Date of Visit: November 7 2013
Oscillate Wildly is only a short skip opposite Newtown Station, facing the Local Courthouse and next to Black Star Pastry which is very famous for its signature ‘strawberry watermelon cake with rose scented cream’.
To get to Newtown, Side-Kick Nana aka Side-Kick Chica from here – but read on why we felt our age in this dinner!) and I caught a train from Wynyard. I have not been to Newtown by public transport before, so we arranged to meet at Wynyard station to catch the train together. Lots of talking, and paying no attention meant that we jumped into the limited express train which did not stop at Newtown, we went all the way to Strathfield and had to take over a good half hour to detour back.
We arrived right on the dot at 6:30pm, nevertheless!
The restaurant is cosy, servicing 20 people max on the ground floor, but on our date, the restaurant was packed with a private function upstairs. We were seated under the stairs. I took care not to look up whenever someone is going up/down the stairs to block the thoughts of sprinkling dust. 😳
Service was polite with excellent introduction to each course and water constantly refilled.
To amuse us, we were served 2 Snacks
Followed by something stuck in a bowl of ice.
Any takers for what they are? *Hint* These are 2 iconic aperitifs – served solidified!
Given up? OK.
Pic #1 looking like stiff wrinkled plastic wrappers is dehydrated Kir Royale(!). It was made of potato starch, flavoured with cassis and blood plum and tasted like the Chinese haw flakes on edible rice paper. James, who looked after us told us not to worry about making a mess on the table since it was quite delicate and crumbled when bitten. Now, I am not sure about you, but I love haw flakes which is a very common sweet snacks for the Chinese people – it purports to have blood-presure lowering properties. I surfed the net to find more info on the haw flakes and found that many non-Asians find this a ‘weird and awful tasting’ snack – so many silly postings on YouTubes on it – even a haw flakes eating challenge (which I won’t bother on linking here). If you are curious as to what haw flakes taste like, check out this link by Mel Eats Weird Stuff where she and her friend attempt to give an accurate description
Pic #2 is the classic GT or Gin Tonic – compressed in sugar cane – no description needed!
Amused by the Amuse Bouche?! Hope you were!
Bread-rolls and butter were served next, accompanied by ribbons of super-salty lards that you can eat sandwiched with the roll or do what I did – eat no bread – snack on pigs’ fat all by themselves!
Bread roll, butter and luxurious ribbons of lard
Ribbons of lard (+ details in the background picture: Butter dotted with salt-flakes)
Slices of sashimi trumpeter (from Tasmania) on rice paper crackers signals the start of our degustation. The fish has beautiful firm white flesh without a very strong taste, so that was probably why it came with salty smoked butter.
Trumpeter, Butter, Rice
Before the 2nd Course was served, we were given hand towelettes to wipe our hands – the ever popular tablet that magically ‘grows’ and turn into towelettes when one pour water over it.
A compact goodie of freshly-planed cauliflower and Jerusalem artichoke chips stuck into the creamy foie gras custard and garnished with crushed macadamias and hazelnut powder.
Foie Gras, Artichoke, Macadamia
A faint smoky-salty aroma wafted through the room as this dish was brought out. Here, we have Job’s Tears – commonly known as Chinese pearl barley – with sautéed Chanterelle mushrooms on sweet black garlic custard and bits of Appenzeller cheese. The foam of Appenzeller, a Swiss washed-rind cheese, was the ‘smelly’ culprit.
Job’s Tears, Chanterelle, Black Garlic
Course #4.1 (Additional add-on for $20)
The waitress had us sold when she told us that the kitchen had received some white truffles and recommended us their special for the night: White Truffles and Polenta Sweetcorn. I found the polenta and sweetcorns very custardy and overly sweet, whereas Side-Kick Nana found it to be too cheesy for her liking. We also have a slice of percorino cheese for the extra sharpness to go with the polenta.
White Truffles and Polenta Sweetcorn
This is SO pretty. Whenever I see fronds, it conjures up Toad from my favourite novel ‘The Wind in the Willows‘. Here, we have pan-fried Murray cod plated up with roasted young almonds (still jelly in the middle) on a bed of potato, drizzled with chive oil.
Murray Cod, Potato, Almond
Saddleback pork belly sitting in duck broth and crowned with thin crispy crackling. Eating the crackling by itself was bland, but dunking the crackling in the duck broth comprising mustard seeds, onions and parsley really elevated it. (The original version has prawn floss, but since I am allergic to shellfish, mine did not have any).
Pork Mustard, Parsley
Pork Mustard, Parsley
The final savoury course is tender charcoal-grilled Wagyu beef from Victoria, combined with bitter water-cress and refreshing discs of radishes. The sous-vided-almost-set egg yolk gave a blokey’s touch of steak-and-eggs to fill one up, if one is not already-surely not!
Beef, Radish, Yolk
Because we have been sitting and eating for 3 hours already, when enquired whether we would like to order a pre-dessert of Cheese on Toast (+$10) – a signature of Oscillate Wildly‘s, we had to decline as it was getting very late and we were both very tired -SideKick Nana is sliding off her chair and I am trying my best to keep my eyes open!
Our first dessert arrived in a white bowl with smokes blowing off it -a rather impressive entrance. Here, we have coconut shavings on lime sorbet (very tart), under the sorbet we have the tiny pearls of tapioca and kaffir limes – influenced by Thai dessert perhaps. Nice, but not smitten by it!
Our finale is a quenelle of Chocolate sorbet on Eucalyptus-infused mascarpone covered with chocolate soil and topped with a crunchy chocolate caramel shard. A refreshingly ‘light’ minty dessert sending us home with a high-note into the dark of the night.
I must say that I have enjoyed the remake of classical dishes with a touch of molecular gastronomy designed by head chef Karl Firla . This is a spectacular degustation dinner at $100 per person. The only low-point is that the meal pacing was uneven and it took us 3.5 hours to finish dinner!
At the time of posting, Oscillate Wildly scored 84% out of 267 votes
Epilogue: Overly tired, I took the wrong train home and had to make another detour to get home…