30 September 2012

Coast Restaurant: Modern Australian, Darling Harbour (31 Aug 2012)

The Roof Terrace, Cockle Bay Wharf, Darling Harbour NSW 2000

Coasting along Darling Harbour

Thanks to George from Wasamedia for inviting me to do a guest review of Coast Restaurant. My online booking was made via Restaurant.com.au which offers a 30% discount on a range of quality restaurants for an $8 booking fee. The booking website was well-designed, easy to navigate and could save a group of diners a fair amount of money. If I was a paying customer for this meal I would have saved $70.80 minus the $8 booking fee on the $236 bill. I'll definitely be keeping this website in mind if dining at one of their other partnered restaurants. Coast has a nice water view across Darling Harbour and spacious interior. Wines by the glass are priced mainly between $11 and $15 which is probably about what you'd expect for the nice setting. The 2010 Marc Bredif 'Vouvray' Chenin Blanc ($12) was good and went well with the oysters. I also liked the 2009 Faisan Estate Shiraz ($13) to go with my lamb. I found it a challenge to pick my dishes because most of the dishes sounded pretty good on the menu. Before the entrees were served a couple of amuse bouche samples were provided. I was tempted to order the seared half scallop, tomato and ginger jam and preserved lemon as my entree and after trying the sampler I would have been happy with the choice. The meats of the Prosciutto, bresaola, capocollo and salumi with pickled vegetables ($25 entree size) were thinly sliced and the pickled vegetables were surprisingly good. My Regional rock oysters ($44 dozen) were thankfully shucked to order but came at a premium price. They were unfortunately lacking a bit on the prized brine and just served with lemon while many restaurants of this quality would also include some red wine vinaigrette.

Mains were substantially sized which helps justify the price. Crispy skinned barramundi, surf clams, roasted fennel and fennel butter ($38) had a good balance of flavours. The clams were plump, the skin was crisp and the sauce flavoursome enough to mop up with the complimentary bread. My Roast Saltbush lamb rump, smoked eggplant puree, parsley and olive salad ($41) was topped with a wafer thin eggplant crisp. I thought they could easily sell these little gems by the bowl as a bar snack. The meat was tender matched with complimentary flavours on the plate. I liked how both dishes kept to a few distinct flavours and didn't try and over complicate the dish. The Brussel sprouts, roasted hazelnuts and lemon ($11) were OK but not as moreish as the ones at Porteno. Before dessert a palate cleanser of caramel ice cream with almond praline was provided. I liked how the toffee wasn't too hard and the flavour combo was good. If you ordered three courses you certainly won't leave hungry as the desserts were decently sized as well. The Chocolate hazelnut terrine ($16) had rich flavour and the Fig and Amaretti tart ($16) flavours worked well together although I'd love it more if the pastry was thinner like at Fix St James and Bird Cow FishCappuccino ($6) and Hot Chocolate ($6) come at a premium price but includes petit fours and a refill making it good value. A cheats sugar hit would be to just order a coffee so you can get the petit fours and save money on a dessert.

PROS: Water view, Tempting menu, Knowledgeable and friendly service (Michela), Generously sized dishes, Nice decor and ambience
CONS: Not all diners get the amuse bouche and dessert palate cleanser but regulars or nice customers possibly will, Oysters didn't have as much brine as hoped
WORTH TRYING: Oysters because they're shucked to order, Seared half scallop with tomato and ginger jamCrispy skinned barramundi, Roast Saltbush lamp rump, Coffee so you get the petit fours
VERDICT: A nice place to settle in for a long lunch with water views and dishes that are generously portioned to satisfy even a hungry businessman. 
Santa Vittoria Sparkling Mineral Water ($10 large)

NV Viticoltori Ponte Prosecco, Veneto, Italy ($11)

2010 Marc Bredif 'Vouvray' Chenin Blanc, Loire Valley, France ($12)

2009 Faisan Estate Shiraz, Orange NSW ($13)

Complimentary bread

Amuse bouche: seared half scallop, tomato and ginger jam and preserved lemon

Amuse bouche: spinach and ricotta gnocchi with sage burnt butter

Prosciutto, bresaola, capocollo and salumi with pickled vegetables ($25 entree size)

Regional rock oysters, served natural ($44 dozen) — many other restaurants also include a red wine vinaigrette

Brussel sprouts, roasted hazelnuts and lemon ($11)

Crispy skinned barramundi, surf clams, roasted fennel and fennel butter ($38)

Roast Saltbush lamb rump, smoked eggplant puree, parsley and olive salad ($41)

Eggplant crisp so thin — they should serve these as bar snacks

Palate cleanser: caramel ice cream with almond praline

Chocolate hazelnut terrine, praline toffee wafer ($16)

Fig and Amaretti tart, lemon thyme ice cream, quince syrup ($16)

Cappuccino ($6), Hot Chocolate ($6) — premium price but comes with petit fours and a refill if required so pretty good value considering this

Sugar options although I always prefer the look of rustic raw sugar cubes

Petit fours - chocolate dipped caramel, panaforte, chilli chocolate truffle - all very nice

Wine by the glass menu


Dessert and cheese menu

Spacious restaurant setting

Perhaps the table cloth creases could be ironed out or is that being too fussy?

Nice water view of Darling Harbour

Clean toilets although privacy screens between the urinals would be a welcomed improvement

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Coast on Urbanspoon


gaby @ lateraleating said...

Food looks good, they have a Let's Do Lunch menu that I might try.

Chompchomp said...

Lovely photos! The terrine looks melt-in-your-mouth amazing! The prices remind me how expensive Perth is. You think $35-41 for a main is pricey; unfortunately that is standard over here thanks to the mining boom induced inflation. I want to go back to Sydney!

Simon Leong said...

hi gaby, hope the let's do lunch option goes well. let me know if you try it.

hi chompchomp, thanks for the positive feedback. sounds like Perth is way too expensive for me to visit :-)

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