Lead by Head Chef and Owner Nelly Robinson, the kitchen team are the stars of the show at Nel with a wonderful open kitchen that can be seen from every seat in the small underground restaurant.
From the moment you arrive the service is impeccable and when seated the only decision you need to make is whether you would like matching wines with the 8-course degustation. The menu changes every 6 weeks to showcase the best seasonal produce in Australia.
As the first dish arrives at our table we know we are in for a fun and creative menu. The goats cheese pockets are served next to glass test tubes filled with tomato and basil juice!
Nel’s creativity continues to shine in the game, blackcurrant purple taco’s served on a black stone plate between rocks. The blackcurrant flavour in the mini taco’s is delicious.
The next entre is labeled “truffle hunt” on the menu, and that’s exactly what you get. The truffle treasures are actually hidden amongst truffled brioche soil, pistachio and tiny lilly pad leaves.
With the truffle hunt we are also served some rosemary onion scones with butter and raisin.
The first of the main meals is fresh tuna coated with sesame seeds and topped with treacle and yuzo. The tuna is paired with a crisp glass of 2014 Moreau Naudet Petit Chablis Burgendy from France.
The cauliflower cheese soufflé is served with a beautiful bright beetroot disc, beetroot foam, cauliflower puree, curry cauliflower and fennel. The cheese and cauliflower soufflé is double cooked– light, fluffy and full of flavour.
The next dish is my favourite. Served in a large dish shaped much like a dog bowl, the chicken broth with chive, garlic and asparagus smells like a hearty home cooked chicken soup. Hidden in the broth are crispy bits of chicken and pieces of soft fluffy Gnocchi.
You can’t help but finish every last drop of the broth. The hint of cherry in the 2014 Folium Pinot Noir from Malbourough NZ is a wonderful way to finish this dish.
The beef also looks remarkable as it is placed in front of us, served with King Brown Mushroom, onion and cavolo nero. The beef is Blackmore Wagyu from Victoria with a marbling score of 9+ and its been cooked to perfection with the meat melting in the mouth.
The first of the desserts is a delicate cylinder of almond meringue with lemon sorbet and white chocolate soil. Served with Grapefruit Collins, it’s light and refreshing and cleanses the palate after the buttery Wagyu.
The orange roulade is plated with chocolate sorbet, whipped orange gel and quake sorbet. The honey taste in the glass of Hunter Valley Verdehlo was perfect to match the rich flavours of this classic orange and chocolate combination.
After our desserts we are pleasantly surprised to see a wooden box in front of us full of coal and marshmallows on rosemary sticks. As the waitress lights the flames, we toast our marshmallows like excited little kids around a campfire and lovely aromas fill the small restaurant.
The night finishes with a Christmas in July treat – two coconut snow balls filled with a lovely burst of passion fruit. This dish is beautifully presented with a pine cone and needles sitting on a bed of icing sugar.
Nel Restaurant is something truly special. The menu is creative and fun and the food is presented with sophistication and flare. Nelly and his team are not afraid to do things differently and using quality produce they deliver a delightful culinary experience.
At only $98 per person for degustation + $80 for matching wine it’s no wonder Nel Restaurant is one of Sydney’s most popular places to dine right now.