Last Wednesday, along with a few of my close friends, I visited Arncliffe’s new restaurant Sarita’s. Connected to the Rocksia Hotel, Sarita’s is a Californian-inspired restaurant/bar that encourages it’s customers to sit and chat while grazing on it’s exquisite share plates. This restaurant leaves the pub classics to next door and offers beautiful, high-quality meals for a great price.
When I walked in I was instantly welcomed by light timber wall fittings, greenery and a warm fireplace. Sarita’s is the sort of place you can have a couple of drinks and a light bite at the bar or spend all evening eating at a table with friends and family. Although it has an air of class, the down-to-earth staff stop this place from becoming pompous. Looking at the colourful menu my friends and I were all very excited to start trying what Sarita’s had to offer
To get us started we munched on some warm mixed nuts ($4.50) and marinated olives ($5). We also decided to try some of Sarita’s signature cocktails; I was recommended the Long Lost Lover ($12). Served in a wine glass the cocktail was made up of fresh strawberry syrup, Pimms, Cointreau and Licor 43. Being on the sweeter side this drink would be perfect on a hot summer’s day. For the boys it was a Kraken Stormy ($15) made from Kraken spiced rum, lime, Bundaberg ginger beer and a few drops of bitters. I managed to steal myself a sip (or two) and this was probably my favourite out of all the drinks we tried. The Kraken Stormy was full of flavour, while not being too overpowering which made it the perfect accompaniment to our meals. Sarita’s has created a gorgeous, light cocktail with just the right mix of rum, ginger and bitters. It’s these type of drinks that will have the crowds returning each week so they can have another taste.
Next we ordered a plate of Oysters ($3 each) served with lemon and a trio of sauces. Being a person who isn’t a huge seafood fan I was expecting to hate these. I was, however, pleasantly surprised. Because Sarita’s oysters are really fresh and not too big they aren’t overwhelming, and accompanied with one of the three sauces on offer they really are a treat.
After eating something so fresh we were keen to get something hearty into our bellies. Appropriately we chose a Wood Fired Pizza with Italian sausage, saucisson, gypsy ham, chilli and buffalo mozzarella ($17.50). A kind of gourmet version of a meat lovers pizza, my stomach definitely stopped it’s growling after this dish. With a fresh crispy base and stringy cheese, this pizza had me forgetting all about home-delivered pizza. And no wonder it was so delicious, Sarita’s head chef of the night, Calvin Cho, told us it took he and his fellow chef, Joel Gottlieb, 17 months to perfect their recipe.
Keeping with the same comfort food feeling we also ordered a serving of Slow Cooked Short Rib ($19) served on mashed potato. I could tell the menu wasn’t lying when it said “slow cooked” as the meat just slid off the bone. Not only were the ribs deliciously tender and moist, but they had a beautiful salty flavour which was almost reminiscent of Japanese cuisine.
Following that delicious pizza we decided it was time for another drink. I ordered the Sangria Jug for One ($15) with white wine and filled with beautifully colourful and fresh fruit. The boys ordered a jar of Goose Juice ($17) each, made with Grey Goose vodka, grapefruit juice, cranberry juice, cloudy apple juice and lime muddled. This delicious alcoholic juice was refreshing and fruity, with a good balance of fruit and liquor.
After the pizza and short ribs we moved onto something more light. The Yellow Fin Tuna Carpaccio ($17) with herb salad and lemon oil wasn’t only a visual feast but also a great accompaniment to the Crab Meat, Herb and Avocado Salad ($18). Together they were light and tangy, the crab salad especially reminding me of the flavours of an Asian noodle salad. The avocado and crab were perfectly creamy without being heavy.
The Crispy Tempura Battered Zucchini Flowers ($12) stuffed with ricotta and caramelised walnuts was a heavenly mix between healthy vegetables, yummy cheese and deep-fried goodness. The sweetness of the figs and carmelised walnuts popped beautifully with the saltiness of the ricotta. This dish was an explosion of different textures and flavours, from the crunchy batter to the creamy cheese.
We were also recommended the Butterflied Wood Fired King Prawns ($17) with roast chilli and a saffron puree. These were cooked to perfection, and the chilli gave an exciting kick to the unique flavour of saffron.
We decided to finish the meal with a bottle of 4 Pines Brookvale Union Ginger Beer ($10). The local Sydney-brewed beverage tastes just like an alcoholic ginger beer, which made it the perfect fusion of childhood and adulthood. The ginger was perfectly complimented with a squeeze of lime to create an amazing all-year-round drink.
With our stomachs almost full we decided to grab a spot of dessert. The first was a Lemon Tart that had a lovely mix of a creamy citrus tang and a crunchy biscuit base. There was also a heartwarming Apple and Blueberry Crumble, served in a skillet with ice cream and spiced to perfection. The Tiramisu was soft and fluffy, with just a bite of coffee that didn’t overpower the rest of the dessert or keep me up all night. It was all topped off with a luscious Creme Brulee with a crispy caramelised top that was ever-so-satisfying to crack.
Our night at Sarita’s was truly enjoyable, with plenty of food, drinks and laughter thanks to the lovely staff. It’s clear to see that Sarita’s will grow in it’s success and popularity as a result of it’s amazing, fresh food, innovative cocktails and warm atmosphere. I’d gladly go back in a heartbeat.
Sarita’s, Rocksia Hotel
299 Princes Highway, Arncliffe, 2205
Phone: (02) 9567 8242
I Ate My Way Through dined as guests of Sarita’s