Last week I was lucky enough to be invited on a Food & Wine tour of The Rocks. We visited four different venues, sampling their menus as we went.
The Fine Food Store
Opened in 2004, these fourth generation coffee roasters are famous for their fragrant brews. In addition to amazing coffee, they also offer home-style breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as craft beer and wine.
While we were there, we tried their Ethiopian and Kenyan Cold Drip Coffee. I’ve only had this type of coffee once before and, to be honest, I wasn’t that fussed. However, the baristas at the The Fine Food Store obviously know their stuff – theirs was amazing. The perfect drink for coffee lovers in Summer.
The Fine Food Store
Address: Cnr Mill and Kendall Lane, The Rocks
Pony Lounge and Dining
Pony Lounge and Dining combines Modern Australian Cuisine prepared on an Argentinean wood fire grill. We tried their Seared Kangaroo with pepperberry dressing, raspberry, pickled currants; Roasted Heirloom Beets – burrata, olive crumb, hazelnut, crispy beets; and JR Signature Sirloin – wood fire grilled South American salsa, black cabbage. I absolutely loved the kangaroo. It was cooked perfectly and surprisingly, didn’t have the gamey flavour I expected.
The pony hide clad counter is a key feature of this restaurant, which prides itself on showcasing Australian produce.
Pony Lounge and Dining
Address: Cnr Argyle Street and Kendall Lane, The Rocks
The Rocks Centre
The Fine Food Store and Pony Lounge and Dining are both situated at The Rocks Centre. Built in 1924 by Francis Ernest Stow, the site was originally associated with metal works and is one of the few remaining 20th century industrial building in The Rocks. Kendall Lane gets its name as this site was used as Kenall’s Biscuit Factory during the 19th century.
Scarlett Restaurant at Harbour Rocks Hotel
The historic Harbour Rocks Hotel was opened in 1989. The Scarlett Restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, and also offers their service for private dinners, cocktail parties or intimate weddings.
On arrival , we were treated to Scarlett’s Dirty Mojito – Muddled lime and sugar with Stolen spiced rum, topped up with soda. I have to confess. Mojitos are my favourite cocktail. Scarlett Restaurant made them perfectly. Sitting outside on the deck in the beautiful Sydney Spring weather, Mojito in hand, this was the perfect way to while away a lazy afternoon. It was really difficult to leave this venue!
But our afternoon didn’t end with the Mojitos, we were also given a pea puree and hollandaise tart, a confit shallot and smoked salmon tart and a Golden Egg. The Golden Egg was completely unique. You would expect it to taste like scrambled egg, but instead it was as light as air with only a very subtle egg flavour.
Scarlett at the Harbour Rocks Hotel
Address: 34 Harrington Street, The Rocks
I was really quite keen to try Pei Modern. I’ve been to The Four Seasons countless times for High Tea and it’s also home to my favourite bar in Sydney – Grain. But yet, I hadn’t managed to find enough child-free time to eat at Pei Modern.
Pei Modern delivers bistro-style dining with a menu that celebrates fresh, local seasonal produce. It prides itself on unconventional food pairings. This was apparent with the dessert we were served.
Pei Modern’s Head Pastry Chef, Lauren Eldridge, spoilt us with not one, but five different desserts!
Josephine Pignolet Award recipient, Lauren Eldridge has joined Pei Modern Sydney as Head Pastry Chef, working with Executive Chef Mark Best and Head Chef Joachim Borenius. Fresh from the kitchen of World’s Best Restaurant, Osteria Francescana in Italy, Lauren brings her signature style of bright, contemporary and visually impactful desserts.
I found it difficult to decide on a favourite. The fresh, tart flavour of the Frozen blood orange curd was a lovely dessert to end our food odyssey, but the intense dark chocolate of the Bitter chocolate tart kept me going back for more. I guess I’ll just have to find an excuse to go back and try them all again, just so I can come to a conclusion!
Address: 199 George Street, The Rocks
While I wasn’t paid for this blog post, I did wine and dine for free. Many of these venues I regularly visited when I lived in Sydney, and still do now, so I was more than happy to write a blog post to let you all know about them!