Sunday, 30 May 2010

Garden Brasserie, Neutral Bay

Garden Brasserie is located in the quite backstreets of Neutral Bay and it has only been opened since late April this year, so it is fairly new.
I stumbled upon this place while researching on the web for late dinner outing with some friends.

Garden Brasserie's living wall and birdcages lamps.

As you step into the door, you felt like you've stepped into someone's garden.
There is a wall of plant on one side , white garden tables and chairs around, and birdcages lanterns.
Birdcages !! I love birdcages \^o^/

Because they do not take booking after 6.30pm, there was no table available for our group of 9 when we got there.
Since it will be a while till they are able to put together some tables for us, the waitress ushered us to the lounge upstairs to have some drinks and nibblies first.

The lounge is equally amazing as the dining area downstairs. There are antique style couches and chairs around, warm lighting, just cozy.

Bartender in action ; Garden Brasserie cocktail menu

As I've researched their menu beforehand , I know what I want from the coktail list.
So I asked our friendly waitress if I could possibly has an alcohol free version of it (I'm allergic to alcohol, sad I know T___T). When she returns from asking the bartender, she said yes (yay!) and they are going to charge it as OJ price ( double triple yay !!).
That was very nice of them to do that and totally unexpected.

Mocktail version of Mai Tai w Lollipop!  ;  Pomegranate Lollipop

Mai Tai w Lollipop! , the original, is made up of Appleton Estate Reserve 8 Year Old rum, Wray & 
Nephew White Rum, triple sec, fresh-pressed lime juice, in-house orgeat syrup & Citrus Bitters served w house-made pomegranate lollipop. 
With my version, remove all the alcohol components LOL
Orgeat syrup is a sweet syrup made from almond, sugar and rose or orange blossoms water. I think Garden Brasserie's orgeat is made with orange blossoms as it is very citrusy and refreshing.
Tackling the pomegranate lollipop is tricky, it is really sticky and most of the time I'm trying to get it unstuck from my teeth or somehow form it into a candy ball so I can eat it safely ^o^
Nonetheless, it is still fun to eat and it tasted good.

Upstairs lounge area

Food Menu

We ordered a shared plate and an entree to share, just to fill our stomach while we wait for a table.

Something to Share (for two) - Vegetable Board 

A colourful board of marinated char-grilled zucchini, asparagus, capsicum, eggplant, baked ricotta, confit tomato & pesto arrived. 
Somehow I didn't manage to try any of these (how did that happened ?!?!), but judging from the reaction of others, it is safe to say that is is a big TICK !
The board was polished off in no time, I regret not trying that baked ricotta , it looks soo good T___T

Chili Salt Calamari

Now this I get to try , the calamari is served with chilled cucumber & peanut salad and asian chili dressing. The calamari is well seasoned, not too salty and the it is deep fried in a light batter. 
The accompanying salad of cucumber is the highlight for me, it is marinated in some sort of vinegar and there are some coriander as well. It is refreshing and tangy, matches well with the hot and spicy calamari.

When we inquire whether our table is ready yet , the waitress told us it is probably still going to be another 25minutes wait.
So she suggested, if we dont mind, she can move us to a more spacious corner of the lounge that has just been vacated, and we can have our dinner there.
Since we really can't be bothered to find somewhere else to eat, luckily all of us don't mind crouching a little to eat from the low lounge tables.
*relocate to more spacious corner*

Placed our main orders, waited a while and finally the foods are here !!

Coorong Angus Scotch Fillet

The scotch fillet is served with some pont neuf potato chips, watercress and bearnaise sauce.
My friend's verdict : good steak, and he loved the house made chips.

Roast Duck Breast

The perfectly cooked duck is topped with apple & celeriac remoulade and drizzled with hazelnut and honey vinaigrette.
I tried a bite of this, the duck is cooked just right and the accompanying sauces are light so the dish is not too heavy.

Beef Short Ribs

My friend's beef short ribs is amazing !! It has been braised for 12 hours , served with carrot puree, parsley salad and caramelized vinegar. 
The meat is so tender, you don't really need a knife for this. It is juicy and full of flavours, and not to mention the generous portion size.

Hellow !!

I was not expecting the marron head to be still on the plate LOL All of us went "Ooooohh" when the plate was set down. Marron is a large freshwater crayfish found in Western Australia, texure wise, it is quite similar to lobster I think.

Salad of Poached Marron 

Up close with the salad "body"

The poached marron is served with marinate kipfler potatoes, green beans, confit tomato & sauce Marie Rose (fancy name for a blend of ketchup and mayonnaise LOL).
The marron is thankfully not overcooked, it is still tender and goes well with the vegetables and creamy sauce, the micro basil also add a light kick to the dish.
I love this dish, it is light and not to heavy, so I can leave some room for desserts !!

Polenta Chips w/ Gorgonzola Cream

We also ordered a side dish of polenta chips as some of us have never tried polenta before.

The chips are crispy on the outside and soft & fluffy on the inside. The gorgonzola cream is surprisingly not too strong *phew* I usually can't stand blue cheese *urrghhh*

Since some of us are stuffed, so we just ordered a couple of desserts and share it around.

Orange Creme Caramel w/ Cinnamon Poached Pear

When I saw poached pear on the menu, I was not expecting diced up poached pear.
So I was a tad dissapointed when it arrived.  The creme caramel has a nice set and not too sweet at all, making it easy to eat. The poached pear is too mushy to my liking :P

Dark Chocolate Torte w/ Quice Jam & Vanilla Ice Cream

My picture doesn't do this dessert justice ! It is soooooo gooooodddd >___<
The chocolate torte is amazing, the chocolate creme is smooth & bitter, but there is a hint of sweetness from the quince jam on the base. The pastry is perfect too, crumbly and buttery. 
The vanilla ice cream...if it is sold somewhere, I want it !! The chocolate torte eaten on its own is amazing, but eaten with the ice cream - WOW! >_<
I think I've written enough on how much I looovee it LOL

As I was taking photos of the restaurant, the manager approaches me ! I thought , damn...I'm gonna get told off now... -___-
He just wanted to ask how was our meal *pheww* , so I took this chance to get the okay from him to take photos, and he happily said go ahead *yay!*
Then he said "This is too dark for you to take photos, it would be better if there are more lights, would you like me to turn them on for you?"
You have no idea how happy I was , I was running back to our table and told the others LOL

Turned on the lights, and he returns and we chit chatted some more. 
These lights that he just turned on are UV lights that are turned on from noon to 4.30pm to mimic the sun rays to nourish the plants. Yes, that is a living wall !! There is an irrigation and nutrition system running on the back to keep the plants going. I thought they were fake plants , how cool is that !!

Because the lights are so bright, they cannot turn it on at night time, it is not too bad from the lounge but he said it would probably annoys those dining downstairs :D
But fret not fellow food bloggers, they are in the process of installing more lights so it will be not as dark as it now at dinner time. 

UV Lights ON !

Living Wall ; White Patio Chairs & Table

It has only been opened for a month, but the service is on par with other well established restaurants.
There is no hiccup whatsover during the service, the waitresses are very friendly and they know their stuffs. Not to mention the manager is very accomodating and friendly too.
The foods are delicious, with main ranging from $21 - $29, and their cocktail menu is a must try.

Garden Brasserie opens from noon to midnight on Fri & Sat, and 5pm to midnight on Mon - Thurs. 
It is a great place for lunch and dinner, or just to have some drinks and lounge around upstairs.
Worth crossing over the Harbour Bridge to get there, a place worth returning too.
*Dark Chocolate Torte...mmmmmmm**

Garden Brasserie on Urbanspoon


  1. Well done Mon ^^. Sorry you didn't get a chance to try the veggie board but I only ate 1 grilled zucchini. -NSS-

  2. wow lots of exclamation marks for that torte! lol made me droolll
    do you go somewhere every week.....?

  3. NSS : at least we have more access to the calamari...ehehehhehe...

    Cella : it's scary to see how often you eat out, didn't realize until I start blogging -__-;

  4. What a beautiful looking restaurant. Loving the bird cages and vertical garden. Great dishes as well. The polenta chips induced a bit of de ja vu when I saw them with gorgonzola sauce - just like the ones at Bloodwood

  5. hi john - that's right ! No wonder when I saw the polenta & gorgonzola sauce on the menu it sounds familiar, must have read it somewhere on the web ;)

  6. Hey this is my neighbourhood! I've walked past this place but haven't been in yet :)

  7. Hi Maria,

    Lucky you ! You should definitely try out this place ;D

  8. I love bircages. But i don't like seeing birds in them. its cruel. this place looks fantastic. sounds like a great place for a good feed. yum!

  9. Hi Amy, that's why I love these deco birdcages that are popping up everywhere now :D No poor birdies caged :)

  10. Such a pretty restaurant, love all the plants and garden settings, and the menu looks pretty good too!