I’m a la carte diner the majority of the time. I find banquets and set menus, best left for your local Chinese restaurant or Thai get together. Where thirty or fourty dollars a head gets you an array of dishes, often predictable. You eat, and eat, then eat some more. Feel full, then leave satisfied but not overly impressed.
Harsh? A little.
Lately, that mindset has changed. It’s all because the Sydney dining scene is in full-swing-change. And that change is all for the better. I know I keep saying this, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be in Australia but Sydney. Sydney-siders are so lucky to have an eating landscape which is plentiful with options for every budget (and so much pop up activity too!).
These guys, have pushed the set menu envelope. The food is magnificent, the standard high. It’s great value. And I reinforce this. Sydney is one pricey city. In the last few years, eating out has evened itself out – you can now go and grab a cheap meal that’s of high standard. Take the middle of the road route, and be satisfied without delving deep into your pockets. Or you can choose fine dining. The choices are incredible, the options endless.
PINBONE $65 SMALL BANQUET
This is a real gem of a dinner joint.
The menu is hard to decifer (which really annoys me!). With only three words like so; chicken, kale, garlic - it’s hard to imagine exactly what you’re going to eat, let alone order. We unanimously bypass this difficult step and simply order the small banquet. It says it’s ‘small’, but our waiter assures us that we’ll be ‘more than full’. By and behold, he was right – it was like a never ending feast. I has heard through the grapevine to, ‘go soon, before they change the banquet – it’s real value for money.’
Secretly, I’d booked Pinbone because all my other options were exhausted. I couldn’t get in anywhere on the top of my hit list. Regardless of that, the banquet is sublime.
We start with small snacks. There’s about five. The crispy potato skins and lamb ribs were winners. The chocolate crackle with chicken liver pate, left me confused. Just give me the super smooth chicken liver pate with some incredible crisps – and I’d be in heaven.
Post snacks are sharing dishes and these really are the stars of the banquet show. Notably; the pumpkin, pepita and silverbeet, which is so soft and tender, we devour the plate. The tofu, bacon and cucumber is like agedashi tofu pimped up with bacon – insane. The leatherjacket and asparagus makes me want to order fish more often – the fish flesh is like butter. The pork and pineapple is a pure delight, just make sure you follow the waiters instructions for maximum flavour!
The only other advice I’ll give you is make sure you’re stomach is empty. I didn’t talk about the desserts (blueberry, pinenut and white pepper was epic!) which truly end this banquet on a high.
I take my chef’s hat off to Pinbone, it’s a must try.
THE DEETS YOU WANT TO KNOW
3 Jersey Rd
Woollahra NSW 2025
The small banquet is $65 per person
The large banquet is $85 per person