19 June 2011

Chase Oyster Bar: Modern Italian & French and Oysters, Chatswood (11 June 2011)

B-037, 345 Victoria Avenue, Chatswood Chase Shopping Centre, Chatswood NSW 2067

More than just an oyster bar

Thanks to Ricky Chong from Food Morning for inviting me to dine as a guest of Chase Oyster Bar to pre-sample their Hot and Cold Seafood Platter deal ($69, worth $150) which comes with 2 glasses of wine and homemade bread. The restaurant is located amongst the Chatswood Chase food court and you’d been totally forgiven for thinking it only served oysters — my family and I certainly thought so due to its name. Apparently Chef Paul Della Marta is not only trained in French cuisine but also worked for 5 years at the Italian institution of Beppi’s so he brings both French and Italian dishes to the menu at what seems like reasonable prices for the standard of quality.

The decent sized Seafood Platter probably won’t leave much room for anything else but the desserts are worth trying if you can fit one in. The scallops were quite a good size and grilled with mushroom, shallots and mornay sauce. The smallish half lobster mornay had a nice sauce although it also hid most of the lobster meat pieces within. Oysters seemed fresh although I wasn’t quite sure if they were freshly shucked as they were missing some of their briny goodness I was hoping. Prawns were large in size and decent quality alongside some sugar cured salmon dressed with capers. A few plump mussels in white wine and cream sauce became the centerpiece although I think the Beer battered flathead could have had a more crispy batter for my liking. I really enjoyed the deep fried local fresh calamari pieces which we thought were some of the better ones we’ve had around Sydney. I wish the salad component was somehow served separately with some dressing to make it more appealing to eat rather than having it as just a garnish.

I had the opportunity to also try a few of the other dishes on the menu like the smooth and rich flavoured Duck pate ($12) which would have gone down lovely with some toasted brioche perhaps. It was the first time I’ve tried Escargot ($18, 1 dozen) baked in herb almond garlic butter. Quite tasty and softish in texture. Trying the pick them up with tongs was the biggest challenge. The Prawn bisque soup ($20) had great depth of flavour with a few small pieces of prawn within. Would have been even better with maybe a few whole prawns as well. The Chitarra black ink ($28) of hand made ink pasta with seafood in scampi bisque was something new for me. I enjoyed the sauce and prawns although wasn’t sure if the black ink was just for colour or if it was supposed to have a discernable taste.

I’m so glad I made some room for desserts because these were done particularly well although I wasn’t too sure about the use of oversized plates. The Crème brûlée ($10) was pretty good which included some fruit inside that worked well — I think it might have been sour cherries. The Crêpes strawberry ($10) was equally liked which came with a lovely boysenberry ice cream (but can change depending on availability). The Panacotta ($10) worked unusually well with dill on top — how’s that for a MasterChef invention test. The poached apricots was a nice addition to the dish. My nicely presented Affogato ice-cream with Frangelico ($10) hit the spot for flavour although a bit more ice cream would have been appreciated. The decor and table setting is simple and clean although perhaps a little on the plain side and not particularly cosy and warm. Maybe a few extra motif decorations of large French retro posters might help make the the place more welcoming and interesting.

PROS: Seafood platter is quite generous and fairly decent quality for the deal price, Menu seems reasonably priced for the quality, Tempting Italian and French dishes on the menu, Plenty of seating, Seating and decor is clean and simple although could be more cosy and welcoming
CONS: Restaurant located in a food court, The restaurant name doesn't give a true indication of the cuisine available, Toilets are located outside in the food court, You can hear the food court outside when busy
WORTH TRYING: Deep fried local fresh calamari, Prawn bisque soup, Affogato, Desserts
MUST TRY: Revisiting to try other tempting dishes like Bruschetta, Caesar Salad, Tortellini Prawn, Beef Ribs, Spaghetti Marinara and Duck Roulade

Home made bread

House red and white wine

Crown lager ($8)

Duck pate de foie gras with crackers ($12)

Seafood platter for two including 2 glasses of wine ($69, worth $150)

Grilled scallops (2 pieces)

Lobster mornay (half)

Oysters (4 pieces)

Prawns (4 pieces), sugar cured salmon

Mussels in whitte wine and cream sauce (small bowl)

Beer battered flathead (2 pieces)

Deep fried local fresh calamari Mediterranean style, chips

Grilled fish

Escargot - Snail baked in herb almond garlic butter ($18, 1 dozen)

Prawn bisque soup ($20)

Chitarra black ink - hand made ink pasta with seafood in scampi bisque ($28)

Crème brûlée ($10) with fruit inside

Crêpes strawberry ($10)

Panacotta with fruit ($10)

Affogato ice-cream with Frangelico ($10)



Chef Paul Della Marta

View of food court from inside the restaurant

Seating and bar

Chef's special menu

Drinks menu

Some Italian decor

Front of restaurant next to food court

Food court

Street entrance to Chatswood Chase

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Chase Oyster Bar & Dining on Urbanspoon


sugarpuffi said...

whoa that grilled scallop and escargot looks amazing! $18 for a dozen aint bad aswell.

Martyna@WholesomeCook said...

I've seen that place before but never ventured in. The menu looks great with a mixture of seafood and French-inspired dishes... I haven't had escargots in ages, don't come across many places in Sydney that do them.
Good spot for catching up with a couple of local seafood-loving friends. Thanks for sharing!

msihua said...

My goodness.. that seafood platter is amazingly valued!!
I find it sad that the lobster,scallop and whatever else is smothered in cheese... I prefer mine with minimum fuss.. just lemon and black pepper :)

Anonymous said...

This is my beautiful dad's restaurant, it's great to see a good quality review :)i'm glad you loved his food, he is an amazing chef and cooks from the heart (his mother was just as amazing and owned a french restaurant)you have to try spaghetti kingfish this is my favourite because it has his homemade italian nepolitana sauce.

Thanks! from the Della Marta's!

Anonymous said...

Sorry, i just had to leave a comment here as i was googling to see if i could write an email to the owner of this restaurant but didnt seem to have it. Had a bad experience here. Service was slow although the restaurant was half empty... Before ordering, we asked to put in the order of pasta of the day as my son was getting hungry. I checked with the server if it was spicy, she said no! Asked would it be long (since pasta of the day was listed as handmade!!), she said no! So we ordered that first, whilst my husband was still browsing at the menu. The pasta came only after 30 minutes and when my son took the first bite, he cried out so loud as if he was in pain.... Why? Because it was spicy!! My son cried himself to sleep after that without having his dinner! And when we complained, the manager didnt even have the courtesy to come over to apologize or to maybe just ask how my little boy was doing?? (well, she was busy eating away!).. So what if the food was good, when service sucks and half of the time, information given is inaccurate!)

Simon Leong said...

hi sugarpuffi, i'm not a huge snail fan in general but it probably does seem more reasonably priced than some French restaurants.

hi martyna, let me know if you get to try the place and what you have.

hi msihua, i'm more a plain seafood fan as well. having good quality seafood just plain can sometimes be the best way with maybe a bit of lemon and seafood sauce.

hi anonymous, thanks for the recommendation for next time, sounds pretty good.

hi anonymous, sorry to hear you've had a bad experience. i'd be interested to know what the pasta of the day was? and what might have made it too spicy for your son. if it was spicy the service person should have clarified with the chef if this was the case.

Anonymous said...

Hi, it was this spinach spaghetti with some supposedly tomato based sauce with tiny bits of shrimp! I found some fresh chilli flakes! Honestly, the server was a pleasant lady, but her information is inaccurate and i didnt like it when i asked her when would our pasta be coming, she would say 'its on the way' without checking! How sincere is that? The most annoying was the manager (i'm assuming she is the manager as she didnt wear any uniforms and was busy eating away at another table although all her 2 servers were busy!). You would expect for her to apologize but when my husband went up to pay, she didnt say nothing!

Simon Leong said...

hi anonymous, perhaps it was the 'Spaghetti Prawn rocket tomato chilli $20' i noticed on their website menu? does this sound right? if so it sounds like the person serving you wasn't familiar with the menu because it lists chilli if it was this dish. i think you should email the restaurant to let them know your experience so they can learn from this mishap.

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