A few Friday’s ago the girls took me to Neild Avenue for a belated birthday dinner and celebration. Rookie error for a Sydney Foodie, I should have known better. Of course the brand new restaurant from chef Robert Marchetti and restaurateur Maurice Terzini from Icebergs Dining Room and North Bondi Italian would be packed. Of course you wouldn’t be able to book a table and of course you’d be lucky to swing a table before 10pm.
The first thing that strikes you about Neild Avenue is the amazing high ceilings and sexy fit out. It’s incredible what a few million bucks can achieve…three quarters of Sydney’s glitterati floating around for starters.
But don’t worry they’ll still have to wait in line for a table like the rest of us, Neild Avenue plays fair. There’s a large rectangular bar as you first walk in and lounge areas to the left and right where people order cocktails and a few starters. To the left is the seated dining area with a giant wooden house floating above it that I’m told can be lowered to create a private dining room (no that’s pretty cool).
We arrive at 8pm and there’s slim to no chance of us getting seated in the restaurant tonight so we order dishes in the bar area and make ourselves cosy.
The menu is predominately Mediterranean and Middle Eastern with a focus on meats, flat breads and well-known Lebanese dishes served in ways you haven’t seen before. There’s no fancy presentation or OTT spreads just strong flavours and good wholesome food. Must try dishes on the menu include the baked eggplant and pork ragu, fake tabbouleh, hummus with flat bread and the arancini balls. We try to order the lamb plate but it’s they’ve run out so opt for the goat instead which is still good though a little dry as goat often is. The calamari is served on a giant skewer before plated by the waiter.
The waitresses look like nurses in their all whites and are as friendly as you can expect with a full house and order taking a plenty. The wine list is accessible and we order a few nice bottles at a reasonable price. The cocktails are the only real miss for the evening, we order a few rounds before and after dinner but they’re either too sweet or too sour or too watery. I’d say stick to wine and finish with a Johnnie Walker on ice.
Neild Avenue welcome to the neighborhood. With new multimillion-dollar developments happening around the area I’m sure this will be the first in a string of restaurants and hopefully a new dining precinct for Rushcutters Bay.
10 Neild Avenue Rushcutters Bay 2011
Restaurant: Mon – Sun 6pm – late; Lunch Fri – Sun 12 noon – 3pm;
Bar: Mon – Thu 6 pm – 12 midnight; Fri – Sun 12 noon – 12 midnight
No reservations except Friday lunch