Pigging out at Restaurant Atelier, Glebe

by Forager on May 22, 2010

I’ve finally made it to the last birthday related post!  In this post I mentioned that my mother’s birthday fell 2 days before mine this year due to some glitch in the lunar calendar. Well, to crowd the birthday space just that bit more, the Co-pilot’s younger sister, Phi, celebrates her birthday the day before mine. So I have the odd task of shopping for and buying someone else a birthday present around the time of my own birthday – but on the upside, we celebrate our birthdays together with the rest of the Co-pilot’s family.

For Phi’s birthday, the Co-pilot’s mum chose Restaurant Atelier in Glebe. The Co-pilot and I used to live in the colourful suburb of Glebe (incidentally, the word Glebe means land belong to the Church), so we knew the restaurant well but we hadn’t dined there since we moved from Glebe a few years ago. In preparation,  I did my research and asked a well respected foodie friend on what to order from the current menu.

Restaurant Atelier lies hidden in a quiet sandstone cottage just off busy Parramatta Road. Their dining room was just as I remembered it – warm and cosy with soft lighting – great for intimate dinners, not so food-blogger photo friendly. Oh well, just as well I deliberately left my note book at home as I intended to be off duty for this meal.

Who was  trying to kid? Note pad or not, it took me a mere 2 minutes before I started taking photos.

Restaurant Atelier in Glebe

Restaurant Atelier

I sipped on a tasty, light mango beer whilst I perused the menu. Then as a surprise, we were presented with a bottle of Piper Heidsieck champagne, courtesy of Stewart, the foodie friend I’d consulted earlier. Thank you! It was a lovely treat and kick started our night of indulgence and gluttony.

Celebratory drinks

Celebratory drinks

We note that on Tuesdays to Thursday nights, Restaurant Atelier has a midweek dinner special: 3 courses for $65pp. And given we’re all having trouble deciding what to have and how to narrow those choices down, getting the 3 course special and sharing sounds like the winning option.

The sommelier, Evan Mitchell, comes over to announce the night’s specials in his deep, baritone, booming voice. Dishes made from Berkshire black cross pork make up a few of the entree and main specials and my ears prick up. I usually prefer pork over other cuts of meat, but my insider tips have also hinted that head Chef, Darren Templeman, does amazing things with pork. Sold – I’ll have all the pork you can stuff into me thanks!

The rest of the table choose different options from the menu ensuring we have a good tasting from the entire menu.

To start, we were offered an amuse bouche – but here’s where my lack of notebook failed me. I have no idea what it was – was it arancini? It looks like it could have been. I just remember it being tasty and polishing the plate clean. I blame my memory loss on old age.

Amuse bouche

Mystery amuse bouche

For her entree, the Co-pilot’s mother chose the oxtail consomme. I didn’t get to try this myself but by all accounts it was a very tasty and rich dish. Certainly, those plump, juicy scallops resting on top would’ve satisfied me.

Oxtail consomme with madeira, smoked scallops, woodear mushrooms, upland cress

Oxtail consomme with madeira, smoked scallops, woodear mushrooms, upland cress

The Co-pilot and I shared all our courses (as per usual) and we chose the entree special of pork and veal sausages with rocket, walnut and fennel salad. The sausages were juicy and full of flavour, the richness lifted by the bitter notes in the  rocket, fennel and tannin-rich walnuts.

Pork sausages

Seasonal special: pork and veal sausages

The second entree we shared was the wagyu tartare. The tartare was just delicious: the rich fatty wagyu combined with the gooey egg yolk sliding down my throat effortlessly, the herbs and chopped cornichons in the tartare adding to the dish’s piquancy. I don’t often eat tartare but every time I do I’m reminded how much I enjoy it.

New Zealand First Light wagyu tartare, King Island free range egg, smoked parsnip

New Zealand First Light wagyu tartare, King Island free range egg, smoked parsnip

The Co-pilot’s father and sisters, Phi & Liv, ordered the marron tail and were presented with a wonderfully vibrant dish popping with bright colours. The fat marron tail was a generous size and elicited groans of delight, but it was pea and ham ice cream that was most interesting, so true to flavour it raised eyebrows and surprised murmurs of appreciation.

West Australian marron tail with foie gras mousse, fresh pea salad, pea and ham ice cream, crisp pork jowl

West Australian marron tail with foie gras mousse, fresh pea salad, pea and ham ice cream, crisp pork jowl

On to our mains. The Co-pilot’s sisters shared the duck breast – a delectable piece of crispy seared skin with tender, rosy pink breast beneath.

Roasted breast of Grimauld duckling, crisp confit leg with baby beetroot, swede & trevisio, xeres jus

Roasted breast of Grimauld duckling, crisp confit leg with baby beetroot, swede & trevisio, xeres jus

The Co-pilot’s mother had the fish – a visually impressive dish of John Dory fillets in the center surrounded with alternating pillars of potato and Eryngii mushrooms that looked like cute little toadstools. The red elk on top just added the illusion of moss to the whimsical forest scene.

Poached fillets of John Dory with Welsh laverbread, olive oil poached potatoes, Eryngii mushrooms and red elk

Poached fillets of John Dory with Welsh laverbread, olive oil poached potatoes, Eryngii mushrooms and red elk

Speaking of visually impressive dishes, the Co-pilot and I shared the venison. A bold half moon of vivid confit carrot puree leapt from the plate and contrasted sharply with the dark hues of the venison and sauce drizzled over the plate. Incidentally, the venison was delicious too! Venison is a very lean meat that is easily overcooked, but this was very tender. The cocoa added a touch of bitter earthiness that contrasted the sweetness of the dish.

Cocoa roasted striploin of New Zealand venison, confit carrot puree, baby turnips in a licorice infused sauce

Cocoa roasted striploin of New Zealand venison, confit carrot puree, baby turnips in a licorice infused sauce

The other dish we shared was another pork special – the pork loin. Placed before us were thickly sliced slabs of pork loin but our eyes were drawn to that perfect rectangle of crackling on top. And it was as toothsome as it looked – the crackling initially snaps and crunches under my teeth releasing that delicious salty, porky flavour, then gives way to the gooeyness that remains like pork flavoured taffy. It’s the Co-pilot’s favourite texture: “crunchy-chewy”. The pork loin itself was tender and juicy – it was so much porky goodness – a moreish dish that I could eat anyday.

Seasonal special: Crispy pork loin of Large Berkshire Black Cross pig

Seasonal special: Crispy pork loin of Large Berkshire Black Cross pig

The Co-pilot’s sisters opted for the other pork special – the confit pork belly. Madness! As if pork belly wasn’t fatty and rich enough – who needs a confit version? But their groans of delight from his sisters and quiet whispers of “so good” between mouthfuls proved me otherwise.

Confit pork belly

Seasonal special: confit pork belly

For our dessert courses we decided to pool and share our choices amongst the table – cheeses and 3 tempting desserts. We started with the cheese platter – a variety of pungent blues, ripe and oozing soft cheeses and sharp crumbly cheddars.

Cheese platter

Cheese platter: a variety of sharp, tasty and smelly cheeses

As we were sharing, the desserts came all at once.  The Co-pilot and I chose the tonka bean creme brulee – a no brainer as our source had advised that Darren Templeman has a penchant for tonka bean desserts, and because the Co-pilot adores the toffee top on creme brulees. It was silky and creamy with a subtle flavour like nutty vanilla.

Tonka bean creme brulee with balsamic poached strawberries, vanilla ice cream and black olive syrup

Tonka bean creme brulee with balsamic poached strawberries, vanilla ice cream and black olive syrup

Our second dessert was the fig leaf and vanilla pannacotta. The wobbly pannacotta was rich and creamy but the flavour was just vanilla for me – any fig leaf flavours were too subtle for me to detect. Nonetheless, the sweet fresh figs and buttery rich ice cream was a nice pairing.

Fig leaf and vanilla infused pannacotta with a butter ice cream and sherry reduction

Fig leaf and vanilla infused pannacotta with a butter ice cream and sherry reduction

Our last dessert choice was the pear and caramel souffle.  The souffle arrived puffed and perky alongside a milkshake adorned with a chocolate straw.  I always find it a shame to have to deflate the delicate souffle balloon, but the mouthful of light, airy sweet pear flavoured souffle soon dashes away any reservations I had. The accompanying milkshake was sweet, foamy, ever so subtley pear flavoured with a hint of  molten chocolate from the edible straw.

Pear and caramel souffle with milk chocolate and chicory icecream, poire william milkshake

Pear and caramel souffle with milk chocolate and chicory icecream, poire william milkshake

On that sweet note we end of the night satiated – we’ve celebrated Phi’s birthday by sharing delicious fresh, sweet and savoury dishes with family. There are birthday wishes all around as we parted for the night, the Co-pilot’s twenty-something sisters gathered their things for a music gig they were due at and asked me and the Co-pilot whether we’d liked to go. The Co-pilot and I rubbed our swollen bellies and without a moment’s hesitation pointed out that it was a school night and we both had to work the next day. As his sisters sauntered off to their gig, the Co-pilot, his parents and I headed home and at that point, on the eve of the last day of my twenties, I realised I haven’t been twenty for quite a while.

Restaurant Atelier

22 Glebe Point Road, Glebe; (02)9566-2112

email: e...@restaurantatelier.com.au

Open for dinner: Tuesday – Saturday from 6pm; BYO Tuesday – Friday (corkage applies)

www.restaurantatelier.com.au

Foodie in the know:

As mentioned in the post, on Tuesdays to Thursday nights, Restaurant Atelier has a midweek dinner special: 3 courses for $65pp. They also offer a tailored degustation for $85pp, or $140 with matched wines. Oh, and try the pork.

Restaurant Atelier on Urbanspoon


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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Trisha May 23, 2010 at 12:31 am

I haven’t been here for quite some time and I’m loving the cool new layout Trina! :)

2 Trissa May 23, 2010 at 4:02 am

I dont get to go to glebe as much as I’d like to but rest assured I’ll be baco soon if only For the savory ice cream!

3 Simon Food Favourites May 23, 2010 at 12:31 pm

that’s a huge pig out. i find it quite funny when we all try and challenge ourselves to eat so much these days. a lot more than we actually need to and then we feel so full and sometimes sick of eating so much. why do we do this to ourselves. i guess because we can. i don’t think i ever eat like this at home. usually it’s a cooked main meal and then maybe some dessert but when i go out i seem to want to try an entree, a main and dessert and usually regret sometimes that i’ve eaten so much. :-) we are so spoilt for choice these days.

4 Mark @ Cafe Campana May 23, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Wow this is a great selection of food. I really love the presentation of all the dishes. What a good night out.
.-= Mark @ Cafe Campana´s last blog ..International Incident Party – Butterscotch Apple Dumplings =-.

5 Adrian @ Food Rehab May 23, 2010 at 8:53 pm

oooh, never had a Pear and caramel souffle- looks so good. Oh, and I guess you can’t have too much Pork Belly huh?! LOL Pass me the cracking!

6 Ellie (Almost Bourdain) May 24, 2010 at 10:42 am

Wow! What a feast you had :)
.-= Ellie (Almost Bourdain)´s last blog ..Duck a L’Orange and Tony Bilson’s Fine Family Cooking – Book Review =-.

7 Sara (Belly Rumbles) May 24, 2010 at 11:16 am

Two of my biggest weaknesses there, crispy pork crackling and a decent cheese platter…….. and then there is the duck. I would still be sitting there trying to work out what to order.
.-= Sara (Belly Rumbles)´s last blog ..Daring Cooks Challenge, May – Stacked Green Chile & Grilled Chicken Enchilada =-.

8 Gourmantic May 24, 2010 at 12:17 pm

That’s a lot to eat! And that marron looks very appetising…

I share your thoughts on “planning” to be off duty then giving in. I did the same for my birthday dinner. Now I’m rethinking my strategy.
.-= Gourmantic´s last blog ..Tasting the Mediterranean =-.

9 Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella May 24, 2010 at 12:51 pm

The food there is fantastic I agree! It’s been too long between visits. And hehe good to know that the urge to blog about it struck!
.-= Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella´s last blog ..Love Grub, Alexandria =-.

10 AY May 25, 2010 at 9:59 am

you’re making me drool on a tuesday morning at work. oh no, have to wait at least another three days to visit this place haha. it looks mighty delicious!
.-= AY´s last blog ..Review: The Falconer, Darlinghurst =-.

11 rosie May 25, 2010 at 11:04 am

OMG I was hungry before I read that… running off for lunch and unfortunately anything will do! Love Rosie
.-= rosie´s last blog ..SCRIBBLE KNITTING =-.

12 betty May 26, 2010 at 3:40 pm

what a massive meal! and that pear caramel souffle looks lovely
.-= betty´s last blog ..Spinach, rocket, roast pumpkin & pan fried haloumi salad with a honey & basalmic vinegar dressing =-.

13 Forager June 7, 2010 at 9:54 pm

Hey Trisha – Thanks. Five months in the making but worth it I think :)

Hey Trissa – The pea icecream was amazing. So flavourful!

Hey Simon – I agree with you. I’m definitely guilty of glutting myself at every opportunity. It ain’t a pretty sight

Hey Mark – Oh I couldn’t fault our selection. Everything was delicious!

Hey Adrian – Are you kidding me? Of course not. No one can have too much pork belly!

Hey Ellie – Definitely a massive feast! But for good reason

Hey Sara – That’s why you force people to share with you – takes the problem of choosing out of your hands

Hey Gourmantic – I think the only strategy that works is deliberately leaving the camera at home. Can you do it? I suffer from FOMO – I have fear of missing out.

Hey Lorraine – Ah the compulsive foodblogger’s curse!

Hey AY – I know! The perils of reading posts before lunch!

Hey Rosie – I know you would’ve loved this place! One for the list when you’re back in Sydney?

Hey Betty – Massive indeed, but we’re gluttons so took it in our stride..

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