The Mad Cow is dead, long live the Mad Cow! Actually, the Mad Cow has been re-incarnated as Palings Kitchen and Bar. By the way, that’s pronounced Paaaahlings as in Daaaaahling and not Pailings as in bucket.
Its a great space – kitschy, fun, with a few bars, a restaurant, some Thai food, great cocktails, and sweets from Lorraine’s Patisserie downstairs. I won’t keep you in suspense as to what I think – my first impressions are this is a ‘go for the mood, not the food’ place. I’m not saying the food was bad, but no real culinary highs to be found. Have a drink, have a chat, order a few snacks, relax, and you’ll want to do just that if its a sunny day. You can grab a sandwich for $11, or up to $15 for the crab roll (and these days a lot of CBD takeaway joints charge $10-$11 for a sandwich, and you don’t get to sit in a cool looking place).
You can book the restaurant bit, otherwise just wander in grab a spot elsewhere. Hemmesy himself was there today checking out the scene. He’s pulled it off again in creating a attractive place to pass some time, and some reasonably priced, though not outstanding, food.
What we ordered:
Roasted cauliflower, pomegranate, fennel, and lime salad. The blogometer was high on this dish, but I didn’t think it was that great. Needed more pomegranate and it just tasted like something was missing.
Croquette with jamon and manchego, quince. These on the other hand, I rated. Crunchy exterior, creamy inside.
Southern fried chicken wings, ranch dressing….also good, juicy, spicy.
Country terrine, liver pâté and mostarda. This was one of the more disappointing pates I’ve had, grainy and slightly bitter.
Cheese toastie: Pyengana cheddar, leek, chicory and walnut on sourdough. This toastie has also gotten a few great wraps but I found it heavy and greasy.
House pasta bake, cheesey breadcrumbs, that particular day it was with lamb and peas. Generous serve, nice cheese layer on top, nice tender lamb, but bland in between.
We were pretty full by that stage, so instead of having our desserts there we picked them up downstairs at Lorraine’s to take with us. Lorraine’s is run by pastry maestro Lorraine Godsmark. Great little space with a fully open kitchen so you can see exactly what’s going on, and everything nicely on display. We tried the New York Cheesecake– right up there, great base, lush filling with a nice hint of lemon. And the strawberry mascapone which didn’t do it for me – there was coconut in it and it took away from the mascapone (and I’m not a fan of coconut). But there are lots of yummy things to try including THAT date tart, when you are lucky enough to get a piece (see my Sydney’s best cake post). The brown butter tarts are also amazing, as are the salted caramel and macadamia tarts.
Palings Kitchen and Bar, Ivy – Level One 350 George St, Sydney Ph (02) 9240 3000
Lorraine’s Patisserie, Shop 5 Palings Lane 320 George St, Sydney Ph (02) 9254 8009