It was in the middle of
snowboarding season winter when S sent me a coupon for Emmilou with a hearty endorsement that every time she’s been it’s been fab and that we should go. I, of course, couldn’t pass up such an offer and thought it’d be a nice break amidst the crazy weekends (there is sometimes too much of a good thing after all). Sadly, they were all booked out in August until the beginning of September. Talk about being popular!
Needless to say that I was pretty excited when September rolled around and we finally got to go to Emmilou (so much so I think I came a bit over-dressed! Haha).
I had forgotten that we would receive a welcome cocktail upon arrival until our waiter asked us if we wanted it now nor wait til the rest of our table arrived. I looked at F, who looked at little bit desperate after a long day’s work, and asked if we could have it now while we waited for R and S to arrive.
We learnt that each night the bartender would create something new – whatever he felt like on the night. Tonight, he made a very drunkable concoction of cherry liquor, aperol and Cointreau with berry coulis and cranberry. When the girls arrived, they were surprised I was drinking before dinner but quickly understood why (even though S made a face and said she couldn’t taste the alcohol. “That’s why it’s drunkable, S!” I gently admonished, taking a sip).
The delightfully refreshing guacamole with a hint of spiciness (which only seemed to affect me, bah) and the slightly salty olives were a great way to start dinner.
The timing was perfect, as just as we were finished with them, our additional special boards came out.
The duck liver pate was smooth, wonderfully creamy and quite rounded when paired with the walnut. The toasted ciabattas were a little overly crunchy, but tasted so good with the pate.
Though I did wish there was more bread to the pate-bread ratio; hate letting good food go to waste and not being able to finish it because it’s just too intense to eat on its own. Sigh.
I don’t know what it is about zucchini flowers stuffed with cheese that just makes F and I light up. These zucchini flowers were stuffed with a creamy goat’s cheese that had a hint of sharpness and were laid on a bed of semi-dried tomatoes. Visually, it made my heart beat a little faster and made me mmm’ed as its flavour ran rampant on the tongue.
When the duo of trout and scallop came out, we all ooh’ed in appreciation. It looked so pretty! I felt bad for R, who waited patiently for me to finish taking photos, while F and S (who knew better than to sit in front of me) were happily munching away.
As scallops are my favourite, I decided to leave that to last and went for the smoked trout first. While the toasted bread was again a little on the crusty side, the trout was perfectly smoked and the tequila jelly added a surprising sweetness. It was all gone in several mouthfuls, which was bitter-sweet as I wanted more, but this meant I could finally eat my scallop.
When I came to scoop the scallop onto my plate, I hesitated and looked around to see how the others managed to get it on their plate. I noticed that S and R managed to get it onto their plates with no issues, while F was waiting for me. Uncertain, I slid my knife underneath, stabled it as best as I could with my fork on top and… it toppled over onto my plate. Everyone burst out laughing while I looked on with slight dismay. “Let’s see if you can do it then!” I challenged F, not being competitive at the slightest. He managed to successfully transfer it over to his plate, keeping it upright, and with such smug easiness too!
The scallop had a pretty decent sear and I loved how the pear brought out the sweetness, while the mushy peas added a very subtly heartiness to the morsel. I tried to draw it out for as long as I could, cutting the scallop into quarters then halving them again as I ate, but sadly it still went too quickly!
It’s really starting to hammer in why S love Emmilou so much now. The dishes have such a visual impact that you can’t help but admire it for a second before devouring its deliciousness.
While I couldn’t really taste the crab (which I’m putting down to the croquetta being surprisingly spicy), I loved the how soft the potatoes were without being mushy juxtaposed with the crunchiness of the crumbed shell. Meanwhile, the dab of whole grain mustard seeds added a bit of a different sort of spicy kick to the croquetta and the aioli rounded out the flavours quite harmoniously.
Damn but I do love me some jamon! Both the jamon and salami had strong hearty flavours and soft texture, which is quite in contrast with the crusty, almost-bland-in-comparison bread. I remember thinking that this dish wouldn’t go amiss at a picnic! I can imagine casually wolfing these down on a sunny, serene day lazing about with friends in the park.
It was rather surprising, but we were starting to feel a little full at this stage. As our waiter was clearing our table from empty plates, he asked us if we wanted to wait for a bit for the pork belly or keep rolling along. We all unhesitatingly responded with “bring it on”.
It took a while for the pork belly to come out and we wondered how long it would have taken if we asked for it to come out later, but all was forgiven when we tasted the dish.
Holy moly it was incredibly succulent and soft. The pork belly had the perfect amount of crispiness to it and fattiness too. The mushy peas was refreshing to the heaviness of the pork and denseness of the superbly crunchy kipfler potatoes (I need to know how to make these!! They were way too scrumptious).
Half way through my portion of the pork, I became a little overwhelmed with food. Perhaps it was the heaviness of the dish, but I struggled to finish the last couple of mouthfuls. R gave up the ghost and asked us if we wanted to finish her portion. F hesitated a bit, but after haggling that he’d have three-quarters of it and she have the rest, he was happily munching on the last bits of pork belly.
There was a very brief moment of insanity where we contemplated not having desserts because we were so full, but thankfully that passed and as a compromise, thought we’d at least moderate it to two desserts and not four.
Remembering the delicious churros with chocolate sauce I had a long time ago, I jumped at ordering it with F heartily endorsing my choice. It was just as good as I had remembered, perhaps even better, with its super crunchiness and thick, sinfully decadent dark chocolate sauce. You know when something’s good when you find yourself licking the remnants off your fingers.
The girls chose this for two things: chocolate and beetroot; it seemed so strange and had to be tried out.
For the most part, it did seem much like a very dense and moist chocolate cake, but on the odd occasion there were pieces of sweet beetroot – it was kind of a lucky dip! The beetroot ice cream was pretty interesting, where the beetroot flavour was quite subtle. I thought the gooey chocolate sauce topping really gave the cake that extra oomph from decent to quite scrumptious.
Emmilou is such a laid-back place with a very eclectic choice of music (much to my delight). I loved the casual, yet bold decor (all that red and gold!) and the food looked amazing without being fussy – best thing was: it tasted just as good as it looked.
It was so easy to see why S loves this place so much; this was her fourth time at Emmilou this year! And I wouldn’t be surprised if I come back here for another catch up with friends.
413 Bourke St
Surry Hills, NSW, 2010
Ph: 02 9360 6991