Nomad: (Greek, νομάς, nomas, plural νομάδες, nomades; meaning one roaming about for pasture, pastoral tribe), is a member of a community of people who move from one place to another, either with their livestock (pastoral nomads) or subsisting on hunting and gathering.
Move from one place to another? I hope not, they’ve spent an awful lot on a terrific fit out, converting what was once a furniture shop into a welcoming, spacious restaurant – the cured meats hanging which you see as soon as you walk in, the bar seating around the kitchen, and various shaped and well spaced tables. The name instead refers to the “hunting and gathering” food to table philosophy, with the kitchen run by a seasoned professional (Nathan Sasi) who has worked for big names Neil Perry and Heston Blumenthal.
The menu reflects Nathan’s travels and experience and you can see the global influence. Service was great, an extremely bubbly and friendly waitress (in fact I thought she was going to slip her phone number into the pocket of one of my dining companions) and the other staff that helped serve our group of 7 were also warm and professional.
We start with the Housemade Nomad Charcuterie – this was really quite outstanding, in particular the beef cheek (the dark red) and the jamon. For something a bit out there, there is also wallaby salami
I’m a sucker for anything with foie gras, so the Foie Gras & Chicken Liver Parfait with radish and Iranian plum is a no brainer. And it’s silky smooth and served with quality thick slices of toasted sourdough. One of the best liver parfaits I’ve had in a while.
Although the pastry was a little dry, the filling of the Smoked Pork Empanada was succulent and delicious. I thought it was great as it was, but my dining crew preferred it with a splash of the house harissa hot sauce they bought to the table.
Summer tomatoes with shanklish and sumac. Shanklish, by the way, is a Syrian cheese (why is it that menus don’t come with a glossary?). A beautiful summer salad, can’t go too far wrong here. There was a bit of dissension in the ranks about ordering of carrots (“how hard can it be to barbecue some carrots?”) but I don’t make labna at home and that was a beautiful accompaniment to some very tasty root vegetables.
Nomad Jersey Milk Haloumi with BBQ zucchini, pinenuts, raisins – simple and delicious.
Squid, squid ink, sobrasada, coriander – this was a little disappointing, the squid wasn’t fall apart tender. I had envisaged something as good as the Hartsyard octopus dish when I saw it on the menu.
BBQ Mulloway Tajine with green beans and read onion pilaf – I was disappointed that this wasn’t actually served in a tajine, as when I asked the waitress about it before ordering she mentioned it was cooked in one. It was in the ‘nice’ category, nice being a word you use to describe food when there’s nothing unique about it, but nothing bad about it either.
Wood Roasted Pork with romesco aioli and lemon. Crunchy skin, fatty pork, great romesco.
Pedro Ximenez Magnum – flavour 10/10, eating functionality 1/10. They really needed to serve these with little individual bowls. While they could easily give Streets a run for their money, they fell apart on the first bite and the ice cream melted almost instantly, with most of us holding the delicious mess in our hands.
Buneuelos with rosewater and cardamom custard. Anything doughnut-y goes in the lamington category with me (bleuh!) – so I didn’t try these, but the custard was great. The feedback on the buneuelos – “not worth the calories”.
There is also a $65 banquet menu for groups.
Nomad, 16 Foster St, Surry Hills, Ph (02) 9280 3395