5-9 Roslyn Street
Kings Cross NSW 2010
+61 2 8068 1017
We hadn’t planned on eating at any hatted restaurant during our Sydney trip. Firstly, fine dining in Sydney can be expensive. Secondly, Marty reckons he doesn’t want to see any more foams, wooden planks and truffles. Fair enough. But when I found out that two-hatted Gastropark was holding a special Game of Thrones dinner during winter, we knew we HAD to make a booking.
I don’t think Gastropark do these dinners anymore, especially since season three of GOT finished ages ago. I can’t even remember what days they did these dinners – we came on a Wednesday night and I’m guessing that they also did them on Tuesday nights. I do remember, though, that it was $100 p/h for five courses so let’s get to it, shall we.
Gastropark, the baby of former Pier chef Grant King, is in Sydney’s infamous Kings Cross district (well Potts Point, if you want to get rid of Kings Cross’ sleazy connotation – or Darlinghurst, if you decide to trust our taxi driver’s GPS). Given that Kings Cross isn’t all that far from the CBD, we could have probably walked it or trained it into the ‘Cross but we took forever to get ready (and by we, I mean MARTY) so taxi-ing was the only option.
It was dead quiet like the Winterfell winter when we walked in – and it stayed like that for most of our meal. I found it quite surprising given that we were, after all, at a two-hatted restaurant. Then again, it was a Wednesday night – and a cold one, too. Plus, I loved that the dining room’s stillness combined with the moss and lichen draping from the branches in the middle of the room created an eerie forest-like atmosphere that made us feel like we were actually in Winterfell.
To heat things up, we decided to grab a cocktail each. I had the decidedly summer-y Daisy de Santiago, while Marty stayed true to the whole winter theme by going for the dark yet warming cocktail.
Our first course was served on a little tree – okay fine, branches shoved in a vase. Nevertheless, the end result looked impressive (though I had to roll my eyes when Marty asked the waiter if the branches were also edible). Each long ‘bark’, which was made with crispy dehydrated potato, contained blobs of creamy goats cheese. Although it was delicious, it felt more like a starter (or amuse bouche, even) than an actual first course so I felt almost jibbed.
Next, we paid homage to the awesome that is Daenerys Targaryen and her dragons. Calling this dish, where the bone marrow is the star, ‘dragon bones’ seems kind of mean, especially since the dragons in this show are pretty cool. That said, calling this dish Joffrey’s bones (oh, I wish!) would probably have been in bad taste.
The bone marrow was one helluva decadent dish – it was creamy and rich, just as I expected. I just wish they roasted it a bit longer so I can taste more of the smokiness. I was also grateful for the air (read: hollowed) baguette that was filled with a refreshingly tangy blend of chopped capers, parsley, shallow and chickweed (what?) – the tight little package balanced out the marrow’s richness beautifully.
Marty was down for another cocktail, this time the Geezey Geisha that was perfumed with chopped curry leaves in a little cube that melted as the night went by.
And then there was fire! Lots of it! King tried to recreate season two’s Battle of the Blackwater using wood, fire, smoke… and jewfish (because the battle happened on water, geddit? geddit?). And I think he did a damn good job.
Our main dish was accompanied by a goats milk curd sprinkled with roasted almonds and puffed barley, and wild weeds, which were pretty much green vegies and roasted hazelnuts, all tied together in a burnt butter sauce. Both were decent sides.
The jewfish fillets were beautifully tender, and the roasted scales provided a lovely textural crunch. Although the fish were well-cooked, I did find it verging towards the ‘safe’ category in terms of taste.
Our course-before-the-dessert was a fondue of Vacherin cheese that was grilled until melted. I love cheese so I thoroughly enjoyed this course, though I did end up struggling just a little bit as it was so rich! Thankfully the lavosh and grapes provided a bit of relief from the richness of the cheese.
Our final course, the dessert, was just as epic in presentation as the fish course. We had an edible candle made with white chocolate and some mulled cherries served with hibiscus ice cream.
The mulled cherries were supposed to represent blood and guts, something that I normally get queasy over (you don’t see me watching a lot of violent stuff) but this dish tasted so good that all feelings of nauseousness disappeared straightaway. I loved how the bold, rich flavours of the cherries paired well with the perfume-y hibiscus ice cream.
I might dislike chocolate desserts most of the time, but I couldn’t help but fawn over this white chocolate candle that looked right at home in Littlefinger’s office. I could feel the creaminess of the chocolate when it melted in my mouth, and I also liked that it wasn’t terribly sweet too.
The white chocolate skin gave way to a beautiful berry-flavoured mousse and a creamy white chocolate liquid centre. Rounding the dessert out was a crunchy biscuit base to even out all the sweetness. If it wasn’t for the cheese in the previous course, I probably have devoured all of this myself.
Having said that though, I did find the $100 p/h price tag for five courses a little expensive. Sure, the food was lovely and everything, but the portions were perhaps a little bit tiny and for all the bells and whistles that came with each dish, some of them were tasted just nice rather than mind-blowing. While ‘nice’ is normally good enough for me, keep in mind that Gastropark has got two hats so I was expecting a little bit more bang for buck. If they gave us six courses for the same price, or five courses for $90, then that would be justified. But $100? Hmm. I guess that’s what you can get away with when you slap the Games of Thrones name on the event – people like food and people like GOT so of course, there will be a lot of interested diners making bookings.
Regardless, I wouldn’t rule out another visit to Gastropark the next time I’m in Sydney. Perhaps they will make a Breaking Bad-theme dinner (or rather, breakfast)?