The Gantry Restaurant & Bar Sydney
Kevin and I don't venture into The Rocks and Walsh Bay area as often as we used to. Way back when, I used to spend Thursday nights and Saturday mornings taking classes at the Sydney Dance Company – I did pretty well with Street Latin, good with hip hop, and terrible at contemporary... (ok so I was ambitious...) But regardless of not being able to spend as much time there as in past years, Walsh Bay will always be a special spot for the both of us. Its where we had our intimate wedding celebration. Early June, 6 years ago, 300 of our closest family and friends gathered in Walsh Bay for the best party of our lives. We haven't had many reasons to venture into the area over the past few years... until recently.
A few months back, Kevin and I were invited to enjoy a lunch at the newly opened dining concept at the base of the iconic Pier One hotel. The Gantry was exactly what we needed on that Saturday afternoon. A little bit casual, a little bit sophisticated and every bit amazing. The industrial feel of the space is balanced beautifully with warm wooden tones and brassy finishes. The menu wasn't overpacked with dishes that were hard to understand - instead, simple ingredients were king and ordering came naturally. We began our meal with a tartare that Kevin devoured, and a seasonal salad of heirloom tomatoes - by far the most delicious tomato starter I have ever experienced. For our mains, Kevin went for a steak option, and to mix it up, I choose the barramundi. Both flavoured to perfection, and served just the way we like it: clean, not overdressed in irrelevant sauces, spices and oil infusions. What stood out to me was the incredible array of fresh local vegetables. As a side, we shared the seasonal farm vegetables and beetroot home fries, Generously portioned and vibrantly coloured.
For dessert, we shared the mango and coconut parfait, and the seasonal figs with what tasted like a heavenly white chocolate fold of mousse. The figs lay in a puddle of boozy champagne syrup that worked so well with the white chocolate. If I had felt proud of my clean lunch option, dessert did well to undo it - both options were rich, indulgent and definitely on the naughty side of nice.
Executive Chef Chris Irving comments on the menu;
“We are taking an effortless approach – stripping back and allowing the ingredients to speak for themselves. We want to ensure every guest that walks through our doors leaves with an appreciation of where the food comes from and the people who produce it. To me this defines an undisputed quality that easily makes it best in class. There is a story in all our ingredients, from freshly picked, hand tied bundles of herbs from Cooks Co-op or a whole stuffed Tasmanian Petuna Ocean Trout; evoking memories of my childhood days fishing with my Dad in Canada.”
With a nostalgic chef celebrating real, local, honest to goodness ingredients, I recommend a visit to The Gantry the next time you feel like something that's casually fancy and very well put together. Next time we visit, we'll definitely try the bar menu. Those burgers were calling my name.
The Gantry Restaurant
11 Hickson Rd
Walsh Bay NSW 2000
(02) 8298 9999
Update June 2016: Chef Chris Irving is no longer at The Gantry. Since the publishing of the author’s experience, Chef Joel Bickford is now the culinary mastermind at The Gantry Restaurant.