March is the month for foodies in Sydney. Aside from the festivals held around the city, Merivale (the company behind many of the city's most talked about venues) hosts a month of promotional events in their restaurants under the umbrella of 'March Into Merivale' during which diners can take part in special events and deals for lunch and dinner.
Fresh from our trip to London, Mr SSG and I celebrated surviving that cruel first week back at work with lunch at Ms G's today. It was the first time we'd eaten at Dan Hong's mod Asian / dude food eatery in Potts Point. In spite of all the great press Ms G has garnered since it opened in 2010. Okay, I've been living under a rock in Sydney all this time.
The theme for today's lunch was Milk Bar Memories. The inspiration was food from the local corner shop of Dan Hong and Jowett Yu's childhoods. As you can see from the menu, there were references aplenty to chips, takeaway staples and ice cream bars.
|Yes, those are bubble tea straws with the cutlery and serviettes in the foreground.|
Ms G is tucked away on Victoria Street in Potts Point. It's neighbours include a number of back packer hotels and tiny little cafes that would give Melbourne a run for its money in the hipness stakes. I don't get to Potts Point as much as I should. It's such an eclectic suburb. The feel of one street contrasts so sharply to the next. You get the feel that every community in Sydney has give a little of itself to these streets.
The decor inside Ms G is South East Asian Garage. At street level is the bar and a ceiling installation of old jars. Low lying chairs surround a coffee table made of bound old magazines. The dining area is spread over three floors and the kitchen is on the lowest of these. Going to the bathroom is an experience. It's in the basement. Look out for the wall paper of recipes and pages of novels. The sinks are suitably basic and rusted.
Mr SSG and I were seated just up from the ground floor in a room bathed with natural light. Draped ropes at the windows just grazed the 80s speakers (which were pulsing out music of the same vintage) and we looked out from the central communal table into some very lush greenery, almost like the jungle areas of home.
Lunch was $65 per head for five courses and included either a milk shake or a cocktail (served bubble tea style hence the need for the large bore plastic wrapped straws at each table). We didn't have either, drinks from the wine list come at an extra cost.
Our entree was Potato Scallop and Kransky with a Tomato Vinaigrette. The scallop so described because it was served with finely crushed potato chips over the top. It was a dish that crossed many species, cultures and food groups but somehow, it worked.
|Sriracha Chilli Sauce! I'd recognise that green topped bottle of chilli anywhere. It really is the universal chilli sauce.|
Then, we went to hard core fry up territory with a Chiko Roll which was balanced with a Chicken Dim Sim.
Thankfully there batter of the Chiko Roll was less leathery than the original. I don't know how they did it at Ms G's but the filling channelled Chiko in a very uncanny way.
Mr SSG put the Sriracha to good use with the dim sim which was meaty and had the tenderness of being just cooked. Qualities you may or may not be lucky enough to find at the end of the day at the milk bar.
|Prawn toppings from front - Chicken Twistees, Doritos and Burger Rings.|
Who would have though Chip Crusted Prawns would be the bone of contention between Mr SSG and I today? I thought the idea was simple but good. Taste wise, I was prepared to leave any preconceptions behind and go with the flow. After all, there were lime segments and Sriracha on hand. The prawns were a little difficult to deshell but the salty and additive laden crumbs did give the prawn flesh a bit of junk food attitude. Which wasn't a bad thing to me.
Mr SSG though, was mortified and also requested to have his opinion made clear in this post. He tentatively ate his prawns as flash backs to his childhood Sunday lunches at the local Chinese restaurant came back to him. 'This is like when I used to mix Fanta, Coke and Sprite together just to annoy mum...' he stage whispered.
We sat in silence and stared at the cutlery and then each other for a bit. I think he was a bit miffed at missing a perfectly good afternoon of sport on Foxtel more than anything else.
Our final savoury dish was also my favourite. How could you not love an Aussie Burger with Home Made Fries? I attacked the fries first. The rainy weather made me crave them. I was rewarded with a crisp and pleasantly salted baton of potato with a very moreish creamy texture within.
Mr SSG also gave the burger and chips combo a big thumbs up.
The content of the burger was indeed casting central for an Aussie Burger. There were tiny discs of canned beetroot as well as plenty of fried onions and egg.
Dessert was chocolate, caramel, calorific and delicious.
It referenced a Monaco Bar and a Golden Gaytime ice cream. Chocolate brownie sandwiched two scoops of ice cream laced with caramel sauce. Finally, that Golden Gaytime crumb topped it all off.
Rainy Saturdays can be bleak and nondescript but spending today reliving the foods of childhood was memorable, if nothing else.