This has been one of the best weeks I’ve had in a really long time. As most of you already know, I submitted my last assignment on Sunday. Then on Wednesday I not only found out that I had passed all my assignments, I had also scored a new job as a part time nutritionist at a rad little health food store! It just seemed like all my hard work over the last 2 years were paying off and I was (and still am) so ecstatic about it all!
It also just so happened that we had been invited to review a beautiful restaurant in Seaforth called By Hand where a friend of mine recently started work there as a chef. And when I made our booking, I chose last night because I knew this would be my first college free week and I figured it was a perfect time to go out for a nice dinner to celebrate. I didn’t know however, that I’d be getting my results and also scoring a new job as well, which really just added to the spirit of the night!
And what a place to celebrate! When I first found out about By Hand, I knew instantly I had to visit it. It has some really great fundamentals that I highly respect and value in a restaurant The menu is based on the seasons and changes every two weeks depending on what is best during that season. They source beautiful, fresh produce from farmers markets and specialty suppliers, and the quality of the produce really shows in the meals. They only have a set menu, which is $65pp and involves an entree, two mains, two side dishes and a dessert. I’ve been to a few places now with a set menu, and this is one of the better value ones. If we had gone to a fine dining restaurant, and ordered similar meals to what we had last night, I’m sure we would have paid a fair amount more.
This is the current menu they have and the one that we tested, and it is available until the 16th of May. We also got a bottle of the Escarpment The Edge Pinot Noir, which is one of the recommended wines for the menu.The entree was cumin spiced hummus with heirloom carrots, truffle honey and goats cheese. This was such a delicious way to start the course! The carrots were roasted perfectly, and went so well with the creamy combination of hummus and cheese.The next meal was the roasted flathead on cauliflower puree, topped with mushroom and pancetta crumb. Of all the dishes that we had, this was my favourite. The texture and “umami” flavours of the mushrooms, worked surprisingly well with the fish. And the pancetta crumb really just completed it. It was such a beautiful balance of different tastes and textures, a real winner for me! I’ll be honest, it was at this point that I started to get worried that we wouldn’t be full by the time we left. The food so far had been delicious, but the portions were admittedly small. Jared has a big appetite, and I know how much it usually takes him to get full (it’s a lot). But my fears dissipated when our next meals arrived – the veal shank with puy lentils, roasted grapes and labneh and the two sides of apple coleslaw and roasted pumpkin with parmesan.
The shank was incredibly tender and fell apart so easily. It was my first time trying puy lentils, and they were delicious stirred into the rich, creamy labneh. The coleslaw was really crisp and fresh. I loved the tangy apple slices and the fact that it wasn’t drenched in a creamy sauce. It added a light and refreshing touch to the other slightly heavier and richer dishes. I also have to say that the pinot noir went beautifully with this dish and complimented the flavours well. It went well with the other dishes too, but it definitely took the veal to a new level! I was full by this stage, and Jared was getting there too. We still had dessert to go though! And to think I was worried about being full! The dessert was a coffee pannacotta with little bits of brownie. I was full, don’t get me wrong. But there was no way I was leaving without eating dessert! The brownie pieces were just the right amounts of sweet, rich and chewy, and went beautifully with the slightly bitter coffee infused pannacotta. Overall, we had a really great experience there. There was only really only one small problem we had, and that was it was a bit noisy as it was a small restaurant and there were two large dinner groups there at the same time as us, with the one nearest us being a bit loud. But that wasn’t to do with the venue and not too big of a deal. It didn’t dampen our night at all and the great food and friendly staff definitely made up for it. I also have to say that it was also really quick service. I have been to some restaurants where there’s been a set menu, and we’ve either had to wait quite a while between meals, or the next meal came while we still eating the previous one. But our meals came in good time last night and I couldn’t be happier with the service.
So if you’re looking to book a lunch or dinner somewhere in the Northern Sydney, and enjoy eating seasonal produce cooked wonderfully and for a great price, please do check them out. Their website is here and their instagram page is @byhandsydney. The talented chefs looked after us really well and if you’d like to check them out, their instagram pages are @little.nikki.jay, @__jakeowen__ and @fredfrancis12. They’re just a beautiful bunch of people creating delicious food, so definitely check them out! ‘Til next time, By Hand!