Being a mother of two toddlers, my friend opted to celebrate her 30th by having a quiet lunch somewhere close to home with family and close friends.
When she mentioned that she was holding it at Tastevin, I perked up having been there for a special 13-course provincial French Christmas lunch a year ago. She had never been there before and was relieved to hear that I had nothing but good things to say about the restaurant/bar.
I remember gushing over the look of Tastevin’s menu – a year later and I still find myself falling in love again with it (lame I know… but it’s the little things right?).
My friends ordered some bread for the table, but I didn’t dare to eat any, as I was sure my dish choices would really fill me up; I was told that it was pretty nice though.
E ordered the Terrine de Campagne with Cornichons and Grilled Baguette ($15), which a deliciously meaty and hardly had any of that strong aftertaste you’d sometimes get from terrines and pates. I’m still baffled why there is never enough bread to go with such a dish – is it a conspiracy?!
M had the Smoked Salmon with Beetroot, Horseradish and Chive Chantilly ($15). I was throwing envious looks her way at the gorgeous colours on her plate – it didn’t help when she said the salmon was really fresh and tasted divine.
I think she took pity on me and let me have a bit of a taste. It was as good as it looked and was delicately well-balanced.
This is partially the reason why I had “saved” some stomach space – I know gnocchi is fairly filling and I wasn’t sure how big the entree size was.
I was surprised to see that it was actually a gnocchi bake (something I’ve never seen before), but I definitely wouldn’t say no to it. I adored the mild cheesiness of the dish and super soft pillows of gnocchi that simply dissolved in the mouth.
The dish was deceptively small looking; I was already a little full from it!
We ordered some seasonal greens and a bowl filled to the brim with super crispy shoe-string fries for sides to our main course.
The broccoli with bread crumbs was amazing in its simplicity.
The confit duck leg was accompanied with parsnip puree, red cabbage choucroute and ju gras. I have to be honest: I can’t remember what my friend said about this dish, but I’m sure it was really delicious as when I looked again, his plate was clean empty.
I think was I too enamoured with his fiancée’s pie: it was another domed pie!! That and I was waiting for her to cut into it to see what was inside.
The flaky-encrusted pie had a porcini pomme mousseline on top of all that scrumptiously super tender beef; absolutely brilliant.
My main dish was the Kingfish fillet a la provencale with a ratatouille aumoniere. I must confess, I mostly ordered this because of the ratatouille as it reminded me of that sweet Pixar movie.
The dish was more than I expected. I loved the warm, vibrant colours, the freshness of the ingredients and the well-seasoned, well-cooked kingfish. I was surprised just how home-y it felt – that it was cooked with a lot of love and I revelled in it like a cat in a field of catnip.
Despite my fullness, I had planned to order a chocolate dessert when I was advised that perhaps I should save some room for the birthday cake. Oops, I kind of forgot about it when I saw the dessert list.
Tastevin is a pretty cosy restaurant that’s totally family-friendly with a great relaxed atmosphere. The food was fantastic – so fresh and wonderfully packed with flavour – and I think the food is actually better than what we had last year.
I feel like I had underestimated the restaurant last time I was here and am definitely dragging anyone willing (or not) along for another delicious feast (complete with their desserts!).
Tastevin Bistro & Wine Bar
Level 1 292 – 294 Victoria Street
Darlinghurst, NSW, 2010
Ph: (02) 9356 3429