Restaurant Balzac hands down would have to be one of the most elusive restaurants we have had the pleasure of visiting. There isn't really any reason behind this other than the simple fact that we had always wanted to go yet never actually found the time to do so. It became a running joke with us because despite every intention we never went. Since the Taste of Sydney festival though it has been Gianna's mission to get us there. Emails, text messages; subliminal messages in my ipod were all ways to try entice the words "lets go to Balzac" come out of my mouth. Sure i'll take the blame for not going. Im sorry ok. But luckily one day when I was at my weakest (hungover); and all the stars and planets were in alignment, Gianna said lets go to lunch at Balzac. Who would've thought?
Located at The Spot in Randwick I can say that making the trip is incredibly worthwhile. Stepping in past the thick sandstone blocks, you are taken to a very nice slice of the world. The surroundings are simple and elegant. Nothing over the top and exuberant, where you can appreciate and take in the characteristics and features of the heritage building you find yourself dining in. The setting is incredibly relaxed and once seated you can't think of anything better than looking forward to the food at hand. We were seated in the down stairs dining section in front of one of the sandstone foundation walls. As you can imagine I had to be told to sit on my hands as there was a nice pile of sandstone grit building up on my side of the table. Our lovely waitress could see the anticipation and brought out the menus to begin.
The waitress was incredibly helpful and went through the menu for us. At Balzac the menu changes quite regularly based on the seasonality of produce. So what you eat one day may not be around the next. Having some helpful floor staff on hand makes picking and choosing the food a somewhat relaxed and enjoyable affair.
It was hard to decide on what to eat despite the helpfulness of our waitress. Gianna proceeded to order from the special lunch menu which is a 3 course selection for $39, which consists of and entree, main and dessert. I decided to order a main and some oysters for an entree a la carte. First cab off the rank was the Amuse Bouche - a creamy palate cleanser to get the ball rolling and some bread.
For the life of me I can't remember what soup it was that Gianna had as the first course of her lunch special. All I can remember is that it was incredibly smooth and creamy, had hints of truffle and tasted amazing. With the ever changing menu it's hard to go back and check even in retrospect. You just have to take my word that it was brilliant.
Rolled saltbush lamb shoulder with butternut pumpkin & sage was the next course up for the lunch special and how very tasty it was. Pretty on the plate and tasting even better, it was a beautiful dish. Salty and soft juicy lamb, hard to go wrong. The colours were vibrant and you could tell how fresh produce makes a world of difference as the pumpkin would melt in your mouth and mix in with the lamb.
Berkshire pork belly, black pudding, pomme boulangerie and jus charcuterie $38 was the other main ordered and wow is all I can say. Beautifully presented and well structured are two things I thought when I saw and the taste, just divine. Salty and incredibly crisp crackling, soft and juicy pork meat combined with black pudding and potatoes just all worked well together. The different flavours and textures when combined were amazing.
In the simple and elegant surroundings the food really is the centrepiece and you can see how Matt Kemp's restaurant philosophy translates into the food. Fresh and seasonal produce combining gallic influence with British comfort food to create something for everyone making every visit worthwhile.
So after such an enjoyable lunch there was still another course to go, desert. A rhubarb tart with creme anglaise was brought out and shared between Gianna and myself. Not too sweet and cut with the nice tartness of the rhubarb it was a great way to finish lunch.
No hard feelings Maison De Balzac.
So sitting back and looking at our experience I can only kick myself as to why it took us so long to go to Balzac. The food was beautiful and amazing, the staff were friendly and the restaurant itself is in quite a pretty building. Im glad that the stars and planets were in alignment and all signs had pointed to yes because even though it all came together in the end and we had our lunch at Balzac, I know that it won't take too long in between visits.
Restaurant Balzac - www.restaurantbalzac.com.au