A bach (pron. batch) is a small, iconic Kiwi holiday home or beach house.
It makes sense therefore, for there to be a huge surfboard hanging over the open counter top bar looking out onto the street. The small, cosily intimate Bach Eatery is packed to the gills on a Saturday evening, the walls retaining the day’s earlier heat and tight-knit tables lit with tea light candles. Waitresses with flutes of sparkling and white weave with ease in the narrow walkway among the new arrivals looking for a table, and the buzzing hum of conversation dips and rises with the crackle of the kitchen. It’s impossible not to feel immediately at ease in the homely, warm atmosphere of the place, and perched on a tall chair I greet my friend M as she rushes in having scored a parking space close to King Street – on a Saturday night, no less.
Bach Eatery has been on my go-to list for some time now, and it was getting difficult to miss the raving reviews for their pappardelle dish on Zomato. You can book online via Dimmi, but on Friday when I saw the next available slot was 9.00pm for the Saturday evening, I quickly called up and was told that I could get a table at 8.00pm. Thumbs up all round.
As M is being a responsible driver she quenches her thirst with a Phoenix Organic Ginger Beer ($6.00) while I go with a New Zealand draft, the Monteiths Pointers Pale Ale ($6.50) which is deliciously fruity.
M is happy to let me order, taking into account her shellfish allergy. There’s plenty of non-shellfish seafood options on the menu, and when I run through our order with the waitress I’m pleased when she points out that one zucchini flower per person is probably enough with the amount of food we are ordering; it’s always disappointing when you over-order too much delicious food and can’t finish it all!
One Zucchini Flower with Blue Eye Cod ($4) each it is then:
Perfectly crisp and crunchy batter, the flowers are stuffed to the brim with flaky, succulent cod pieces and served on a bed of aioli which is thankfully light on the garlic but does not skimp on creaminess.
No sooner were we polishing off the last remnants of this does our salad arrive, the Grilled peach salad with baby cos, goats curd and toasted hazelnuts ($16):
There’s more grilled peach than cos, making this a wonderfully sweet and substantial salad, and the subtle tang and saltiness of the curd balances it all out. Add some aromatic toasted hazelnuts for aroma, and it’s a wonderful palate cleanser before our mains arrive.
Here it was, the Pappardelle with wild mushroom ragout and slow cooked egg ($24), with the egg coated in a gloriously fluffy cloud of finely shaved Parmesan.
Toss the pasta to combine and the egg yolk coats the fresh pasta in a beautiful sheen, creating a moreish creamy mushroom sauce that begs you to lick it off your plate. The richness of the egg and Parmesan coating the pasta adds a near-umami flavour characteristic to the dish – it’s simply sublime.
At this point we are slightly regretting having ordered the Flank Steak and Chups with Caper Butter ($26). I ordered it medium-rare, but it comes out a little more on the medium-well side. It’s well-seasoned though and a good cut, and extra delicious when you use a forkful of steak to mop up the mushroom sauce left by the pappardelle on your plate. The chips are freshly cut and only lightly fried, and despite being full you tend to idly chomp them down until you push the plate away in desperation.
Despite straining our clothes, we can’t pass up dessert and I order the Hokey Pokey Pavlova in a glass ($13) and the Jelly Tip ($13) for M.
There’s probably not as much hokey pokey as I had been hoping in the little glass, but any more and it might have been a bit too sweet. It’s mixed with a scatter of fresh fruit and fresh cream, with a crisp round of pavlova. M is delighted with her Jelly Tip, proclaiming that it tastes exactly like a wagon wheel, but with more cream. It seems to be predominantly cream, with not only a massive quenelle sitting on top, but the inside of the chocolate dome being filled with cream and a raspberry jammy-jelly centre.
Reasonably priced, unpretentious, great food and warm service – I can see how this place has quickly become a local favourite. I’ve already promised to bring the missus here, as I’m eager to try their other dishes – and that pappardelle can only taste better in the upcoming cooler months!
The Bach Eatery
399 King Street
Newtown NSW 2042
(02) 8084 4093