I love date night. Love it to bits. Cocktails, yummy food, and the man – happiness. Our reservation wasn’t until 8pm, so first we went to Tokonoma for a few cheeky cocktails before we set sail for food.
Rockin’ Espresso Martini (rittenhouse rye infused with espresso rock candy, shaken with espresso and SALTED CARAMEL liquer) - $19
I get this EVERY time we go to Tokonoma, it kicks arse. We also had a Sashimi-tini, a Kimchi Mary, and a couple of others.. brain is failing me for some reason – any ideas why?
With a belly full of ‘tails – we embark on a 5 minute walk to a very, very new gem on Waterloo Street in Surry Hills named Orto Trading Co.
I asked a twitter friend for a rec for a “hidden gem for a good cocktail and dinner in surry hills”, and that’s exactly what I got.
Unfortunately our booking for a table at the bar had been misplaced, but thankfully we got a seat with a low table in the courtyard, just under the awning so as not to get wet if the rain appeared again (which it did).
I couldn’t actually handle another cocktail (although the choices looked very tempting) – next time.
Nanny Goat Pinot Noir, Central Otago NZ – $52.00
This pinot was divine. Love me an NZ drop and it didn’t let me down.
The menu is modest in size, but there’s a varied enough range that you’re sure to see something that takes your fancy. English inspired with touches of modern Australian and Italian, the food is hearty and perfect for the cooler nights we’re having. I’ll be interested in coming back in summer (and hopefully a few times prior) and seeing if the menu reflects the warmer weather.
We had planned on getting a couple of starters and a main, but near capacity thanks to all the drinkies, we opt for 3 starters.
Pumpkin, date and pine nut parcels with crispy sage and champagne butter sauce – $12.00
Butter sauce? Crispy sage? Love. Instantly warming, melt in your mouth.
The restaurant was bustling without being loud, the waiters doubling up as bar staff in between trafficking tasty morsels from kitchen to table.
Scotch Egg with house made pork sausage – $9.00
I’ve never had a scotch egg before, I’ve never noticed one on a menu before so jumped at the chance to try it. Crispy fried outsides and a soft gooey yolk, with a light curried flavour and a saucy green pickle. I wish we had ordered two of these. One for me, and one for.. me.
Orto have two stacked-palette herb gardens in the courtyard, staff came out a couple of times to pick sprigs to be taken back to the kitchen. It rained while we were there, so the gardens got a drink too. ;)
Cured meat plate with cider cured ham, bresaola, proscuitto and a pork and rabbit terrine – $16.00
I was impressed with the size of the portions on the meat plate given the price tag. A couple of extra bits of the thin and crispy toast would have been welcomed, but eh – minor detail. I’ve had such a hankering for pâté’s and terrine type things recently, so I gobble most of that up myself, as Adam doesn’t really like a terrine. The studs of pistachio work wonders with the rabbit and pork which is juicy and flavoursome.
The kitchen – where the magic happens (it also happens at the bar, just FYI)
The amazing sticky, and a VERY generous pour indeed! Grande Maison Monbazillac – $14.00
Absolutely full up there was no room at the inn for desserts, luckily I keep a manger warm for these occasions. Hello!
Chocolate and chestnut mousse with salted caramel – $12.00
The salted caramel was my favourite part of this dish. With a crisp *snap* I happily picked at this until it was all gone, using shards of sweet and salty caramel to scoop up mousse.
So.. with four cocktails, half a bottle of amazing pinot and a sip of sticky under my belt I got a bit giggly. Wine makes me happy.. so does dessert.
At times we did need to wait a little while to have a waiter get to us, but if it’s doing this well after only being open this long I’m sure they’ll be 100% on the ball once it finds its feet.
There are complimentary blankets to wrap yourself up in while sitting outside to keep a chill at bay, the staff are very friendly, and the food was speedy to arrive.
Go visit before it gets a phone number!
Orto Trading Co.
38 Waterloo Street, Surry Hills NSW