Where: 500 Crown Street, Surry Hills 2010
Opening Hours: Wed - Sun 11am - 11pm
Phone: 02 9357 2573
Rainford Street Social is the latest culinary bombshell to hit the Hills. Delivered by the team behind the Japanese influenced Toko Surry Hills and Tokonoma just a few doors up, this neighbourhood bistro offers sterling service in a polished home-style interior. An exclusive love affair with fine Asian cuisine has been sidelined this time round, however, with the collective British heritage of general manager Paul Birtwistle and head chef Ben Orpwood taking centre stage.
The open kitchen, wraparound bar seating, gaping windows, ornate crockery, and recycled timber and brick-heavy aesthetic contribute to this newbie's homemade Brit feel. Attune to the details needed to secure cosy eat-in kitchen ambiance, Rainford Street Social utilises seasonal produce to offer an ever-evolving menu that's kept fresh and local. The piece de resistance? Unobtrusive yet highly attentive staff. Golden service is how we'd put it.
It's Beginning and Middle dishes aplenty at Rainford Street Social, the key for a menu focusing on enhancing the social quality of food. Start with a few Beginning dishes: grilled scallops with Jerusalem artichokes and truffle mushroom brioche ($18) or the potted duck, spiced pear chutney, toast and pickles ($16) for a casual graze. The salad of old fashioned beets, radish, leaves and whipped feta with ginger bread ($16) offers a strong contrast of sweet and sour — a suitable in-between for diners moving on to a couple of Middle dishes.
The grass fed Cape Grim rump steak with oven dried tomatoes served with horseradish and bois boudran sauce ($24) will melt in your mouth as will the roasted mulloway wrapped in lardo, pickled mushrooms, roast radish with burre blanc ($28).
A relatively limited but considered wine list makes choosing the worthy tipple significantly stress free. The 2010 Schlumberger pinot blanc, Alsace France ($64 bottle) is our suggestion. Of the cocktail variety, a Negroni ($15) and a Julep De Normandy ($15) — The Hills' Cider, cloudy apple juice, Poire William Liqueur with mint — should also make the cut as pre-dessert indulgences. Worthy to conclude with is apple tarte tatin with vanilla ice cream ($24), a traditional caramelised apple tart served whole and upside down.
Big on atmosphere and service, Rainford Street Social will soon be tagged a favourite on the competitive Crown Street drag. With rumours of book-ahead roasts, too, we'd highly recommend you watch this space.
By Lisa Omagari
Gass fed Cape Grim rump steak
Good For Groups: