You just can’t help but fall in love as you step inside Willoughby’s High St Bistro.
Having only been open a year, this cozy eatery has built up a loyal clientele of well heeled locals. But what is it that draws them to this neighbourhood darling?
Is it the trendy decor, the attentive service or the relaxed bistro dining concept that’s so en vogue?
Or maybe it’s chef and owner, Jeff Turnbull who was most recently executive chef of the Aqua Dining Group. He’s also cooked alongside Dietmar Sawyere at Forty One prior to its closure in 2010. Jeff’s pedigree shows in the sophistication of the High St Bistro menu which sports a fine dining feel.
Earlier this week, daily deal site Ouffer invited me along for a preview of High St Bistro’s special dining deal which goes live today. The deal offers three courses and a glass of wine for just $39 at lunch and $59 for dinner, affording plenty of choices in between.
The starter options include a generous serving of ricotta and basil gnocchi, tossed together with crisp sage leaves, parmesan and sweet asparagus hearts in a burnt butter sauce. The gnocchi, lovingly browned, offers a soft pillowy centre speckled with ricotta and basil.
An alternate starter of zucchini flowers is served deep fried, stuffed with picked crab meat that has a slight heat and smokiness about it. The accompanying brussel sprout salad with anchovies and capers is a particularly interesting and refreshing prospect.
Moving onto the main course, High St Bistro offers a grilled lamb backstrap which arrives pink and juicy. The romesco sauce is a perfect complement and brings a fragrant touch to the meat. The lamb balances delicately on a stack of wilted spinach, chargrilled onion and a cheesy eggplant piccata.
Meanwhile, the fish course is presented ‘en papillote’ packaged with kipfler potatoes, cavelo nero, confit tomatoes and lemon. The fish was admittedly a little dry around the edges but rightfully supple in the middle. The dill butter is a tad indulgent on the palate but does bring a richness to the dish.
Both desserts are outstanding, though the dark chocolate pudding really blows it out of the park. The pudding is dangerously chocolatey, with a hint of savouriness. Do yourselves a favour and don’t offer to share this dessert!
The crème brulee sports a lovely golden toffee crust, which crackles with a slight tap of the spoon. The custard itself is smooth and creamy with a suggestion of lavender. It’s a lovely twist on what is a rather faithful interpretation of a classic dessert.
There’s only a limited number of vouchers up for grabs, so don’t delay and head over to Ouffer to take advantage of this deal or click here!
High St Bistro
197 High Street
# 02 9958 1110
Open from 8am daily for lunch and dinner, with breakfast served on weekends