Stay tuned with this, it’s an epic blog. But it fully deserves the recognition.
We were lucky enough to recently visit this gem of a restaurant, the Blue Door, located in Surry Hills. This is a true farm to table experience, where the staff ensure that they’ve personally visited the provider and know exactly what they’re working with, paying tribute to the provenance of the vegetables, grains and proteins. The menu remains seasonal and utilises the whole animal, nose to tail approach, to avoid wastage. The menu changes every week, showing the skill and knowledge of the chef Dylan Cashman and his team.
On our visit, we were greeted by the General Manager and Sommelier Angelica Nohra who warmly welcomed us, introducing us to the venue and drink menu. She is passionate about the restaurant and her expertise on the wines is incredible. Curating a wine list that focuses on Australian products and the diversity of different regions and styles. With a restaurant whose food menu that changes weekly, she too has to match this and it’s done down to an art, ensuring the wines also change to perfectly pair with the dishes served. We are not surprised that the Blue Door has been recognised, for the second year running (amazing given they’ve been operating 2 years) in the 2023 NSW Sommelier’s Wine List Awards for Best NSW Wine List in a Sydney venue (<60 seats). We had the matching wined paired with our meal, Angelica explaining each wine, the region and how it pairs to the dish to be served.
The 18 seat restaurant has two dining times, 5:30 and 8:30 to allow for the seven course tasting menu to be enjoyed at a comfortable pace and not be rushed. We attend the 5:30 time slot, and love the natural light shining into the venue, with wooden tables, banquette seating and natural hues.
When we visit a fine dining restaurant we are always excited to taste the bread, and we were very pleased to be presented with two types here. In keeping with their ethos, you receive dinner rolls made using yesterday’s spent loaf. It is ground down and made into flour for these rolls and remade. Then you also have a slice of the daily sourdough, made using a 8 year starter. The bread is served with cultured butter and a board with a steel grater and four chunks of salt from around the globe. Guests grinding salt provides a sensory experience and adds to the ambience, with the percussion of salt grinding around the restaurant.
After the bread, the excitement levels continue to rise with the tasting menu, the first course is their “snack attack”, beginning the tasting menu with a myriad of tasty snacks filling our table and this was only the first course. This offering included the XO duck wings, some romesco dip with house made tortilla and some fresh crispy fish scales!
There’s also their house made charcuterie, a crumpet with duck pastrami and the most beautiful little tart with yellow beetroot, horse radish and creme fraiche topped with smoked fish. This was all outstanding and we both commented this reminded us of Centrale in Peru.
Each dish is narrated to you, focusing on the origins of the ingredient, the supplier and then beautifully presented for you to savour.
The menu began with the the delicate flesh of the ethically hand line caught Reef Fish Sashimi from Chris Bolton Fishing, the pickled strawberries adding a nice tartness and the macadamia purée giving it a pleasant earthy flavour, the cucumbers providing a freshness to the dish.
The sashimi was paired with the 2022 Jessops Riesling from Oange. This wine pays homage to the terroir of the region. A crisp German style, with flavours of citrus; lemon, bitter grapefruit, this wine had a silky oily mouth feel.
The Little Hill farm chicken terrine was full flavour, served with celeriac three ways, puree, pickled and topped with fried chips, each preparation providing a different flavour and texture, highlighting the skill of the team in the kitchen.
This was served with a 2022 Poacher Sauvingnon blanc from the Canberra District, this wine was made in a different style, barrel fermented, with creamy softer notes, nectarine and lavender.
Bougie mac and cheese, is what they called the tasty pasta and they elevated this humble dish to another level. The house made macaroni was aldente and the addition of the Andouille Sausage added plenty of flavor and a bit of spice, we utilised some of the bread to soak up the delicious sauce.
This went with the Pink Submarine, a wine from New England Armadale a blended Blend Rose with Earthy scent. Actually a nice natural wine. Earthy, light, flavours of sweet strawberries, and slightly tannic.
Our favourite dish of the evening was the Chris Bolton caught North Queensland Cod in a fennel beurr blanc sauce with broadbeans from Walacia. This was phenomenal, honestly the best dish we have eaten in a long time, the fish perfectly cooked, a nice crisp skin and soft flakey flesh melting in your mouth, the creamy acidic sauce was amazing.
Clo Amber pinot gris Tumbarumba was provided this time, another good natural wine. It was a lighter wine with flavours of pink lady apples, slightly earthy. Cool orange, pink, peach like colour with a dry tannic finish.
After this was the Little Hill Farm chicken breast, with crooked vegetables co carrots. The chicken used by the restaurant are grown where they eat chemical-free produce and live with access to fresh air and sunshine meaning there’s no need to use any antibiotics or other chemical treatment. The moist chicken was sprinkled with sesame seeds and served in a lovely light broth, with black garlic puree.
The matching wine was the 2019 Tertini Private Cellar Nebbiolo, with flavours of dark cherries with a dry, tannic earthy finish.
After this was dessert and the dessert here was impressive, combining different textures and flavours all in sync. It was a Strawberries and cream meringue, with a fresh mint granita and yoghurt mouse. Not to forget the petit fours – house made caramel, warm chocolate chip cookies and miso muffins. So delicious!
With this, the wine was a 2020 Debeaurepaire botrytis Viognire from Rylstone a sweet dessert wine with sweet flavours of sultanas and a nice hint of lemon.
Overall, this was a great dining experience, the dishes showing creativity and flair, with a thoughtful approach as well as exceptional technique in preparation and execution. We loved this restaurant and can’t believe something of this calibre is on our doorstep! With an ethical mindset and producer focused, you can also feel good about caring for the environment and feel connect to the food provided on your plate. The matching wines were equally impressive, it was great to try a variety of wines, that enhanced the flavours of the meal, and it was refreshing to have some good quality natural wines. We thoroughly enjoyed our vusit and look forward to returning.
8/83 Waterloo St
Just a short walk from Central Station and close to the Surry Hills light rail stop.