Where: 91 Riley Street, Darlinghurst 2010
Opening Hours: Tue - Wed 6 - 11pm, Fri - Thur lunch 12pm - 4pm & dinner 6pm - 12am, Sat 6 - 10pm, Sun 6 - 10pm
Phone: 02 8090 3462
All hail vodka fiends. Tucked away behind Darlinghurst's Stanley Street, and next to its rowdy neighbour, Cafe Pacifico, the Food Society offers up a 70-deep vodka selection in a warm, bric-a-brac hidey-hole. And the fare? Hearty modern Eastern European home-style cooking, served in generous portions by friendly staff.
Yes, the Food Society is big on vodka, but this doesn't justify intoxication by default. Take the vodka seriously, because the restaurant certainly does. Honey, orange and clove, raspberry, quince, apple, cucumber, burnt caramel, peanut butter and jelly, coconut and even bacon are just some of the flavours guests can taste of a visit with the philosophy being based around encouraging diners to appreciate vodka on its own rather than as a staple cocktail ingredient.
Just in time for their first birthday, the Food Society has welcomed new chef, Ali Bahmad. Bahmad's menu centres on share dishes, so we recommend you get experimental. The appetiser of fried cauliflower with paprika, parsley, watercress and red wine vinegar ($11) is a wonderland of pop and crunch, whereas the chicken liver parfait with onion jam and toasted bread ($18) is smooth and poignant in flavour.
The Food Society's signature dish, the grilled cuttlefish on squid ink risotto and parmesan ($26), melts into an extravaganza of salt and spice; the dish is extremely rich, so go easy. And for something true to Eastern Europe, we recommend the Goulash Society Style, a combination of slow-braised beef cheek, polenta and paprika ($28).
There's a well-oiled wine list too, including a NV Cruse blanc de blanc brut ($10 glass) and a Perrin et Reserve Cotes du Rhone Grenache shiraz merlot ($10 glass). For dessert, the coffee chocolate cream with aromatics and honeycomb ($12) is devilishly sweet, just the way we like it.
The Food Society is more than a convenient refuge for those seeking out an alternative to the boisterous Mexican joint next door. It's an establishment offering authentic Eastern European food, a jolly atmosphere and diligent service. Oh, and they also provide catering services too, so you can have all this goodness transported to your venue of choice. But for now, we think it's just about time you join us, so pull up a bar stool ... Na zdrowie.
By Lisa Omagari
Grilled cuttlefish on squid ink risotto and parmesan
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