01 December 2011

Bistro Avoca: Bloggers Dinner, Modern Australian, Randwick (29 Nov 2011)

133 Avoca Street, Randwick NSW 2031
Phone: (02) 9399 9667

Tempting menu to choose from

Thanks to Charlotte Foot Public Relations for inviting me to dine as a guest of Bistro Avoca as part of a bloggers dinner. I've previously enjoyed dining when it first opened a few months ago so I was looking forward to seeing how it was going. Bistro Avoca seems to be one of those frustrating restaurants which has a menu that all sounds so good it's hard to make a choice (for me anyway). Most of the dishes I tried were worthing of recommending but my favourites would have to be the well-flavoured Thai oyster shot ($3.50 each), good flavour combination of the Seared sea scallops ($17) and the tasty and tender Salt & pepper squid ($9). I'm sure the vegetarians will enjoy the Linguine with heirloom tomato, zucchini flowers ($14.50 entree). Overall I think the dishes are quite reasonably priced for the quality. Flavours seem familiar and mostly balanced without being too daring nor overly boring. Definitely leave room for the desserts which are well-presented and seem to hit the spot most of the time for a satisfying sugar hit. My Affogato with Frangelico ($16.50, or $8.50 without liqueur) thankfully came with a decent amount of ice cream and if you really can't decide on a dessert then I'd recommend the simplicity of the Crème brûlée with strawberries marinated in orange syrup ($14).

Other visits to Bistro Avoca:
29 Nov 2011 - Bloggers Dinner
6 July 2011 - Thai Oyster Shot, Scallops, Tempura Prawns, Lamb, Confit Duck, Warm Sticky Toffee Pudding, Creme Brulee

PROS: Nice décor, Good menu variety, Quality ingredients, Well-presented dishes, Friendly service, Reasonably priced wine
CONS: Possibly a bit out of the way for those who don't live in the Eastern Suburbs
WORTH TRYING: Thai oyster shot, Seared sea scallops, Salt & pepper squid, Crème brulee with strawberries, Affogato with Frangelico
NEXT TIME: I must try the Pacific oysters topped with rice wine & eschallot vinaigrette and Atlantic salmon caviar

Freshly baked crusty bread roll with butter ($1.50)

I love taking photos of bloggers taking photos

Thai oyster shot with fresh herbs and ginger, garlic, chilli, lemongrass & lime nam jim ($3.50 each) — robust flavours although may have overpowered the oyster this time

Blinis served warm with sliced smoked salmon, pickled Spanish onion and dill sour cream ($16.50) — flavours work together although a little awkward to eat as a blini in one go. Perhaps with a bit less salmon would make it easier

Seared sea scallops, cauliflower puree, bacon crumble and pesto oil ($17) — a good combination of flavours

Duck & shitake mushroom spring rolls, pickled ginger & rocket salad, sweet chilli dipping sauce ($14.50) — decent size, crispy shell although I found the filling a little dry and wondered if cutting diagonally in half would jazz up the presentation a bit like the lady fingers at Lebanon & Beyond

Salt & pepper squid with spring onions, chilli and lime ($9) — tender, nice flavour, crispy outer, decent size for price to share

Linguine with heirloom tomato, zucchini flowers, extra virgin olive oil and parmesan ($14.50 entree) — nicely cooked, good fresh flavours, flavoursome vegetarian dish

Market fresh fish of the day (bream) in crisp beer batter, chips, salad leaves, tartare sauce & lemon ($25.50) — looked like a generous size

Black angus sirloin steak, Irish colcannon, fresh asparagus, sugar snap peas and red wine jus ($28.50 specials menu) — simply yet nice flavours, sugar snap peas retained their crunch

Black angus sirloin steak ordered and received medium rare

Crisp skin Atlantic salmon, lemon, pea, mint & fetta cous cous, lemon scented labne ($27.50) — nicely cooked, flavour combination worked together well

Pork cutlet, crushed potato, fennel & mustard, french beans, green apple & cranberries with maple ($28.50) — didn't try but looked like a lot of different flavours on the plate, maybe too many?

Noisettes of lamb, caramelised sweet potato, zucchini ribbons, brocollni and onion marmalade ($28.50) — didn't try, looked pretty good and a hearty size

Rocket, pear and parmesan salad ($6.50) — simply flavours, decent size for price, although I much prefer the larger leafed rocket they serve at Fix St James

Affogato with frangelico ($16.50, or $8.50 without liqueur) — decent amount of ice cream served which gets a special tick of approval from me

vxdollface going in for the shot of my affogato, Baileys Liqueur coffee ($9.50) above right

Coconut pannacotta, lime jelly and fresh mango, coconut biscotti ($14) — very limey jelly, maybe a little too tart for some

Crème brûlée with strawberries marinated in orange syrup ($14) — simple yet satisfying

Vanilla and raspberry bombe alaska with rhubarb confit and praline ($14) — looked great, nice flavours

Warm soft centred chocolate pudding, kahlua crème anglaise ($14) — rich flavoured chocolate which delivered on the soft centre, a bit awkward to add the crème anglaise though without making a mess I think

Shortbread, vanilla bean ice cream, butterscotch sauce & honeycomb ($14) — looked pretty decadent but perhaps the least sophisticated in presentation

Vanilla pannacotta, sour cherries and pistachio biscotto ($14 specials menu) — strong tasting cherries possibly overpowers the pannacotta but it's all quite nice

Sticky toffee pudding, stuffed dates, butterscotch sauce and ice cream ($14 specials menu) —I tried this dish on my first visit which didn't have the dates before. I found the hard toffee a bit thick making it a little harder to eat without breaking your teeth, nice flavours although pudding perhaps could be more moist

2008 Parker Coonawarra Estate Favourite Son Chardonnay ($7.90), 2011 (2010 on menu) Villa Maria Two Valleys Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough ($7.80), 2008 Mount Langi Billi Billi Shiraz Barossa Valley ($6.50) — reasonably priced

Decor and specials board

Main dining room including large mirrors and acoustic panels

Back room dining area

Clean and functional unisex toilets — maybe some fresh flowers would add a nice homely touch


艾晨 said...

The Thai oyster and the dessert all look very nice, gonna have a try soon! Thanks for the sharing!

Richard Elliot said...

It was a really good night. I think Bistro Avoca is a great addition to Randwick. All the dishes I tried were made from quality ingredients, well presented, large portions for the money and there some inventive dishes too.

I love your understated assesment on the affogato:
My Affogato with Frangelico thankfully came with a decent amount of ice cream
It had the most ice cream I've ever seen in an affogato!!

There are a few things I'd change around Avoca, but criticisms are probably a bit unfair. It's a really good neighbourhood joint, not a hatted restaurant in the city.

Madam Wu said...

This place looks like it punches well above its weight for the quality, location and price. Great looking dishes and ambience. I will definitely give it a try!

joey@FoodiePop said...

I like the look of this place too. I am a fan of salt and pepper squid and that's a generous serving for $9.

Miss Feathers said...

I had a great night out and it was lovely to finally meet you and some of the other fellow foodie bloggers.

Good night out with some great food. I would head back there again next time I'm east.

KayB said...

Mmmm looking at those desserts again is making my tummy grumble! It was so great to meet you, hope to do it again soon :)

Dolly said...

mmh.. dessert/// yes i wouldnt mind another shot!!!

Shanshan said...

That oyster shot looks so good! Its another reason to make a visit to Randwick!!

JasmyneTea said...

Looks pretty decent, and I love the look of the bomb alaska - definitely worth a visit!

thang@noodlies said...

The servings look like they're on the healthier side. The Angus does look good, I like the long cut.

Denny@feedmycamera.com said...

The scallops and the oysters look really good. Prices seem pretty fair as well.

Simon Leong said...

hi 艾晨, hope you enjoy when you visit.

hi richard, it's certainly one of the nicer places you can visit in Randwick for a special night. i love it when an affogato comes with lots of ice cream because i'm not much of a coffee drinker.

hi madam wu, hope you get to visit it soon.

hi joey, was pretty good for only $9

hi miss feathers, great to finally meet you too after all this time. i'm hoping to visit again soon.

hi KayB, great to meet you too. looking forward to following your blog too.

hi dolly, they certainly know how to make a tempting dessert.

hi shanshan, if you're an oyster lover then it's probably a must try. this time around was quite strong. i want to try the oyster with caviar next time though.

hi jasmynetea, the bombe alaska was very cute and nice prepared. prefers if they could do a bit more of a crunchier meringue shell would be even better.

hi thang, i reckon the steak could have had a bit more of a smokey flavour but it was fairly tender as hoped

hi denny, if you go you can't go too wrong with the scallops. i reckon it might end up being one of their signature dishes along with the oyster shot :-)

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