One birthday celebration simply isn’t enough. After celebrating Sir D’s birthday at Masuya, we celebrated again with more food of course at Rise in Darlinghurst, who has (in my opinion) one of the best value degustations in Sydney.
On Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday nights, Rise offers their 7 course degustation at 25% off the usual price, for just $48pp, which is fantastic value. Of course we took up this offer, and we arrived for at the first 6.30pm sitting on a cool Tuesday night.
The first course is the spicy pork belly salad, which is a soft square of tofu holding up some peppery rocket, slices of roast pork belly and topped with a pile of bean sprouts. Although the pork belly is nice, what really wins me over is the combination of the bean sprouts which have a lovely sesame flavour and the cooling sensation of the tofu.
The next course is a soup and tonight they are serving sweet corn soup with a scallop mousse. The soup is delicious and I particularly like it because I love corn! It’s light and creamy and flavoured with dill and at the bottom of the soup are some small dried berry-like things. The scallop mousse reminds me of a chunk of scallop boudin blanc, a melt-in-the-mouth, creamy soft sausage made from scallop.
My favourite course of the night is the sashimi and it’s something I look forward to everytime I come to Rise. Tonight we are served (left to right) kingfish with mustard vinaigrette, ocean trout with wasabi and soy, and fresh oyster with Thai style fish sauce. The kingfish is lovely with a nice tang from the mustard vinaigrette sauce but after the second slice of kingfish I start to find the sauce overpowers the delicate flavour of the kingfish. With traditional accompaniments of wasabi and soy, the ocean trout cannot go wrong and it’s very fresh. I was surprised at the oyster since I’m not a big fan of Thai flavours but I found I really enjoyed the dressing on the oyster, it was very subtly flavoured and still allowed the natural flavours of the oyster to shine through.
Next is a platter of mixed entrees and I’m very excited to see scampi on the menu! The plate of bite-sized morsels is beautifully presented and I never know where to start with these kinds of tasting plates.
I decide to taste the scampi first which was probably a good choice since it was the least flavoursome of the three. I didn’t detect any citrus or pepper flavour in the mayo so the whole spoonful ended up being quite bland. Sir D thought it didn’t taste like anything and I have to agree that after blanching, the scampi seemed to lose its natural sweetness that is present in its raw form which was a bit disappointing.
I tried the rice paper roll next which had a chunk of cured salmon, a small piece of mango with lettuce and radish as fillers. Although it wasn’t anything spectacular, the mango and salmon paired well together and it was nice and fresh.
The soy milk flan was my favourite of the three, with an intense broth of shiitake mushrooms on top of the soy milk flan. I loved the flavour of the shiitake sauce and although it was a tad salty by itself, when eaten with the flan it was perfect. There were also thin slices of shiitake mushroom and some goji berries on top of the flan.
Starting to get into some more substantial dishes now, we are served a tempura oyster and soba salad with ponzu sauce. The tempura oyster has a lovely crisp tempura batter encasing a soft creamy oyster. I love the ponzu sauce and the bits of seaweed alongside the cold soba noodles and only wish that this dish was a bit bigger!
The main dish is a roasted duck breast is cooked perfectly and the slices of pink meat with a small layer of fat is absolute heaven to eat. Underneath the slices of duck are the deep fried stuffed zucchini flowers, rocket and deep fried eggplant. Neither Sir D nor I usually enjoy eggplant but I suppose everything is better when it’s deep fried because we devour the eggplant with no problems whatsoever! This dish is also served with rice which is perfect for getting all the duck juices and sauce.
The desserts take a while to come out and we soon realise why. They have arranged a special platter of desserts for Sir D’s birthday and written “Happy Birthday” on the plate in chocolate. It’s brought out with a lit sparkler over to our table which is a nice touch.
The dessert as part of tonight’s degustation is a coffee pannacotta with tapioca pearls and a coconut granita. I’m not a big fan of the granita but the coffee pannacotta is smooth and a touch bitter and I love the chewy tapioca pearls.
We also receive some extra desserts on top of the usual one served with the degustation as part of the birthday dessert platter. In the foreground is a frozen white chocolate mousse wrapped in persimmon, and in the background is a rum and raisin ice cream on top of some sort of fruit slice that has dried apricots and sultanas in it and a puff pastry base. I have to say that desserts definitely aren’t Rise’s forte but we did get bonus desserts so I’m not complaining :)
Rise is one of those places that I will keep coming back to over and over again because it is such great value and the food is great. I’ve never been disappointed by the food or the service here and although the portions are quite small in the end the total amount of food is substantial. But of course, if you’re still hungry, Gelato Messina isn’t too far away ;)
P.S. In case you’re wondering, I did go to Gelato Messina and I tried the pavlova flavour that night for the first time – it was amazing with chunks of meringue and ripples of berry and passionfruit throughout the ice cream!
23 Craigend Street
Darlinghurst NSW 2010
Ph: +61 2 9357 1755
Open Tuesday to Saturday, 6pm-10pm