Bouche is the latest venue to join the blossoming line up on Bridge St, but one that is easy to miss with a discreet and slightly set back door. Chef Harry Stockdale-Powell presides in the kitchen, hailing from Rockpool and Marque. The influence of the latter is evident in particular, with some decidedly Marque-esque plating and little, but not too much, trickery. The vision is a “new take on fine dining” and you can see where they are going – no tablecloths, an attractive bar, and quality produce on the menu, sparsely worded as seems to have become the norm. But the staff, as I found on my couple of visits, are truly excellent and more than happy to fill in the blanks and aid your decision making, or not. The food itself was mixed – some excellent dishes, some good, and some a miss; I’m sure a kitchen team of this pedigree will iron out the kinks over time. It was the smaller dishes overall that didn’t hit the mark for me.
We start with oysters with a blood orange granita and wakame. Great oysters, but too much blood orange and they were a little drowned and lost.
The combination of kingfish, beetroot and pomelo is a good one but it was a little dry and needed some dressing.
It was the duck neck sausage with marsala prunes that disappointed most, we were looking forward to it but it just lacked flavour and tasted very fatty, nor did I enjoy the marsala prunes. It was also a cold dish which was unexpected.
However I loved the Jerusalem artichoke, an underrated vegetable, done sous vide and then grilled, served with a parsley root oil and sheep’s milk.
The eschallot tarte tatine with parmesan ice cream is a clever dish. Generously sized, it could be shared as an entrée between four trying a few plates or make a main course for a vegetarian. A little more seasoning wouldn’t have gone astray, and the ice cream is silky but the parmesan flavour too subtle.
The main course proteins though, rock it. The short rib with horseradish and sorrel is butter meltingly tender and just delicious.
So too is the Wessex saddlebag suckling pig.
And then oh! The baked mash! Don’t miss it whatever you do.
If you do feel like dessert but not something overly sweet go for goats cheese with beetroot and liquorice sponge. I’m not a fan of the sponge but I adore the texture and freshness of the beetroot sorbet.
The caramelised nectarines with a fine honeycomb disk and a frozen sorrel also wins me over.
The hazelnut and chocolate ball with malt is huge and easily shared (in fact, all the desserts are generous) and a bit too rich for me, but any chocolate lover would be very happy indeed.
Bouche on Bridge, 6 Bridge St Sydney, ph +61 2 8278 9400