Gazebo Wine Garden – Potts Point’s Secret
Gazebo Wine Garden is a gem of a bar/restaurant/café out a short walk from Kings Cross that is well worth a travel from wherever you may live. It’s got the right mix of ingredients to produce success – a vibrant and natural decor that integrates nature, friendly wait staff, a great location and of course – some pretty darn good food.
Date Visited: 17/11/2012
Address: 2 Elizabeth Bay Rd Elizabeth Bay, NSW 2011
Go-to dish: crumbed veal cutlet w/capers, lemon, brown butter
Coming from the same managerial hierarchy as Bungalow, The Winery & The Animal, Gazebo’s refined look and level of service suddenly doesn’t seem so surprising anymore. That’s a good thing – it’s great service.
I could use any great number of words to describe the interior but “nature” is what springs to mind quicker than any other. I won’t go into it, because if that ye old equation holds, I’d have written several thousand words with the pictures already.
It was a warmish day, so we opted to sit outside, under a (mostly) shaded area. As it turns out, I happened to sit at the sunny side…oh boy.
Drinks were first to come up, though I only had small sips of both since I’m technically off alcohol.
Rose and white wine sangria…hmm I’m not sure which one I liked more. I like the white one’s crispness, it was almost like a super classy cruiser (and much better too), but the rose one had the benefit of being fuller in its sweetness, and tasted better in that regard.
Of course, you could just do what we did – get both!
I was so glad we came as a group of 7 people, as it allowed us to sample a large portion of the menu without breaking the stomach (or the bank, should your stomach suffice). I miss these kinds of group outings, I really do.
Usually it’s chicken schnitzel with good reason – chicken just goes so well with breading it’s like a match made in gastronomic heaven. Well, veal actually goes pretty well with it too. Great thing about veal is that because there’s more underdeveloped muscle, it’s generally more tender than full-grown cow meat. Ethical issues aside, that is an objective boon of veal.
In fact, this is why you don’t see beef schnitzels – their hardness does not lean themselves well to cooking as a schnitzel whereas veal is tender enough to go through this process and still taste great.
So how was it? ‘Twas good enough that the plate ran out all too fast. Excellently crispy and chewy breading, a dash of tang from the lemon and tender meat makes quite a winning dish.
The classic sausage roll. I think this was the last thing I figured out how to make back in year 8 Food Tech classes before I stopped cooking altogether. Laziness gets the best of me – in fact, it IS the best of me.
It’s humble, yet tasty – pastry and meat filling is just meant to go together. Put together an absolutely delicious spicy chutney and another mundane dish is turned into a winner.
And here I thought tomato/BBQ sauce is where the innovations stops.
The pastry was kind of tough though – for the lack of a bigger complaint.
Quail’s one heck of a finicky bird to cook. Due to its small size and lean nature, it’s all too easy to overcook it or under-season it so that the meat doesn’t take in much flavour. The quail at Gazebo was somewhat average in this department. It didn’t wow, but at the same time the classic pitfalls associated with poorly cooked mini-birds weren’t fallen into…much.
Forgivable enough though – the sauce is still pretty great
Love chicken thighs, there’s so many ways to cook them that even when you screw up while intending to do one thing you end up making a great version of another thing. It’s all texture here. What great texture it was! The chicken was gone barely before I had a chance to even discern its flavour. I think there was salt…
Just kidding (not about the salt – there really would be that), it’s good chicken! Tender is the name of the bird here.
80% of the time I have duck in the form of Peking Duck and the other 20% I have it as a curry or stir-fried in noodles. I get the feeling the current dish should be common but I actually can’t remember the last time I had it in such a way.
Luckily, the fatty bits of the duck were easy to cut out – but would you want to? The skin is where it’s at – crispy, crunchy, fatty and oily, and bursting at the seams with flavour. If you don’t eat the skin, you may as well not order duck.
May have been a tad overcooked on the inside though – I remembered having to chew a lot more than I usually would need to, and it just felt tougher in general.
These are tougher than they look, so perhaps undercooked just a tad, but mehhhh they’re enjoyable nonetheless. Just gobble these up and watch your waistline grow!
Surprisingly, this short rib was so tender it rivals the veal, so I imagine it must’ve taken longer to cook than usual, which is very nice. The gratuitous slathering of sauce and tenderness of the beef make it extremely win. If only I didn’t have to pick at all of the rind and fatty bits. Booooo. All good things come at a price!
And now, it’s dessert time! What we’ve got here is an excellent crumble, the likes of which I can’t recall the last one-as-good-as-this-one I had (did that even make sense?)
The fruit is baked fresh and hot, the crumble just disintegrating between your teeth, releasing textural awesomeness with each crunch.
Here comes the drool again…
A sugar rush I would happily consume.
Italian Trifle – a dessert that entails layering of various ingredients such as dacquoise, spongecake, fruits or whatever else you can think of. It’s a creative dessert in that the chef has free play on what to put in.
Gazebo’s interpretation involves much fruit and custard – it’s kind of like “ohhhh healthy! Oh wait nope not anymore…ohhhh it’s fruit again!” Lovely and all, but the custard was a bit too much.
Fruit is sweet and fresh though, which is fantastic. It’s a pretty good dessert still, but doesn’t come close to the crumble.
The chocolate pudding is extraordinarily rich. This is the kind of richness that ordinarily would make you stop and think about the well-being of your heart. On the other hand, it’s the richness that makes you take another spoonful…and another…and another.
Usually, I’d stop after a few as I’d be overloaded with the chocolatey-ness, but those smart folks at Gazebo…pairing it with an alcoholic stout ice cream with its refreshing and cleansing malty flavour and its cold, creamy texture…
So glad we shared this between 7 – I would have finished it myself. And then regretted it afterwards for sure.
Man, what is it about the food in the Kings Cross area that’s just so darn good…
As usual, feel free to leave a comment or three
The Good: a strong, winning menu with all the classics, good drink selection, great decor
The Bad: personal preference mean not every dish is a perfect winner
I give Gazebo Wine Gardens a grand total of eight and a half Caesars out of ten – 8.5/10