Tomislav Restaurant, Darlinghurst
It’s not every day you get to use an atomiser at the dining table. But then again, Tomislav isn’t your everyday type of restaurant. Nor does it fit into the usual molecular gastronomy restaurant profile.
You see, when I first heard about molecular gastronomy (play back about 8 years to my poor uni student days), I wasn’t too excited. I thought it was just a bunch of scientists in some swanky fine dining restaurant, serving up miniature courses of edible experiments.
Although that kind of does sound tempting nowadays, Tomislav Restaurant isn’t like that at all.
What I love about Tomislav Restaurant is how they’ve made molecular gastronomy approachable.
Chef and owner, Tomislav Martinovic, has a spectacular CV, having worked with the likes of Heston Blumenthal of The Fat Duck. His thinking behind the application of every ingredient is pure genius. The serving sizes and menu appear to be unpretentious real food, and it really helps when the lovely Ann Marie talks us through some of Tomislav’s cooking process. It is quirky and eclectic and rather spectacular.
To start, are salt and vinegar rice crackers ($8). The atomiser I mentioned earlier is served beside thin wafers of rice crackers and contains vinegar. We playfully spray each piece before enjoying the tingle of sea salt and vinegar. I’ve always held a weakness for salt & vinegar crisps but never have I had this much fun eating them.
Then we have slices of complimentary bread and butter. But it’s no ordinary butter. The butter is churned in-house and sprinkled with a soil-like onion powder. I recall Ann Marie mentioning something about the onion being smoked, then dehydrated. The smokey savoury flavour is incredible.
For first course, Zen and I share the freshly shucked Sydney rock oysters with lemon ice and soy dressing ($24), and the basmati rice risotto with grilled Yamba prawns, chives and lemon zest ($22).
The lemon ice on the plump juicy oysters add a whole new element of icy freshness.
And OMG, the risotto is even better. The prawns are so succulent and the use of basmati rice instead of traditional Arborio rice results in a lighter texture. Plus I absolutely adore the use of nori squares and lemon zest which enhances the gorgeous flavours on the plate while keeping it light and delicate. This definitely has the yum factor x100!
It was without a doubt that we have the crinkle cut chips ($8), as I’ve been wanting to try these since I read Terry Durack’s review of Tomislav back in early 2010. They’re triple-cooked and exhibit the epitome of perfect potato chips – crisp golden outside and fluffy and moreish inside. It is the best side dish I could ever ask for!
When the second course arrives, we ooh and ahh at the meticulous presentation.
Zen has the roast Murray cod fillet with tomato, salt caramel and grilled baby leeks ($38).
Meanwhile I have the pasture fed O’Connor scotch fillet ($37).
It is cooked medium-rare and pre-sliced, with a smear of grilled mango, an open log of bone marrow and the most amazing smoked potato cream. I’m not a fan of the richness of the bone marrow but am impressed by the melt-in-your-mouth texture of the scotch fillet. The flavours and textures of each ingredient are all exciting in their
own right and complement each other so beautifully. Though with that said, I can’t help but give extra love to the smokey potato cream!
Dessert is served as we are speaking with Tomislav, the man himself, so please excuse the following photo of my semi-melted icecream!
There’s the vanilla cheesecake ($14) which is studded with cubes of cheese jelly and paired with a fruity berry sorbet; and the black fig carpaccio ($14) with peanut crumbs and lime juice icecream. The fragrant sweetness of the fig works wonderfully with the nutty crumbs.
Both plates deserved to be licked clean, which I did as elegantly as possible.
Head to Tomislav for a fun, reasonably priced and approachable molecular gastronomy experience.
2/13 Kirketon Road, Darlinghurst NSW
Phone: (02) 9356 4535
JENIUS dined as guests of Tomislav and The Mint Partners.