We’d planned a quick catch-up with the girls on a quiet Monday night, and headed to the Ivy to grab some drinks and food. But Level 1 of the Ivy had definitely changed – both in decor and feel – and was now Palings Kitchen & Bar.
We were seated in what used to be the lounge area, where the soft armchairs and sofas had been replaced with booth seating and cafe-style tables and chairs. Christopher Whitehead (formerly of Mad Cow) nwo heads up the kitchen at Palings, with steak and grill items still on offer in addition to deli, fish, and snack menu items.
The steak and mushroom pie was a popular choice that night, served with caesar salad on the side and a dipping sauce. The pie came out as more of a pastie, and while the flavour was there, the filling was a little dry for some. It seemed like a small serve but enough for a light dinner – especially since we were saving room for dessert!
I opted for the ceviche which again looked small but ended up being quite substantial. The flavours were light and fresh, with enough chilli so that my mouth was burning a little by the end of the dish. All the seafood was fresh with plump juicy prawns, chopped scallop and yellowtail. The pops of corn and avocado complemented the delicate fish nicely.
When asking for recommendations, our waitress described these amazing-sounding chips which are an accompaniment to one of the steak dishes. We asked if we could have these as a side – and they certainly didn’t disappoint! These thrice-cooked chips (Heston-Blumenthal style) were fat and chunky, with extra crispy outsides and light fluffy potato innards. Needless to say, they were gone in a flash!
A light snow pea and runner bean salad was ordered as a shared side, with a slice of mozzarella grilled on a lemon leaf. This imparted a lemony flavour to the mozzarella which brightened up the salad. The vegetables were crisp and lightly dressed and met our vegetable quota for the night.
Onto desserts! The desserts are from Lorraine’s Patisserie downstairs which I had heard great things about. The strawberry mascarpone was a cube of layered cake, mascarpone and strawberries, with a blowtorched sugary top. Apologies about the crappy photo… they decided to get romantic on us and turn the lights down after a while.
I had a cheesecake craving, so I chose the New York cheesecake which was dusted in icing sugar and served with a dollop of sweetened cream. I’m used to eating dense cheesecakes, but this one was light-as-a-cloud and absolutely amazing! It’s probably a good thing that I can’t make cheesecakes like this myself, because I would probably devour the whole thing.
The petit croquembouche was a cute, miniature version of the normally giant profiterole tower. The stacked mini choux pastries were filled with creme patissiere and had a shiny, golden toffee covering them. This dessert was definitely a hit with the whole table and together we polished it off in no time!
Palings Kitchen & Bar
Level 1, ivy
330 George Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Ph: +61 2 9240 3000
Open Monday – Friday, noon – late