Monday, December 14, 2009
Lunch at Ripples
There’s nothing better than a girly lunch with some of your favourite people, especially on a beautiful sunny day, when you’re sitting only metres away from the water. With the year quickly drawing to a close, Steph, Karen, Leona, Betty and I decided that a Christmas lunch was in order at Ripples Sydney Wharf. Deciding on a date proved an arduous task with emails flitting back and forth, trying to find a spot in our busy December schedules proving somewhat difficult. Choosing the restaurant was actually the easy part! I have of course, been to Ripples before, soon after it opened in June this year. But it was a completely different experience to visit on a warm sunny day than a drizzly winter’s night.
We decided to order a few starters to share. The Yamba Prawn Tart with Creamed Leek, Feta and Tomato Salsa came out, a carefully constructed tower or prawns that was almost too pretty to eat. But it tasted as good as it looked. The prawns were beautiful and fresh, and went perfectly with the creamy leek filling and crunchy pastry.
We couldn’t go past the Seared Scallops with Crisp Pork Belly, Champagne Apples and Boudon Noir, which is available in entrée or main size. The scallops were juicy and moist, the pork belly was incredible and the tangy apples brought the flavours together really well.
One of my favourite dishes on my last visit to Ripples was the Duck Liver Parfait with Cranberry Jelly, and I was really looking forward to trying it again. This time, unfortunately it was almost inedible. The parfait wasn’t properly set, and very goopy with a strong, unpleasant taste that no amount of onion marmalade and pickled prunes could mask.
Luckily, the mains arrived soon after. Steph had the White Rabbit Fricassee with Lardons, Artichokes & Pappardelle Pasta, which not only looked beautiful on the plate, but tasted incredible as well. There were a lot of flavours, which worked really well together, and kept each bite interesting.
Leona’s dish, the Pan-Seared Ocean Trout with Farmer’s style salad and grilled pork Toulouse sausage was a great, honest dish. I’m not usually a seafood lover but the ocean trout was delicious!
Karen tackled the Ripples’ Famous Fish & Chips with homemade tartare sauce, which are still perhaps the best fish and chips I’ve eaten in my life. The batter on the fish was wonderfully crispy and the tartare sauce was the nicest I’ve ever had. It was an absolutely huge serving size though, and would probably be best shared between two people!
I chose the Char-grilled beef tenderloin with creamed spinach, horseradish gnocchi and beef short rib ragout, and I loved every bite. The beef was perfectly cooked to medium-rare, juicy and bursting with flavour. All the components of this dish tasted amazing, especially the ragout. I’m looking forward to trying to replicate the amazing gnocchi at home! It’s probably a good one for the boys, because I definitely couldn’t finish it. Betty had the Sandcrab & Fines Herbs Omelette with mixed cress salad, avocado and tomato dressing, fluffy and delicious, and studded with crab.
I was thankful for a little break before we started thinking about dessert. One of each, we asked for, though the staff only put through three out of four on our order, and in a rush to get the White Chocolate Parfait out to us, it was plated straight from the freezer and rock-hard. It was served with bitter chocolate and orange mousse and tangy blood orange jellies.
The passionfruit crème brulee with glass biscuit and passionfruit syrup smelled incredible, like summer. The glass biscuit was impressive with a nice crunch to break through to the silky custard below. The strawberry shortcake with champagne and white chocolate mousse and strawberry sorbet was very pretty to look at, and the strawberry sorbet was delicious and refreshing. Once you broke through the pastry, I found that the mousse was a little too boozy for my taste.
Everyone’s highlight was the amazing burnt lemon tart, lemon curd bombe alaska and macadamia toffee. I’m a lemon tart fiend, and this was one of the nicest I’ve ever had, especially with the deliciously crackable toffee top. The bombe alaska was amazing, like a reinterpretation of a lemon meringue tart, and went perfectly with the macadamia toffee. I could have polished this dessert off easily by myself, it was that good.
It was a lovely lunch with my favourite lovely ladies. I was again impressed by Ripples’ honest, unpretentious, yet beautifully presented food. Unfortunately the duck liver parfait was a bit of a disappointment this time, but there were more than enough other delicious dishes to make up for it. I’m already looking forward to my next visit, and my next burnt lemon tart!