Friday, October 27, 2006

A Lunch with Berry Simple

Antique Teapots

Another good food day transpires during Good Food Month, and this time it brings me to Galileo Restaurant. A number of eateries around Sydney are offering a Let's Do Lunch menu during the month of October and Galileo was one of them. The best thing about this lunch was that I got to meet Audrey of Berry Simple.

After exchanging a few emails we agreed to meet for lunch at the historic
Observatory Hotel, nestled serenely in the part of The Rocks away from tourists and the hustle and bustle that is Hickson Rd. At first glance while standing in front of the unassuming concierge counter there really isn't much to the place. However as you take a few more steps through to the lobby and down the corridor into the bar and restaurant, you immediately feel some place else. There is something old-worldly and genteel about the place, perhaps it is their antique chandeliers, walnut floors or Fortuny silk drapery, but whatever it is, it doesn't have that modern uber-chic minimalist decor that seems to render some establishments feeling very cold and distant.

A table by the window
A table by the window... did they know we were food bloggers?

The Let's Do Lunch menu offered a Jewfish pie with prawn mousse, artichoke salad and béarnaise sauce, matched with a glass Brown Brothers Riesling. A pie is always a satisfying feed, although this one went above and beyond its call of duty. Hunger pangs be gone, and so did my appetite for the rest of the day. This delicious jewfish pie filled me so much to the point that I did not have any room for anything else. And as one who boasts about her seven stomachs for dessert, she stood corrected by this seemingly light pie. Even when dinner time rolled by, when I would normally be trolling the work cafeteria for food, I was still too full to eat. Now this may well be a first!

Jewfish Pie with prawn mousse and artichoke salad

The jewfish filling was fabulously meaty although still melted in your mouth. The pastry that it was parcelled in was beautiful and crisp but was tender enough that it fell apart at the touch of your fork. It was the perfect combination if crisp delicateness. Most of all I loved the béarnaise sauce that accompanied the pie and it is unfortunate that they do not put more on your plate.

Bernaise Sauce

What I love about meeting with other food bloggers, is that instead of your fellow diners gasping at the sight of you taking out a camera to photograph your food, is that they too are fishing for their own camera to take photos. I have found that other than food itself, it’s this shared idiosyncrasy that probably brings food bloggers together more so. After the customary chit-chat was exchanged the conversation was flowing, it was just like meeting up with an old friend. I guess it seemed like we already knew each other as that we had read each others blog and had some sort of insight into each others lives. This is what I love about food blogging.

Brown Brothers Reisling

After such a satisfying lunch, we were thrilled at the offer of some tea and the prospect of possibly easing my gradually bloating mid-section. The tea was served in beautifully ornate silver antique teapots that according to our maître d' were worth around $300 a pop. After hearing this, our tea just felt that little bit more refined and I felt that little bit more “grown-up”. So this is what expensive silverware can do to you.

Aside from the great food and company, I also have to mention the great service we received. The waiters were welcoming and always attentive and when it comes to service, this is usually the underlying factor that determines whether I come back or not. Good food aside, if the service is bad, I am very unlikely to patron the establishment again. So I am very pleased to say that the service here is above reproach, they do everything they can to make your dining experience great, which is what all good restaurants should do. It did help that the lunchtime crowd was rather meagre considering they are not usually open for lunch. Although I think it is safe to say that same sort of attentiveness is provided even when the dining room is full.

So thanks Audrey for a wonderful lunch and hope you have a great weekend away! (check out Audrey's post on our lunch here)

Also, for more lovely lunches during Good Food Month check out the round up here.

Cost: $35
When: Monday - Friday throughout October, Noon-2pm

Galileo's Restaurant
The Observatory Hotel
Galileo Restaurant
89-113 Kent St,
The Rocks, Sydney
Phone: 9256 2215


Brilynn said...

It sounds like a wonderful lunch, especially without having to explain to anyone why you're taking pictures of everything!

wheresmymind said...

No pictures of you two together? *pout*

Unknown said...

What excellent pictures and a wonderful description! Can't wait to read more!

As for the comment on if they knew if you were food bloggers... funny, I got ID'd once, and then suddenly dessert and wine was free. I didn't review the place in the end, it would have been unfair.

Vintage Wine said...

Sounds wonderful :-)
I love the way you write & your photos are beautiful!

Enjoy the weekend!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jen,

Sounds like a great lunch. Delicious food and wonderful company.

You take such beautiful photos. Food bloggers are not widely known here in Jersey yet. I think i'm the only one in Jersey for that matter so no blogmeet for me. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

I love the Observatory - it's the first place I ever had the parmesan and pear (nashi) combination. The lunch and particularly that part of it are eating experiences I will remember for the rest of my life

lobstersquad said...

That´s so great, it must have been such fun. I don´t take pictures of my food so much, but people think it quite odd when you sketch on the paper tablecloths, too.

Anonymous said...

what a beautiful lunch! mmmmm those little pastries look especially nice :)

Anonymous said...

Oh yum! The pastry looks superb. Makes me crave a Beef Wellington.. haha...

Jen said...

Brilynn- It was such a hearty lunch. And yes, it was great not having to justify why I take photos of my food, but then again, if I wasn't a food blogger I would also think that it is strange.

wheresmymind- Our identities shall remain a mystery for now.

Although, I was thinking of doing some Hitchcock style cameos in the future, so keep your eyes peeled!

Garrett- Really, I don't think there will be any chance of me being recognised as I don't have a picture of myself on the blog.
But I could see how this can present some problems as that you wouldn't be able to give an objective review of an establishment if you kept getting freebies. Although it would be nice : )

Vintage Wine- Thanks so much, i'm so glad you enjoy the writing as much as the photos. I would hate to think that the photos are taking over the blog.

Mae- It seems you have the food blogging monopoly over there. Although i'm sure it will start to catch on in no time, after people see what you have done. At least you can say you pioneered blogging in Jersey Is.

Kathryn- I actually thought they weren't open for lunch as that their website didn't mention anything about it. The pear dish sounds wonderful.

Lobstersquad- People just think im strange, pulling out my gigantic SLR camera. At least if I started sketching the food they might just think I was very artsy.

Aria- It was indeed, I am still dreaming about the pastry. So soft and crusty.

Jen- As one who loves her pastry, I have to say this one was outstanding.