle up to our dinner neighbours. Table real estate has really become a luxury I appreciate, so I was pleased to see a large open plan layout with a few nooks and crannies housing tables. With seating at the kitchen tip and at the bar, it’s easy to imagine stopping in after work for a quick tipple and a charcuterie board.
My first visit was with fellow food lover @SSHTEVE where we discussed our love for fashion and burgers – two things that probably should never go together. Being dutiful gourmands we had perused the menu prior to our visit and took the menu as a cursory routine. We were set to order as soon as we sat down, food obsessed people don’t mess around.
To start, I just had to try their ‘Woodfired Sourdough’ w/Za’atar and olive oil $2.5 pp. Besides burgers, a good slice (loaf) of bread and butter is easily one of my favourite meals. I wish that I was joking… I will say that I enjoyed the bread more on my second visit as I couldn’t help but think it was perhaps slightly fresher and not as ‘tough’. While not necessarily typical of a za’atar recipe I got an overwhelming hit of fennel, one of those spices I detest. But the oil was tasty. Let’s face it, I’m the last person to complain when someone waves a piece of bread in my face. Like Britney, it’s a never-ending loop of “Gimme, Gimme more”!!
I’ve never seen a savoury take on a churro, so we both couldn’t look past the ‘Goats Cheese Churros’ –w/truffle honey $18. If there was a must order dish at Nomad it would be a toss-up between this one and the porchetta. However, that’s easily rectified by getting both. Whilst I usually have an aversion to goat’s cheese, this was a fairly mild and muted rendition perhaps offset by the honey. I didn’t get any truffle flavourings at all. And the churros? I’m giving you an imaginary thumbs up as we speak. Crispy, soft and salty.
Rounding out our starters we finished with the ‘Moreton Bay Bugs’ – House smoked Bacon, Prawn Mayo $27. Prior to my visit to Nomad I had never eaten a M Bay Bug, with my only interaction with lobster being a rather dastardly encounter at The Rook. Thinking back I don’t recall any bacon or prawn taste whatsoever – it was really a chilli and prominent pepper flavour. The bugs themselves were sweet, juicy and plump.
Our late lunch booking meant they were out of Porchetta, so cue return visit and segue into our replacement dish. The ‘BBQ Wagyu Skirt’ – Charred Mushroom, Pedro Ximenz $39. Expertly cooked to a medium rare, I’ll extoll the generic ‘melt in your mouth and like butter’ comments. Unexpectedly, I was really impressed with the mushrooms on the base of the dish – charred ‘anything’ usually has my undivided attention.
To accompany the wagyu we settled on the ‘BBQ Cauliflower’ w/Almond Tarator & Manchego $16. Let me just say, Nomad has done for cauliflower what Porteno has done for Brussel Sprouts. Nuff said. The dusting of manchego was really the perfect accent, adding a subtle salty hit.
My second visit 3 days later was with Alex, my photos were sheizer so felt a return visit needed to take place. Plus, the entire family were out watching a soccer game so it was the perfect excuse for a sneaky mid-week meal.
Unfortunately for Alex he missed out on the churros because I wouldn’t allow any double ups, minus the bread. Ya snooze ya lose. Our dinner started with the ‘Hommus’ – w/pickled chilli & flatbread $14. The flatbread was masterful, the first initial bites were reminiscent of a pizza dough in both taste and smell. Really comforting in this cool weather, the portion size though, really skint. We got an extra serve for $4 to finish off the generous serve of the creamy Hommus, there was a bit of heat from the chilli but nothing that detracted from the flavour profile.
There was a period a few years ago where I would whip up savoury empanadas and try to fatten up all my friends and family – now I’m all about the sweet bakes. Nomads ‘Smoked Pork Empanadas’ –w/ Nomad hot sauce $15 with luscious slow cooked pork strands with slight notes of smoky chorizo flavour. The pastry was short and crumbly and the accompanying Harissa hot sauce added that real fire in the belly kick.
I had a major case of FOMO when I was told the few days prior, that they had run out of the Porchetta, so I knew that I had to return. So here we have ‘Wood Roasted Porchetta’ –w/Moroccan spiced carrot, mandarin and kale $38. Firstly, the pork. Simply stunning, tender melt in your mouth pork juxtaposed with the crispy crackling. Which wasn’t stated on the menu. That’s basically akin to, paying to see a Iggy Azalea concert and having Azealia Banks rock up and show her how it’s done. A little rap analogy for you. In other words, unexpected crispy crackling. The carrot puree, was a nice addition to really bump up the vegetable count. I really loved the puffed barley, side note… how does one puff barley? The crispy kale while flavoursome was slightly oily, funnily it tasted just like a pappadum. Weird. No hesitation, order this! Go Now!!
And to go with the main Alex picked the ‘Pork Fat Spuds’ w/ Mojo Rojo $9. I love my crispy potates but these didn’t blow us away. Mojo meaning sauce, is the name for a range of sauces varying in spiciness. The red mojo or Mojo Rojo is made with small red peppers, paprika, olive oil, salt and water. Strangely, we picked up odd pineapple notes…We have no idea what that was about.
Both occasions I was too full for dessert, which is a crying shame because that Valhrona Chocolate was SCREAMING my name!!
Photos by Bianca and Alex