09 April 2012

Watts on Crown: Bistro and Wine Bar, Surry Hills (8 Apr 2012)

368 Crown Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010

Watts up on Crown Street

An Easter long weekend lunch catchup brings me to Watts on Crown located where I believe Chilli Alchemy used to be and opposite Xage. It's not quite on the main restaurant strip you'd find further along Crown Street but still seemed to attract a healthy crowd of diners. Our table of eleven was upstairs including two babies on board. There was thankfully enough room for a pram and car capsule although unfortunately no sign of a change table in the unisex toilets — perhaps a wall mounted one could fit. The main attraction for all the diners was the Sunday Roast menu but I was more tempted to try a few smaller dishes. Chicken liver parfait ($12) was decently sized for the price and came with a really nice red onion marmalade. I thought the toast was perhaps a bit too toasted in parts bordering on burnt for my liking but the parfait was smooth and flavoursome parfait. My Scotch egg ($5.50 each) was quite good with nice meat flavour and the mustard mayo was subtle in taste, maybe too subtle. If the egg yolk was more runny like Arras Too Cafe it would have been great — Heston Blumenthal seems to have a recipe answer.

I enjoyed the crisp batter and tasty filling of the Stuffed zucchini flowers ($11, 3 pieces) and wondered if a small spoon for the red wine and shallot vinegar and small fork to pick out the oyster would have been handy for the Freshly shucked oysters ($3.50 each). I ended up getting three oysters when only two were ordered — maybe since one was very small they couldn't charge for it but added it for my benefit. They were quite fresh but very small and flat with little brine and I much preferred the size served at Manta and Felix. Nice touch with char-grilling the lemon to make it sweeter though. I didn't mind the Grilled quail with chorizo, braised peppers and crisp basil ($14) which had tender meat but felt more seasoning would have been benefitted the dish and found the small char-grilled piece of chorizo had lost some of its flavour in the cooking process — more chorizo too please.

Everyone except me ordered the Roast leg of lamb with mushy peas, braised red cabbage, roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding and mint gravy ($25) as their main. The lamb was quite good and I really liked the mushy peas and braised red cabbage but would have preferred more outer crisp on the flavoursome roast potatoes. Mint gravy was enjoyable but the handful of UK diners were disappointed with the Yorkshire pudding. They were expecting something more hollow style which they're used to back home allowing it to be filled with gravy. They still were happy to eat it but it wasn't quite what they were hoping for. The Cheese plate ($11 charged although $18 on menu) came with impressively delicate lavosh and I enjoyed the addition of mint in the Eton mess ($11) which worked nicely with rhubarb instead of the traditional strawberries which I assume was due to seasonal availability. As a special Easter treat we received a complimentary plate of Chocolate Easter Eggs and Italian chiacchiere aka Angel Wings which were very crisp and flakey as hoped.

PROS: Nice decor and cosy atmosphere, Interesting menu seems reasonably priced for the quality, Decent amount of seating upstairs for large group bookings, Service seemed professional and friendly
CONS: Yorkshire pudding wasn't quite what the UK diners were expecting and hoping, Oysters were a bit small for me, Kitchen turnaround of dishes seemed to take a little bit longer than hoped
MUST TRY: Returning to try other menu dishes
BABY ON BOARD: Unfortunately no baby change table in toilets and restaurant seating upstairs is via stairs so keep in mind if you have a pram
DAMAGE: $526.50 for eleven

Cutlery and menu

Hunky Dory Sauvignon Blanc ($25 charged although $28 on menu)

Chicken liver parfait with red onion marmalade and toast ($12)

Scotch egg with mustard mayo ($5.50 each)

Stuffed zucchini flowers with goat cheese and romesco sauce ($11, 3 pieces)

Freshly shucked oysters with red wine and shallot vinegar ($3.50 each, 2 ordered but 3 provided)

Grilled quail with chorizo, braised peppers and crisp basil ($14)

Roast leg of lamb with mushy peas, braised red cabbage, roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding and mint gravy ($25)

Potatoes served on the side

Yorkshire pudding

Cheese plate supplied by Simon Johnson, lavosh chutney and quince paste ($11 charged although $18 on menu)

Apple and rhubarb crumble with vanilla ice cream ($11)

Eton mess with rhubarb and mint ($11)

Chocolate fondant with vanilia [vanilla] bean ice cream ($11) — good rich chocolate flavour although inside could have been a bit more runny perhaps and more ice cream would have been nice too

Macchiato ($3) — very tiny but pretty good

Complimentary Chocolate Easter Eggs and Italian chiacchiere which was very crisp and flakey as hoped

Entrée menu

Mains, Sunday Roast and sides menu

Dessert menu

Small plates and Cocktails menu

Upstairs seating

Upstairs balcony area overlooking street

On the fake grass balcony with Baby Isabelle — nice spot to watch the traffic. Bill $526.50 for eleven.


Unknown said...

THAT scotch egg looks so damn good and love the presentation of Eton mess.
p.s. I can barely see Isabelle but from afar, she looks really cute! :)

Two Tattoos said...

Is it just me, or does $25.00 sound a lot for a Sunday Roast?

food porn-er @ foodpornnation.com said...

That chicken liver parfait looks so inviting! It's so pink!

Scotch egg could have been runnier tho!

penny aka jeroxie said...

Walked past a few times but never gone in. The oysters do look pretty small and lean.

SarahKate (Mi Casa-Su Casa) said...

Those zucchini flowers and the Yorkshire puddings look tasty! Roast seems a bit pricey, but I love red cabbage and lamb and the puddings, so I'd probably give it a go.

Maria(epicuriously) said...

Will visit just for the stuffed zucchini flowers - YUM!

muppy said...

the food looks lovely, thanks.

gaby @ lateraleating said...

Hmmm... I'm craving Scotch eggs now.

Simon Leong said...

hi food is our religion, isabelle is still a cutie :-)

hi ms ballerina ballroom, seems to be about average when you look at the list by timeout http://www.au.timeout.com/sydney/restaurants/features/5490/sydneys-top-10-roasts but i'm sure there's cheaper around. if you discover any good ones in Sydney please let me know.

hi food porn-er, if they can perfect their runny egg it'll be a winner

hi penny, i'm hoping they can improve the size of their oysters in the future. I felt like I could get much better ones from Sydney Fish Market which are freshly shucked as well.

hi sarahkate, let me know if you know of a cheaper roast around town.

hi maria, i'm not a fan of cooking stuffed zucchini flowers because they're so messy to make so whenever i see them on a menu i'm so tempted to order

hi muppy, hope you get to try

hi gaby, there doesn't seem to be many places that do a scotch egg so keep me posted if you discover some gems

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