A girlfriend of mine has finally finished her exams, and we decided that a day out combined with good food was in order. She was easy as to where we went, and after realising last week that Ryo’s Noodles in Crows Nest is currently on break, I suggested we hit the city for some retail and food therapy.
She was happy with the idea, and wanted to purchase a few things for her boy as it was their anniversary this weekend… You can probably imagine the nature of the things she was purchasing 😉 We spent a good part of our morning browsing in various stores around the QVB, before making our way to Myer and doing some more browsing in the lingerie section. After a number of hours of searching and finally selecting a few things, we declared ourselves ravenous and she turned to me and asked what my selection for our lunch would be.
Working at the Federal Courts, I’ve often trekked up and down Martin Place. For some time, I’ve noticed Martin Place Bar in the corner displaying an ‘I ❤ Food Awards: Best Bistro/Bar Food for three consecutive years’. Martin Place Bar on Saturday nights is reknown for being an ‘Asian bar’, and when I told my sister that I was thinking of going there for lunch, she said that she heard it was frequented by ‘seedy Asian bankers’. Hmmm… we’re not racist at all, are we? 😛
I’m a passionate fan of bar food…. chicken schnitzel with mushroom sauce aside, I enjoy quality bar food, like steak sandwiches spilling with aioli, fresh salads laden with generous slippery pieces of smoky salmon, and linguine flecked with chili, with garlicky prawns bursting in the freshness of the sea. I enjoy the fact that you can go with a group of friends to a bar and if some are in the mood for Italian, they can order the pasta, whereas if I’m in the mood for a steak, I might go for the most expensive eye fillet available on the menu. There is so much diversity in pub grub these days, and it means that you don’t have a whole lot of worrying of ‘does everyone like Italian’ or ‘can everyone go to a steakhouse?’ At a bar, everyone can eat whatever they like, in a relaxed, non-pretentious environment, and have an ale or a glass of wine should they feel like it.
Anyway, we went at about 1.15, which was obviously their busiest time, and on a Friday, it was exceptionally full. I was somewhat surprised that we had to wait to be seated; I’m used to just grabbing a table in bar bistros. Regardless, the waitress found us a table relatively quickly, and after this we ordered our food down at the bistro bar before purchasing ciders from the main bar at the front of the room.
My friend and I are fans of cider, and were eager to try a cider that they had on tap, which neither of us had tried before. While the cider revolution has rolled across Sydney and it’s now available on tap at most bars, most bars don’t have more than the one type. The one Martin Place Bar had was an apple one called Orchard Crush.
We were surprised by how light the colour was, looking more like lemon crush than cider, which is normally a bit more brown in colour. It was light, refreshing, and not too sweet.
Our food probably took about 15 to 20 minutes to arrive, and they delivered it to our table. Not having those annoying beeper things to go and pick up your food at the counter is a nice change.
My friend had ordered the MPB Lean Beef Burger ($18) with spiced beetroot, onion relish, lettuce and seeded mustard mayo with fries, and was pleased that they remembered her request for ‘no cheese’ (she’s had too many experiences of people forgetting). She absolutely demolished the whole lot with great satisfaction. I snitched a couple of her shoestring fries, and they were all right, nothing spectacular, but I’m more of a fan of wedges and well-seasoned thick-cut chips than fries.
Meanwhile, I had ordered the Crispy-skinned Atlantic Salmon ($24), which came with a green pea puree and minted potatoes:
Minus points for leaving seeds in the lemon wedge. The salmon was a tad overcooked for my preferences (I like it still pink in the centre), and I was surprised as to the presence of char-grilled capsicum under the fillet, which hadn’t been on the menu. The pea puree was well-seasoned, which is admirable as peas are such a bland vegetable, although it seemed that it was the puree that was minted, and the potatoes seasoned with lemon. Regardless, all of the flavours went well together.
After polishing off our cider, we walked down past Wynyard towards the Rocks, where I was to introduce my friend to French macarons. La Renaissance is the sister bakery of Baroque Bistro & Patisserie, and while it’s a closer walk if you’re coming down George Street, there’s a slightly wider selection of macarons up at the main patisserie, and not to mention when you have coffee and cake, your cake comes out nicely plated. There are also some exceptionally comfortable sofas outside, which we promptly crashed out on as soon as we arrived.
With my friend’s lactose allergy, most of the desserts were out of the question for her, being mousse-based. She therefore went for the Cafe Gourmand (three macarons and a coffee) option, ordering a soy hot chocolate (which was a tad on the watery side, and which we discovered an hour later was NOT soy) and one each of the salted caramel, chocolate & coconut, and hazelnut & honey macarons.
I’ve been here countless times for Baroque’s macarons, and the hazelnut & honey is a new flavour; it was AMAZING. I was somewhat disappointed with their salted caramel this time round however (which is the flavour they’re renown for). It was a touch overcooked, and so was very, very chewy.
I had an Earl Grey and their Zulu ($15), which is an absolute chocolate overload; my idea of heaven! Valrhona ‘Araguani’ chocolate mousse, salted caramel and dark chocolate ganache, with a mini chocolate macaron. Whenever you order one of the Entrements off the menu, it comes served with ice cream or sorbet.
Doesn’t it look simply scrummy and EPIC?? The gold flakes under the macaron are pieces of wafer, while there was a slightly salty biscuit crumble underneath the vanilla bean ice cream (which was flecked with specks of vanilla). The Zulu itself however…. oh man. For those who aren’t epic fans of chocolate… I recommend you steer past this one. However for those that ARE, you cannot surpass moments like this.
After hoovering up our delicious desserts, we decided to make the long way back up to the station. However, I simply couldn’t leave Baroque without purchasing some takeaway macarons…. honestly, did you really think I would go without??
Geez, I’m sooo full; I think I’ve completely undone all the good work I did in Pilates last night. Goodbye to the flat belly I woke up to this morning…! 😦
Oh well, I can always start being good tomorrow….
Enjoy your weekend, lovelies x
Martin Place Bar
51 Martin Place, Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9231 5575
Baroque Bistro Patisserie
88 George St, Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9241 4811