Dining at The Winery

Today is my birthday.

To celebrate in advance, I went to the Winery on Saturday night with some friends.

I’d heard mixed things about the Winery, but we decided to give it a go and see what all the fuss has been about.

When we arrived, we were led upstairs.  The decor we passed a long the way was eclectic and trendy, with mismatched furniture, lamps and candles and lots of plants. Upstairs there were even moose heads hanging from the walls. They were actually deers, as my friend corrected me.

We were lucky enough to score the gold booth, a cosy booth perfect for our small party of six. It was tucked away in the back corner which made it feel like a private venue, separate from the rest of the restaurant and bar.

We started with a couple of drinks while we waited for the others to arrive. Boyfriend had a Knappstein beer and I had a very tasty Bilpin cider. I’m not a big fan of beer so I didn’t enjoy my taste-test of Boyfriend’s Knappstein but he seemed very pleased with it.

Table service was uber convenient and meant we could bypass the line at the bar.

When the rest of our table arrived, we ordered a jug of White Wine Sangria and a jug of Rose Sangria. Both were extremely delicious and unfortunately difficult to photograph in the dim lighting.

We ordered a couple of shared entrees to begin.

First to arrive was the veal and chorizo sausage roll with homemade chilli jam ($19).  Unfortunately it came in five pieces. I asked the waitress if we could have ours cut into six since there were six of us afterall but she said we couldn’t as they are cooked individually. Clearly they weren’t.

Nevertheless it was extremely tasty. I did find, however, that it needed the chilli jam to counteract the dryness of the pastry.

Second to arrive was our toasty bread with blistered mini vine tomatoes, goats cheese and olive paste ($19). This dish was thoroughly enjoyed by all and all four components on the plate tasted divine and even better when eaten altogether.

We’d heard rave reviews about the chicken, champagne and grape Pie with buttered spinach ($25), so I had to try it and so did two of the other girls.

The pie itself was extremely tasty and very generously sized.  The chicken inside was shredded and all good bits – none of this chicken I have long since referred to as “skanky chicken”.  The champagne flavour was extremely subtle and the grapes, though there were only one or two in each of our pies, added a burst of flavour and freshness. The wilted spinach was also very good. The one disappointment was the sauce. I’m not quite sure what it was meant to be, but it was extremely dark, sticky and strong. Whatever it was, it had been reduced far too much and the flavour was just no good. I’ve since looked up photos of the pie on other blogs and the colour of their sauce is completely different.

Other dishes around the table included lamb meatballs – cous cous, green olives, tomato sugo, gremolata ($14), which weren’t technically a main. I didn’t try them, but apparently they were very tasty.

And the char-grilled chicken salad with witlof, orange, fennel, capers, green raisins ($26).

Lastly, Boyfriend ordered the braised lamb shank with goat’s cheese & potato gnocchi ($28.50).  I’m not a big fan of lamb (I know what you’re thinking – WHO DOESN’T LIKE LAMB?) but I tried it anyway as I LOVE gnocchi and I love slow cooked meat. Aside from it being lamb, it was extremely delicious and Boyfriend seemed to enjoy it a lot.

We were offered a dessert menu but we’d planned on the new Surry Hills Gelato Messina and we were all quite full.

So to finish the evening with a bang, the waitstaff appeared at our table with a boom box, sparklers and a complimentary cocktail. Fortunately, I’d already had a few drinks so I wasn’t completely embarrassed by a group of strangers singing me happy birthday in front of a larger group of strangers.

My birthday cocktail was the Giggly Rose. It was visually very pretty and tasted delicious!

All in all it was a wonderful evening, with great company in a fun location with tasty food.

Would I go back? Probably.

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