One of the greatest joys of being self-employed is being able to work my own hours - and take long lunches whenever it seems fit. Unfortunately, it's not something I do very often as most of my friends have normal office jobs. However, I did have an amazing long lunch with two new friends (who also run their own businesses) recently and it's a lunch I haven't been able to stop talking about!
The food was spectacular, we had great conversations and the clear skies gave me perfect lighting to capture the moment :)
With all the loud laughter coming from our table, the staff at District Dining probably had no idea we'd only just met! I'll introduce you to my dining companions in another blog post as there are a lot of dishes I need to show you in this post!
Firstly, I absolutely love the convenience of their location! Parking is easy (for the lady who's business is outside the Sydney CBD), it is in Surry Hills (for the lady who's business is in the rag trade) and it is just outside the Central Station Devonshire Street tunnel (for I, as my office is just at the other end of it!).
The furnishing at District Dining is smart and stylish. The modern
bistro menu is designed for sharing and absolutely every dish reads
It is categorized into five sections - something to
snack on, something small to share, something large to share, something
on the side and something special!
When ordering, allow about
two dishes per person. We threw in an extra side dish too because I
couldn't imagine the meal without it.
The crispy quail eggs with tarragon mayo ($14) feature a miniature tray of six perfectly breaded quail eggs which burst in your mouth.The crispy pig ears with Szechuan salt ($10) is out-of-this-world delicious! They're moreishly crunchy and the Szechuan pepper salt mix is utmost fragrant. If this is what nose to tail eating is all about, I'm awfully addicted!
It seems that aside from having the same entrepreneurial drive, all three of us also have a weakness for liver pate. I didn't know it at the time, but pâté is the low quality version of parfait! A pâté becomes a parfait once the mixture has been pushed through a sieve to remove any sinewy bits, resulting in a silkier, smoother and luscious liver parfait!
The chicken liver parfait ($20) here is served in a gorgeous glass jar with a beautiful layer of port jelly that we excitedly break into. The grapes offer a lovely cut-through and our toast is topped up free of charge!
The ceviche of market fish, avocado, heirloom tomatoes and coconut ($20) is very similar to a Fijian kokoda where the flavours are fresh and light and really allow the quality of the ingredients to speak for itself. I love this dish!
The confit chicken maryland with cauliflower macaroni and cheese ($28) is a very well refined rendition of the American mac & cheese with fried chicken. The confit chicken meat is tender and flavourful and just falls off the bone - yet the skin is indulgently crisp! I do love the wholesome addition of cauliflower to the macaroni and cheese too; cauliflower is such an underrated vegetable!
I don't think I've ever had zucchini flowers not-stuffed so these flat crispy courgette flowers ($18) are a surprise! The accompaniments of ricotta, dukkah, pedro ximenezare and sprigs of watercress are well balanced and adds lift to the overall dish.
And lastly, the broccolli and tofu ($8) with a sassy chilli and ginger jam! Yum!
The presentation of every dish was individually stunning and together at the table, it was such a feast! District Dining lunch hours are 12 - 3pm but we were there until past 4, and weren't rushed at all! The service definitely matched the quality of the meal - just lovely! If you're looking for an accessible restaurant that is a bit special, I highly recommend District Dining.
In fact, $118 and over 3+ hours later, this meal became the inaugural lunch of a group called FETE (which stands for Female Entrepreneurs That Eat). More on that later ;)
17 Randle Street, Surry Hills, NSW
Phone: (02) 9211 7798