Saturday, April 7, 2012

Spencer Guthrie, Newtown

My idea of a balanced diet is eating canned beans for a week in order to be able to afford a nice meal every so often on my uni student income. And you know what? It's really worth it. James was super keen to hit up the freshly opened Spencer Guthrie in Newtown and having read nothing but glowing articles on this new joint, I was more than happy to go along. Created by ex-L'etoile Troy Spencer and ex-Lucio's Oliver Guthrie, they serve Modern Australian with a focus on locally grown, organic, seasonal and sustainable produce. Just a heads up, they are not yet licensed so grab a BYO from the bottle-o before you head in (corkage is $8.50 per bottle).

Beetroots, Spencer Guthrie
Seasonal beetroots, goat's cheese, walnuts & fresh horseradish $19

We had perused the menu on our smart phones on the way to Newtown (technology these days!) and James had long decided on the seasonal beetroot entree. Layered on a bed of walnuts were slices of beetroot three ways, boiled (?) and roasted sandwiching smooth, creamy goats cheese, topped with a crisp beetroot chip. Who knew these flavours went so well together? This was my favourite of the night, pretty jealous I didn't get to order it. Damn you, James.

Ham Hock Terrine, Spencer Guthrie
Smoked ham hock terrine, celeriac remoulade & snow pea tendrils $20

I'm a sucker for anything pork and settled on the smoked ham hock terrine - thick, smoky chunks of ham packed together, studded with herbs, carrot and peppercorns. Hints of mustard permeated the meat, going well with the horseradish (?) in the celeriac remoulade. Snow pea tendrils and leaves added freshness to the dish.

Mackerel, Spencer Guthrie
Blue mackerel, cauliflower, hazelnuts & pearl onion tarte tatin $30

The blue mackerel is a strongly flavoured, oily fish not for those who are not piscine-inclined. The fillet is fried crisp with blistered skin, salty with that strong fishy aroma. The cauliflower purée is a lovely accompaniment, with miniature florets and crunchy toasted hazelnuts. Rounding this out is the pearl onion tarte tatin, with mellow onion and sweet caramel flavours.

Rolled Spatchcock, Spencer Guthrie
Rolled de-boned spatchcock, mushrooms, sweetcorn & barley $30

With their focus on seasonal produce, their menu changes every few days according to availability. I was a little disappointed when on the night we went, the pork belly with caramelised peaches I had been eyeing up wasn't on offer but all's well ends well and I was satiated instead with the rolled de-boned spatchcock. Tender white meat and juicy dark meat are encased in a thin layer of salty skin while roast chestnut mushroom and charred sweetcorn added earthy, smoky and sweet flavours. The barley provided textural variation - chewy with a cereal flavour, an unusual addition which went smashingly with the sweetcorn.

Orange Polenta Cake, Spencer Guthrie
Polenta cake, orange segments, pear & fromage blanc mousse $16

Two courses and half a bottle of wine later, I wasn't sure if I should indulge in something sweet to the end the night. I'm not usually a dessert person so we ended up sharing the polenta cake, which to my delight wasn't overly sweet at all. Polenta is something I'm new to and was at first unaccustomed the gritty texture of the cake however I found it enjoyable, especially with the pear and orange pieces; my favourite component being the light, creamy fromage blanc mousse.

Spencer Guthrie
399 King Street, Newtown 2042
Telephone: (02) 8068 1080

Spencer Guthrie on Urbanspoon