Bishop Sessa WAS called Crown Street Assembly when we visited but has had a name switcheroo. The restaurant occupies the old Tabou site - whose closure last year heralded the beginning of a number of restaurant closures in the area. So far Bishop Sessa is going great guns and I hope they stick around as the food and service were wonderful on the night that Miss M and I visited.
The downstairs of the restaurant has a very modern, clean look and upstairs is much more dark and cosy - I love both spaces, and love the honeycomb looking bar downstairs. I really appreciate that I could come here on my own and sit at the bar and not feel like a Nigel No Friends!
It's been a while since Miss M and I last saw each other so we decide to order the $55 banquet and spend out time chatting + gossiping rather than deliberating over the delectable sounding menu.
The menu has a number of wonderful appetizers/bar snacks and I'm delighted to see the Quail Bun on the banquet offering - it's AMAZING!!!! The quail was crispy and smoky in flavour - I'd say this bun was WAY better than the pork bun I had a Momofuku in NYC. Big call, but it's true. During the entire meal I was hoping I'd not be too full by the end as I wanted to order another quail bun - but my tummy just couldn't handle it. Soft.
Our next appetizer- dumplings but not any old dumplings! These dumplings are something very special - a beef and bone marrow filling topped with black vinegar and pearl barley. Such a strong + beautiful flavour without being rich or overwhelming. I really loved the inclusion of the pearl barely in this dish as it lent the dish a nice, nutty flavour.
We move in the entree section of the menu with the arrival of Pan-roasted local calamari with chorizo, quinoa, chermoula and roasted peppers - delicious, the chirozo was lovely and smokey and the calamari so tender! I've tried cooking with quinoa before at home and it was a total failure so I love eating it when out. The next dish was also mind-blowingly good - scallop ceviche, cucumber, avocado, lemon + ginger beer sorbet. The flavours of this dish were so fresh and light...perfect for the lead up to the hot summer weather.
The banquet also included two main dishes - the first a chervil crusted lamb loin with goats cheese crushed potato, dried olives + rocket with a red pepper jus. The lamb was so tender and the goats cheese potato - WOW, so a lush creamy flavour! The second main was the much anticipated roast suckling pig with celeriac puree + spring vegetables. The pork crackling was incredible - so crispy! I stupidly ate mine first up then had to watch Miss M's plate as she left hers to the end...torture!
Our mains came with a side of Iceberg + Butterleaf Salad - really simple, but the fresh greens were a nice counterbalance to our delicious meaty mains.
Last but not least - dessert! The lights had been turned down in the restaurant by this stage so the lovely restaurant manager, Erez, came over with his iPhone to help illuminate my photography. Talk about service, hey!
The dessert platter was temptation on a plate - cheesecake, deconstructed pavlova and something delicious that the waitress couldn't quite explain!
Our night at Bishop Sessa was fantastic and I know we'll be back again soon. The food was delicious - such incredible flavours. The service was really friendly and helpful and I love the space; the bright modern space downstairs and the beautiful, dim and cozy dining room upstairs are both wonderful comfortable spaces.
Bishop Sessa is at 527 Crown Street, Surry Hills. Phone them on 8065 7223.