The weather is finally warming up which means that it’s time to go out and enjoy the sunshine! And what better way to enjoy the sunshine than a nice meal by the water where you can hear the waves lapping up against the pier and feel the warmth of the sun on your back.
The Finger Wharf at Woolloomooloo is a great place to do this, as well as do a little bit of people watching while you dine. We visited Manta for lunch on a gloriously sunny day to celebrate The Cat’s birthday. We’d scored ourselves a voucher for 6 people for $259 – which came to less than $45pp for three courses. The set menu had a choice of three options per course, and also included a glass of house red or house white. Since we had a table of 6, we were able to order every item off the menu and I can safely say that all the dishes were delicious!
I started with freshly shucked oysters which included both the Pacific and Sydney Rock variety. The oysters came with a fresh lemon cheek, a sweet spring onion and apple dressing, and a tangy balsamic and pepper dressing. The oysters were deliciously briny and really didn’t need much more than a squeeze of lemon juice, but the spring onion and apple dressing also went quite well with the oysters.
If you’re a cheese lover and you haven’t tried burrata yet, you are seriously missing out. Inside this plump, knotted ball of cheese is cream and soft mozzarella that oozes out once it is cut into. It is rich, creamy and oh so delicious! The promise of burrata and wood-fired oven pizza is what drew us to Puntino Trattoria, which is hidden away on the Woolloomooloo side of Crown Street.
We’re being treated tonight with a multitude of cheeses and treats from the wood-fired oven, starting with the smoked provolone that is baked in the wood-fired oven with shaved black truffle. The truffle aroma hits as soon as it lands on the table, and we use the tongs to take a piece of the melty, stretchy cheese and eat it with the accompanying bread.
Other entrees that we sample also include the calzone ai formaggi – a wood-fired pizza folded over with mozzarella, parmesan and garlic – and a simple but delicious flash friend calamari with lemon and garlic. The calamari pieces are especially good as they are slightly tangy from the lemon and very tender.
A belated farewell to our favourite chef/food blogger Lex, who has headed off to Canada for a working holiday! We farewelled him in style with some drinks and delicious food at China Doll on Woolloomooloo Wharf, where he had just finished working. As a result we were well and truly spoilt, with an insider to tell us what to order and head chef Frank Shek sending out some of China Doll’s best dishes, some of which were on the house.
Sashimi of hiramasa kingfish and ocean trout with blackened chilli dressing – $26
We place our palates into the hands of the very capable chefs and start with the cold sashimi dish first. The red colour of the dish worries me at first but I find that the spice factor is very mild and is careful not to overpower the delicate taste of the kingfish and ocean trout. Hiding underneath the slices of fish are batons of crunchy apple which provide a nice crunchy texture against the soft fish.
Crispy school prawns with lime mayonnaise
The crispy school prawns are a blackboard special tonight and turn out to be one of my favourite dishes. The prawns are absolutely addictive, particularly when smothered in the lime mayonnaise and an extra squeeze of fresh lime.
Prawn and mushroom steamed dumpling with tobiko and red vinegar – $20