The G.B.S.C. society.
Have you ever asked random strangers that you've never met in real life but only corresponded a few times on Twitter out for dinner? Well, I have.
Wasn't sure what they thought of me when I suddenly suggested to ask them out for dinner date. A) a creep, B) a desperate, C) or simply a very friendly guy! But then, they probably just as mad as me, they all liked the idea and agreed to come out to play - five of us, totally random strangers, on a dinner date one night at Food Society in Darlinghurst.
Food Society is located in the cul-de-sac on Riley St, right next to the rowdy Mexican restaurant Cafe Pacifico. Despite it is a Thursday night, we walk into the restaurant that is unexpectedly quiet - perhaps of its inconvenient location, or perhaps still not many people have heard about this few-months-old restaurant. So in the restaurant, there are us, a couple, and the girls from Sex and The City.
While the SATC girls are having great time playing catchup, and us boys a few tables from them are having just as much fun playing a silly game called 'dubbing over someone else's conversation':-
Carrie, "Guess what happened to me and Mr Big last night?"
Miranda, "Noooo.... you didn'ttttttt.....!"
Charlotte, "Get out! I can't believe you did that! I find it absolutely condescending that..."
Carrie, "Oh shoosh! Here is another text message from him..."
Oh how childish we are....
The waiter comes holding an iPad and ready to punch in our orders which will then directly transmit into the kitchen. Gimmick or the future? It doesn't really make the food arrive any faster.
The night still young as we toast with the signature Apple Pie cocktail, the one and only cocktail on the menu is a rather festive concoction of cinnamon and spiced apple, as gay as Christmas.
The menu is a wild selection of Eastern European fare from Poland to Croatia, they are designed to share. We order a few appetisers to kick the night off. The baby sardines is a love at first sight, fried to crispy curl, looks like they are leaping out of a bed of shaved fennel and walnuts salad. Pierogi, the Polish dumplings are made with unleavened dough, which is chewier in texture, filled with shredded organic pork. A charcuterie board of jamon, prosciutto and salami with bread sticks and house pickled vegetables are gradually picked clean as the conversation flows around the table.
The more 'substantial' menu does change according to season. I have my eyes on the beef short ribs. A few racks of beef ribs are smothered in BBQ sauce, grilled and caramelised with a subtle smokiness, served over roasted potatoes and vegetables on a wooden board. The ribs has great flavour but it does need some yanking with the fangs to tear the meat off the bone.
Surprisingly the chicken breast is our favourite dish of the night. The chicken is cooked to perfection, juicy and succulent white meat on a bed of grilled mushrooms in a rich thick jus. Three rustic potato dumplings are comforting like soft pillows. Despite the menu is designed to share, we do find this particular dish comes in individual portion and a little bit difficult to share.
A refreshing heirloom tomatoes and feta salad is a nice breakaway from all the meaty dishes. Sweet juicy tomato slices with salty feta crumbs, a few sprigs of dill and a splash of extra virgin olive oil, sometimes the simplest is the best.
The brudet of shellfish and clams is a Croatian seafood stew. One lonesome scampi is halved, teasing us as only two of us will get to taste the juicy meat, while inside the claypot is piled with mussels and clams on top of a bed soft polenta which happily soaked up all the sweet shellfish essence.
I am so glad there are no objections to the idea of dessert sharing among five strangers. And I am also glad that they are quick learners and didn't take long to grasp the idea of no food touching until I finish photographing them. :P
First time I see a souffle bulging out of its copper pot like a muffin top. The walnut souffle is light and airy, however it is not at all 'wal-nutty' and because of using walnuts, it does give the souffle a grainy texture, served with walnut ice cream which is more promising, nutty and rich. A pot of chocolate sauce on the side does make the souffle a little bit more sexier.
Our dinner heads further east to Russia, the pashka is a signature dish here at Society. The square tile of baked bread is soft and light made from ricotta cheese, but it is not overly sweet and have to rely on the nutty almond crumbles and the sweetness of the strawberry compote.
The most decadent dessert of the night, rich chocolate ganache with airy chocolate mousse are concealed inside a bitter chocolate tuile cone. If that's not rich enough, a scoop of white chocolate ice cream coated in brownie on the side with a drizzle of chocolate sauce on the plate are enough to send you off to chocolate coma.
We pretty much have most the desserts on the menu covered. The last dessert we share is all revolved around the peach. Half a poached peach is floating in a muddle of lime sabayon, and underneath is a layer of peach jelly and peach sorbet. I do find it strange eating jelly dessert in a restaurant, especially mixed with the lime sabayon, the flavour does resembled the lime jelly out of a packet. Nevertheless, it is a clean refreshing dessert to conclude our meal this evening.
A great night with food, laughter and strangers who I can now comfortably called friends. This is our first dinner date, and definitely not the last. We are the Gay Boys Supper Club hitting the next restaurant near you!
Food Society 91 Riley Street, Darlinghurst, NSW
Tel: +61 (02) 8090 3462