I’m sure many of you will recognise the signature starter of Tomislav. Even though we’ve been here before, it’s hard to forget Tomislav’s quirky and fun take on food which begins right from the start of the meal. Tomislav’s rice crackers are made from rice paper that is deep fried to a light, crispy pappadum-shaped cracker, and the sea salt and vinegar version is served with a spray bottle containing a vinegar solution. It’s hard not to delight in the unusual experience of spraying liquid onto your rice cracker, and it allows the diner to control how much or how little vinegar they want on the cracker.
Tonight we’re at Tomislav for one particular reason – to pig out on scampi! Those that know me will know that I am an absolute seafood fiend, and scampi (also known as langoustines) is something I’ll always choose if I see it on a menu. I remember the first time I tasted scampi was at Makoto, and I fell in love with the sweet flavour and plump texture of the raw scampi. The first dish of the scampi degustation ($95pp including matched wines) tonight is a scampi carpaccio and it reminds me of the first time I tasted scampi. The scampi flesh is sweet and slippery, and obscured by a sheet of parsley puree, nubbins of white onion and caperberries. The fresh flavours of the onion, parsley and caperberries are balanced enough as to not overpower the delicate flavour of the scampi, and there is a hint of wasabi to add a little kick. A baton of fried bread also sits on the side as a buttery accompaniment to the dish.
The scampi cannelloni is presented on a black tile and it looks like art on a plate. The log of scampi and prawn mousse is encased by a pasta sheet, and there are shavings of raw cauliflower, radish and a salty anchovy dressing around it. The scampi in this dish has a much richer flavour that the light, delicate flavours of the previous dish, and all I can ask for is more of it on the plate!
I’m absolutely delighted when a whole scampi tail arrives on the next dish, roasted to perfection. It comes with a slab of pork belly, baby beets, celery, coriander and a deep red beetroot and cherry sauce. The pork belly is fantastic with a piece of crackling on top and a deliciously fatty layer between the crackling and the meat, but I still save the scampi to savour last, with the sweet flavour turned slightly smoky from the roasting. It’s without a doubt my favourite dish of the night.
We move to the sweet courses now, starting with the vanilla cheesecake which I tasted on my last visit. It hasn’t changed much, with its UFO-like appearance topped with lemon ice and a bright pink rhubarb sorbet. The cubes of cream cheese and cheesecake filling mound is hiding the best part of the cheesecake – the crumb. The biscuit crumbs remind me of the top of an apple crumble – sugary, crunchy and utterly addictive.
I’m excited to try the milk chocolate cream cake and it comes as a chocolate-brown cube on the black tile again, sprinkled with a few sea salt flakes. Next to it sits a perfect little quenelle of smoked banana ice cream which instantly hits you as an unusual flavour. The smokiness is quite heavy on the palate when eaten by itself, but when combined with the chocolate cake, it’s the perfect amount of smoky flavour and adds a new dimension to the usual sweet flavours of dessert. There are also some crushed hazelnuts underneath the ice cream.
The most exciting part of this dessert though is the inside of the chocolate cake. At first when I start eating away the surface of the cake, it tastes like a light and creamy chocolate mousse – nothing out of the ordinary but still delicious. As I get further into the cake though, I hit some interesting surprises. The first one is the crunchy hazelnut base which is a nice textural change from the soft mousse, and the second is a soft marshmallow filling inside the cake. I get super super excited at this, exclaiming to Sir D, “Marshmallows! There’s marshmallow inside the cake!!” and I’m so excited that I stop eating mid-way through dessert to take a photo. Marshmallows are awesome!
Even though it doesn’t seem like we’ve eaten a lot, we leave with our bellies full of scampi and rather tipsy as a result of all the matched wines! The scampi degustation was held at Tomislav on 23rd and 24th August, as part of an Entertainment Book promotion. There was also a lamb degustation option available, but neither Sir D nor I wanted to share our scampi so we both decided to choose the scampi menu heh.
2/13 Kirketon Rd,
Darlinghurst NSW 2010
Ph: +61 2 9356 4535
Open Tuesday to Saturday, 6pm – 10pm
Also open for lunch, Friday, noon – 3pm