[invite] Bianca: Opening in early July, District Brasserie is delivering some fantastic, top quality food to inner city patrons. I say this with high levels of jealousy. I rarely get to the city but I know what I’d be adding to my rotation list if I did.
Operating as a full 200 seater restaurant, from breakfast to dinner. As well as a bakery, for those on the run. I made it a point to get a takeaway Almond Croissant and I don’t let loose with my praise often (especially when it comes to pastries) but this was a good one.
The interior is impressive, dark and moody, with strong wooden hues and deep plush caramel leather furnishings. The centrepiece bar and open kitchen being strong focal points.
The menu is fairly meat heavy but there are some delicate, lighter offerings thrown in for good measure. Making their bread in-house (naturally, with the bakery attached) it was an easy decision. I just had to try the Naturally fermented organic sourdough w/ cultured butter $3.50. Soft, with a great crumb and without that sour, slight vinegary taste of a strong sourdough. The only misstep here was serving the bread cold, with cold butter.
I was impressed by the Raw Cobia – w/macadamia, radish, ponzu & kaffir lime $26. Definitely one of the prettier dishes we were presented with. Very fresh and light, the macadamia puree giving a bold nuttiness. The cobia was an excellent conduit for the other flavours to shine, whilst remaining tender and slightly sweet. The citrus from the ponzu tying it all together. We were impressed by the varying textures, venue manager Simone, letting us in on a little secret, with the most interesting ingredient in the dish. The puffed fish skin.
Instantly becoming one of our favourites, Crispy Pork Belly, red cabbage puree, pink lady apple $23. There’s a lot to be excited about here, the pork belly cooked beautifully, luscious and fatty, perfectly executed crispy crackling. The puree, earthy and smooth. The cooked cabbage and apple, both lighter elements to dial down the heaviness of the pork.
On sheer prettiness alone, the Heirloom Beetroots, goats cheese, delicate leaves & puffed grains $26 gets big points for flavour. The beets were much sweeter than your garden variety beetroot. None of that offending earthiness I can’t stomach. I loved both the texture and flavour of the toasted quinoa.
Always a risky move but the Italian in me can’t pass it up. Ricotta Gnocchi, butternut pumpkin, mushrooms, amaretto, nuts & seeds $30. A very clever play on a traditional gnocchi dish. It’s quite common to have a ricotta ravioli but a stuffed gnocchi is more of a rarity. A thin unobtrusive outer layer of pasta dough encasing the tasty ricotta filling. With just the slightest hint of nutmeg, sourness from the pickled carrot, sweetness from the puree and the crispy sage tying it all together. It’s the sort of pasta dish Alex would adore.
Despite the drawcard of the charcoal oven, once I locked eyes on this next dish it was an easy decision. Jack’s Creek beef short-rib, parsnip, pear & puffed rice $39 and yes I’m known to be a little hyperbolic at times but my lord, hands down one of the best short rib I’ve ever had. Intensely rich, delicate strands of beef pulling away from each other at the slightest prodding. The charred caramelised outer edges dangerously moreish! I was particularly taken by the puffed rice atop the short rib. All working in harmony alongside the concentrated sweetness of the pear puree and roast parsnip.
Our waitress suggested the Brussel Sprouts $9.50 over the triple cooked chips and what a suggestion it was. Deceptively dangerous. Buttery with a slight citrus note. Saltiness from the bacon. Almost Porteno level amazing, I really enjoyed the varying texture’s of ‘doneness’ – with the crispy outer leaves.
We are nothing but seasoned professionals and excitedly narrowed down the dessert field. Mum got her usual Skim Mocha and I will say it’s been one of the better Mochas we’ve had, we were both suitably impressed.
One dessert instantly jumped off the page, Salted Caramel custard, Valrhona chocolate mousse, peanut butter ice-cream $14. If you’re wanting something a little more decadent and rich this is your best bet. Light as air chocolate mousse, crunchy shards of salted caramel, smooth salted caramel custard and a muted peanut butter ice-cream. Texturally it was a delight for the senses with the milk caramel crisp providing some crunch.
And finally, the Passionfruit Brulee, tropical fruits & yoghurt sorbet $14. Surprising even myself, this was probably my favourite dessert of the two. Fresh and light, the floral passion fruit jazzing up what can sometimes be a pedestrian dessert. The fresh pineapple and the sour sharpness from the sorbet both great ways to break up the heaviness of the brulee.
Coming up to 3 months of trading under their belt, District Brasserie are churning out some pretty interesting and fantastic food. But please, don’t forget about the Almond Croissant!
*For Food’s Sake dined as guests of District Brasserie.