Gastro Park [Sydney]
In Sydney for a few days so checked out the much reviewed newbie Gastro Park up in the Cross (no it's not Potts Point). The food is superb, with lots of modern twists and flavour combinations. Whilst Duke was one of my favourite places for cutting edge (small plate) creations Gastro Park feels like it's grown up big brother with restaurant sized dishes and a restaurant structure to the menu. I never really got on with Bentley Restaurant and Bar as the food never did much for me. With Gastro Park we have a restaurant that gets the balance right between flavour and modern technique.
I started with a duck textures dish which combined great deep flavours with interesting textures including a duck jelly and slippery jack mushrooms: so good I would have ordered another serve there and then. For mains, the crispy skinned snapper with various squid/calamari accompaniments, again very good (read TD's review in the SMH for a very accurate description - http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/r...). And to finish a goats cheese dish with a cheese sorbet contrasting with a citrus sorbets, a surprising dish that worked. My fellow diners loved their scallop starter and the lamb main looked superb - a real plate envy dish.
Durack gave it 16/20 in (I think) its opening week and I agree it is that good. One gripe though is service, a good FOH staff ratio to tables but they seem unfocussed and disorganised. The kitchen is pretty slow to deliver dishes (which I put down to the newness of the place) but the FOH don't fill the void with a good wine/bread service so we had quite a few waits with empty glasses and plates. That said a cracking new place that is already a tricky reservation.