It’s hard not to be immediately charmed by a local restaurant that has a wheelbarrow full of fresh produce out the front, as well as a ‘doggy parking’ area complete with water bowls for our four-legged friends. Sir D and I are lunching at High Street Bistro which is packed on a Sunday. A voucher deal for 3 courses for two for only $39 keeps our wallets happy, but the normal prices aren’t too steep, with around a $30 average for main courses.
Pancetta wrapped scallops combines two of my favourite things – scallops and cured pork. The black pudding is a nice dash of saltiness while the horseradish broth (which is actually more like a cream-based sauce) adds some zing to the dish. The scallops are cooked perfectly and the pancetta is wonderfully crisp, so it’s great start to the meal.
It’s hard not to like this light-as-air ricotta gnocchi, especially when it’s being bathed in a burnt butter and sage sauce. The gnocchi is topped with baby asparagus spears, crispy fried sage leaves and shavings of parmesan.
I love a good fish and chips and High Street Bistro does it pretty well. A light and crisp batter envelops fillets of moist white fish, and the serving is very generous with four pieces of fish and a mountain of chips underneath. The tartare sauce is pretty damn good as well.
I wasn’t completely sold on the description of the spatchcock dish, but after tasting the juicy meat, I was won over. I couldn’t detect much white anchovy flavour but there were certainly black olives studded in amongst the crushed potato stack. The sweet sauce pooled at the bottom of the dish was a bit strange and didn’t really meld with the rest of the flavours.
As usual, Sir D and I had already zeroed in on which dessert we wanted before we even looked at the savoury dishes. The soft centred dark chocolate pudding is gooey on the inside with cakey edges. Half the pudding was enough for me as it was quite dense and rich so I was happy to pass the rest over to Sir D in exchange for his dessert.
Undoubtedly my favourite dish of the meal was this dessert of berries, passionfruit, lemon curd and meringue. I’m not convinced that it was the ‘orgy’ that was described on the menu but it was definitely a great combination of flavours and textures. The slight tartness of the berries and passionfruit is balanced out by the sweetness of the meringue which had a crispy shell and marshmallowy insides.
Overall the food was delicious but the service a little slow on a busy Sunday afternoon – we spent about 3 hours there having lunch (and I swear it wasn’t just because I was eating slowly!). We spotted a few diners indulging in tasty-looking breakfasts but I wouldn’t hesitate to come back from lunch or dinner as I really did enjoy the food and the vibe of the whole place.
High Street Bistro
197 High Street
Willoughby NSW 2068
Ph: +61 2 9958 1110
Open 7 days from 8am