“It’s very busy” the Bar Bloke reported on his reconnaissance. Wilcox bar and restaurant officially opens after Easter next week, yet was jam-packed during the first few days’ soft opening. By the time we arrived, early for our booking, and a little after 6.30pm at the new Miller Street Cammeray bar and restaurant, we needed to make our way to our table. There was no more room at the bar.
The recommendation of signature Filthy (gin) Martini ($16) was tickled with pickled brine and garnished with gherkin. Had we chosen a vodka martini it would have been offset with caper brine and a caperberry. This was not the only surprise of the night.
Some delightful dishes followed, wine accompanying our dinner.
A considered menu of classical craftmanship had us sending compliments to the Wilcox kitchen.
Lobster ravioli, confit cherry tomato, bisque, chervil was a hit – though all was enjoyed. My head dipped into the plate to breathe in the aroma, before scooping up the luscious sauce of bisque. How I long to see more dishes like this on other menus (instead of some of the same-same we are spotting around Sydney right now). Well done Chef!
Before pasta we started with something to nibble on: Warm olives, grissini ($4). (We spied Prosciutto, parmiagano ($8) at the adjoining table – simple, clean, appetising.) Then our entrees. Crispy quail, Jerusalem artichoke, pea and mint tortellini, port jus – a lovely plate to look at and eat, with wonderful contrasts of texture and flavour, showcasing the season, autumn. Pork Cheek and Veal Terrine, pancetta, pistachios, dates, pear, brioche was also shared between us.
Iceberg lettuce is under rated. It’s sometimes a topic of dinner conversation for us, lamenting its disappearance, its under-use. Lamenting it’s out of fashion. Applause for the Wilcox – Iceberg lettuce, radicchio, walnuts, pear, vinaigrette – side offered here.
I like the pricing structure here, with consistent pricing for each course. All mains are $33, sides $6 pasta is $19 for entrée size (the same as other entrées) and $33 for main (again consistent with other mains), desserts all $13.
My main Snapper fillet, green peas, pumpkin puree, hazelnut crumbs, Champagne buerre blanc with moist tender flesh to dig our teeth into, offset with a tad of crunch in the peas, was a beautiful beautiful dish and the winner of the night. Even when we had finished Cape Grim Beef Fillet, cauliflower, polenta chips, golden shallots, baby cress, jus and then desserts – Warm Orange and Semolina Cake and Chocolate fondant, raspberry caramel, honey and lavender tuille, macadamia praline – we were still ogling the rest of the room. 3 rib lamb roast, agro coilce caponata, potato gratin, smoked eggplant, cabernet was causing complimentary comments and satisfied sighs beside us. And more. All we saw were happy faces.
How was the wine list? I would have been happy to continue with cocktails during dinner, but the Bar Bloke does the ordering, and he chose wine by the glass, from the thoughtful wine list chosen by Marty Stalley, Bonds Corner, and approved by Court of Masters Sommelier John Cox.
“We wanted to focus on smaller producing wineries and wine makers.” Marty advised
“We’re worried more about actual quality and taste than the pedigree or name of the wine. Whilst we list quite obscure red, it’s also important to have a good match with the great fine dining menu.”
Then it was back to my beverage choices and we ordered what we thought was a last cocktail. Not quite. Finally there was room at the bar, so we wandered out front, perched on a stool, and finished with a cocktail nightcap of Whisky Sour.
The last word: as we wandered out into the night, to grab a taxi, we checked out the area, away from our usual haunts, and declared that Wilcox has to be the pick of Miller Street.
463 Miller Street, Cammeray, NSW Australia
+61 2 9460 0807