Saturday, June 02, 2012

Etch, Sydney CBD

Etch is another restaurant in the Justin North stable - a successful Sydney restauranteur who has an empire within Westfield Sydney that by all accounts is doing very well. There's a fancy restaurant, a slightly less fancy restaurant, a bakery, a providors, a cooking school and a burger joint tucked away in another section of the food court.


So it seems a bit odd that on a Friday night in late May my friend Miss M and I are dining at Etch (in the Intercontinental Hotel) in what appears to be a dining room FULL of people on Travelzoo vouchers. Don't get me wrong, I love my meal deal vouchers...but I get the sense that restaurants often offer them up when things "aren't going so well".  To have a room full of people on a meal deal on a Friday night is not great.  For a restaurant as lovely as Etch I hope this overabundance of vouchers doesn't signal the beginning of the end. That would be sad.


The meal is a six course tasting menu that starts with an Amuse Bouche – a delicate corn soup served in a dainty little tea cup. The first entree (how fat do I feel saying "first entree" like one entree just isn't enough) is a salad of char grilled zucchini, goats curd, lemon, capers and raisins.


The entrees continue with Crispy Spencer gulf prawns, peach and a wasabi cream - a lovely dish with plump and juicy prawns.  I don't recollect any peach in this dish but I inhaled it in about 10 seconds so it's a wonder I remember tasting anything at all.  Next up is the Autumnal vegetable risotto that is topped with a few crispy, salty lotus root chips.


It's time for the main event (or the two main event, but who's counting right)?  Miss M has the caramelized pork belly, with beetroot and pear puree - she's pretty happy with it.  I decide to have the non-red meat option of baked snapper with Jerusalem artichoke and braised pearl barley - it's good, really good and fairly filling as it comes served on a medley of beans, corn and red onion.


The final main arrives - aromatic slow braised lamb shoulder, onions, spinach, mint and balsamic for Miss M.  She loves this dish, and says the lamb is so tender it falls apart with the touch of the fork.  My pumpkin gnocchi with pumpkin seed crisp, parmesan crisp and a black pepper vinaigrette is not at all what I was expecting. The gnocchi is more like a deep-fried croquette...not the pudgy little potato dumpling I was expecting. It's delicious though...sometimes it's great to be surprised.


Pre-dessert - for when one dessert just isn't enough.  The rhubarb compote, wine jelly, rhubarb jelly vanilla chantilly is a fun looking pre-dessert (and tasty too).  The jelly is almost like grown-up wine gums and the chantilly cream is as light as a feather. The lemon parfait, pineapple, coconut salad topped with coriander calls an end to the evening. The coriander was an interesting touch - not something that I've had on a dessert before.


Etch is at 62 Bridge Street, Sydney. Phone them on 9247 4777.

Etch on Urbanspoon

26 comments:

  1. We went to Etch on the same Travelzoo voucher and while I found the food pretty good, I left still feeling hungry. I believe I went home and had Vegemite toast! I think I stopped taking photo's of the food after the prawn dish as I just couldn't be bothered with blogging it. Geez! Am I getting slack?

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    1. I was quite full after the dinner...but I've heard others say exactly what you've said.

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  2. I'm a big fan of Etch, though i haven't been for a while. There are so many new places to try. I hope it's not suffering from diner fatigue.

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    1. I'll be interesting to see what (if anything) happens to Etch...I hope the voucher deal isn't the beginning of the end for them as it was a lovely dinner.

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  3. Looks pretty good from here.

    I love the pre-dessert concept.

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    1. I shall demand pre-desserts for evermore! Love it.

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  4. Oh no, let's hope the voucher doesn't mean they're broke!

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    1. Maybe I'm being a bit dramatic...but SO many places offering these deals seem to go belly up soon after.

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  5. the presentation of the gnocchi looks nice! pumpkin with gnocchi .. yum! what a good combo :)

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    1. It's amazing isn't it...totally unexpected.

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  6. Sounds like some really good flavour combinations - love the sitting area shot! No doubt you are the voucher queen.

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  7. why am i always drawn to the desserts when i read restaurant reviews? yum!

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  8. Never seen gnocchi like that, but the dish sounds fantastic! Not sure about all the vouchers... has Justin over reached?

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    1. After writing this post I saw another gnocchi somewhere (my memory fails me now) and it looked like this. OH...it was on Masterchef!

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  9. I had a really grand time when I was here late last year. I didn't even realise that was gnocci until I read your text! Impressive.

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    1. It looks more like a croquette, right?

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  10. why am I attracted to the lotus chip? I hope it stays till I get there!

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    1. I LOVE Lotus Chips...have become addicted to them over the last year.

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  11. Etch is another one on the list. The food looks amazing! I love the sound of the snapper and pearl barley

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    1. I love pearl barley...esp in a nice steaming bowl of soup.

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  12. I have enjoyed my meals at Etch in the past although I must admit I do tend to stay away from voucher places :)

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    1. I'm a bargain hunter from WAY back...I think it's in my genes.

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  13. I went to Etch a couple of years ago and wasn't really blown away, but you've made it look great! Might have to give it another go one day...

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    1. It was a lovely meal...the dining room is a lovely space too.

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