It’s good to be back! So, since I’ve been gone my office has moved to The Rocks and, most fortunately, so has William Blue Hospitality School.
For those not familiar, trains some of the best talent in the hospitality industry and, of course, these people need practice. So William Blue has a dining room where you can get a fine dining experience at a fraction of the cost. Being the last day of “term”, the ladies of the office decided to check it out.
We were welcomed warmly on arrival and shown to our table. The best thing about coming to William Blues (confession: this isn’t my first time but the blog’s been broken) is the sourdough bread. They make their own bread in-house and it’s served with gorgeously warm salty butter. I’d had a few bites in fact before I remembered to take the photo.
For the first course I chose the heirloom tomato tart with goat’s cheese. I expected a baked tart but it was more like an open tart. It has an amazing flakey base base loaded up with different types of heirloom tomatoes. It was so beautifully sweet and buttery against the sharp goat’s cheese. For me what made the dish was the tomato powder in the olive oil on the outside of the plate. It was so intense and rich. I think I licked the plate.
For main of confit chicken leg (which I kept going duck but hey ho). An odd choice for Sydney in December but it was a rainy day. The chicken was lovely and moist but the skin wasn’t as crispy as I would have expected. The lentils, peas, asparagus and crispy potato in gravy was unreal. It was thick and rich. Perfect for a rainy day!
When it came to dessert we had a small decision problem – in the sense, we couldn’t. We ended up ordered a cheese platters and raspberry frangipane tarts to share between the table. SHEER GENIUS!
The frangipane tart was a definite winner. It was sweet and buttery… If you like rich desserts this is definitely the one for you. It was light and fluffy – definitely one you should try. My only piece of advice is you won’t need the all the mascarpone – it’s super, super rich. The cheese board was good. I loved the blue and the quince paste (standard!) but the cheddar largely was left untouched. I never know why that happens…
Now this should be when the post ends but since it’s Christmas, two of us wandered off to do a spot of Christmas shopping and low and behold, we found ourselves thirsty and hungry in the vicinity of Surry Hills. At lunch, one of the girls was talking about a new bar called Dead Ringer just near Taylor’s Square and, being in the area, we thought it rude not to test it out. Particularly since we also had our nails done.
Dead Ringer is the second bar by the team behind Bulletin Place (I will reload that blog post in the coming weeks). It occupies an old terrace house on Bourke Street with a small outdoor area on the street. Thankfully, the rain had stopped and we chose a table outside in the Sydney afternoon sunshine.
Our waiter is very sweet. He hands out the menu and talks us through the cocktail list. He explains it increases in intensity as it goes down, which we automatically assume means it gets more alcoholic but alas he means intensity of flavour. While he fetches some water we discuss the different cocktail options settling on a Blushing Spirtz and a Summer Gin Punch.
The Summer Gin Punch says that it’s designed for two or three. It comes pre-made in a bottle so I’ve managed to convince my friend to order it with me on the agreement that we’ll share.
The cocktails arrive and look lovely and summery.
The main difference between Bulletin Place and Dead Ringer is the menu. Dead Ringer has a full food menu so we had to try it! First up, we had the chorizo and onion croquettes with tarragon mayonnaise. This gorgeous little morsels were my favourite dish. They were filled with oozy, gooey chorizo filling with a golden crunchy outside. The chorizo was beautiful spiced and warming with sweet onion. Lovely!
Next up, we ordered the pasta chips with parmesan custard. I’ve had something similar in Italy before – pasta strips are deep fried in oil to make them crispy and puffy. I loved the chips but I found the custard a little too rich (I know, very odd for me). It was definitely parmesan custard – rich and salty. I was only dipping ever second chip or so. It definitely needed something to break it up.
The final dish we ordered was a recommended by our waiter, the creamed almonds with sesame and grapes. We over looked this at first and were thinking of ordering more croquettes but our waiter said you couldn’t go past the almonds. The best way to describe this dish was like almond hummus. It was silky and smooth with a fantastic creamy finish and comes with smokey charred toast. Unreal!
As the sunset and the cocktails downed, it was time for good little girls to head on home after our adventures. I thoroughly recommend trying out both William Blue and Dead Ringer – particularly after a long day shopping.
107 George Street
The Rocks NSW 2000
+61 2 9492 3290
107 George Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010
+61 2 9331 3560