Monday, June 1, 2009
Gazebo Wine Garden
After meeting Steph from Raspberricupcakes at the Mumu Take It Slow Dinner and getting along famously, we decided to catch up again for lunch at Gazebo Wine Garden in Elizabeth Bay. It is one of the many venues run by my work, but I had never been there despite nothing but excellent reviews. Even though it’s only a short walk down Darlinghurst Road, it feels a world away from Sydney’s infamous Kings Cross. I loved the mismatched furniture and quirky touches like the flowers in wine bottles on each table, or the live plants growing behind the bar. However my favourite thing was Foxy the Fox, suspended upside down from the ceiling dressed stylishly in shoes and fairy wings.
We were welcomed by a friendly and knowledgeable waiter who told us the first glass of wine was courtesy of Gazebo, one of the little perks of my job. He gave us some excellent recommendations from the wine list. Let me just pause a moment to explain that the wine list was the biggest I’ve ever seen – many pages long and delivered in a hefty ring binder, because they take their wine seriously at the Gaz. There were categories such as Slurpable, Opulent, Mysterious and even Unpronounceable! I had a sweet young red from Mornington, Victoria. Steph decided on a Reisling.
The menu looked incredible and we were absolutely spoiled for choice. We hardly gave the starters a glance as we were both more interested in trying to fit in dessert. I decided on the Mint & Pine Nut Lamb Burger with Onion Jam and Eggplant and Roast Tomato ($21). It also came with a side of crinkle cut chips, which was quite exciting as you don’t see them very often anymore and they are my absolutely favourite. The burger was generous in size and so delicious and flavourful. I loved the crunch of the nuts in the patty. It reminded me a little of the lamb and walnut burger I made a while ago, but I have to say it was even better. In a remarkable stroke of luck, it was also perfect with the wine I had ordered, I couldn’t have asked for a better match.
Steph picked the Champagne, Grape and Dijon Chicken Pie on a bed of buttered spinach ($22). I would never have thought to add grapes to a savoury meal but it really, really worked, giving little pops of sweetness to the dish. I couldn’t really taste the champagne but it was nonetheless a lovely creamy and perfectly cooked filling. The pastry looked and tasted amazingly buttery and flaky, and I think Steph was very happy with the choice.
By this point we were quite full, but had to have a look at the dessert menu, which came out pegged to a stick, in a flowerpot of what I think were gorgeous pink hyacinths. I couldn’t go past the chocolate and walnut brownie, served warm with icecream, fairy floss (!) and chocolate sauce ($13). It was very cute, and looked like it was wearing a little wig. It was amazing – so rich and chocolatey, with a nice crunch from the walnuts. The fairy floss melts in your mouth and made me feel like a little kid again. The staff were also wonderful enough to offer me a complimentary glass of port with my dessert, which was just lovely. Unfortunately because of Steph’s nut allergies her choices were more limited and she decided on an affogato – a scoop of vanilla bean icecream doused with espresso ($6). It was served beautifully in a martini glass.
I was so impressed with everything, from the quirky décor, to the wine-related black texta graffiti in the bathrooms, the wonderful staff and brilliant food. I literally couldn’t eat anything else until the following day. The serving sizes are very generous for reasonably low prices, none of the mains were over $25. It was awesome to catch up with Steph again and hope we can again in the near future, perhaps a return visit is required for a Girl’s Picnic!
Gazebo Wine Garden – 2 Elizabeth Bay Rd, Elizabeth Bay