Gastro Park sells itself as a playground of inventive cuisine and if the food doesn't capture your interest the passing Kings Cross circus outside will surely keep you entertained! Personally I've seen the Kings Cross shenanigans before and am totally engrossed by the culinary trickery that Gastro Park is plating up before me.
Today's lunch as been organised by the lovely Sugarpuffi who has been lured to Gastro Park by the promise of truffles that has also enticed myself, Miss D, Miss J and Miss R out for a Saturday lunch.
Lunch starts with some lovely warm brown bread served on a slate tile with a fancy smear of butter and a sprinkle of sea salt. Although this is just a piece of bread and butter it is presented so well that it makes me excited for the dishes to come.
We begin our meal with a starter each. As I'm on a bit of a budget and Gastro Park is not the place for a cheap lunch I choose the cheapest starter on the menu - the Putanesca Wafer ($6.00). I actually have no idea what Putanesca is (other than I think Charlotte wanted to make Miranda one for her baby shower on Sex and the City) so I'm thrilled to see a very artistically presented wafer served in a stone. The flavour is a mix of Parmesan cheese and tomato and it is super thing and crispy. Within seconds all that is left are...crumbs.
For entree I have seared scallops, serrano ham, creme carrot, endive caramel and marcona almond ($26.00). I've read a lot about this dish on other blogs and also in newspaper reviews so I'm keen to try this for myself. The flavours are lovely and light and all of the elements work well together - the creme carrot is creamy and sweet, and the scallops cooked perfectly. I love the plate this came on so much that I wish I'd brought a bigger handbag ... it would look nice in my home!
The main of crispy scaled snapper, smoked potato puree, calamari crackling and ink sauce ($39.00) is another dish I've read a lot about - mainly due to the treatment of the fish scales with hot oil making them not only completely edible, but quite tasty. Consensus on the scales at the table was quite mixed - Miss J didn't like them, Miss D and Miss R thought they were OK...whereas I LOVED them (I ate my own plus Miss J's). I would say I was attracted by the saltiness of the fish scales and their crispiness - two of my favourite flavours/textures. The calamari crackling was reminiscent of a large prawn cracker - but better tasting, and the potato puree was soft and creamy - really lovely. Cylinders of kipfler potatoes coated in ink sauce were a lovely surprise too.
Time for dessert! I go for the chocolate honeycomb, mandarin sphere, cookies and cream ($22). What an amazing looking dish - so many elements on the plate, a feast for both the eyes and taste bubs alike - this dessert was pretty rich though, so in retrospect I probably didn't need to eat this all to myself as I felt a bit ill after scoffing the entire thing to myself. We are all awed by the tiny macarons on the plate - god only knows how hard they are to make. Cracking open the mandarin sphere to reveal its creamy innards was pretty fun too.
Gastro Park is at 5-9 Roslyn Street, Kings Cross. Phone them on 02 8068 1017.