>> April 29, 2013
It seemed like only yesterday that I was dining at Quarter Twenty-One in the Sydney CBD Westfield. How quickly times change! The old space was boarded up for a while with signage declaring Jones the Grocer to be opening soon.
Now it is open and I must confess that I was not dying to visit (concept seemed a bit standard to my jaded mind) but my friend was super keen. One weeknight after finishing work, we went to visit for dinner - don't forget to use the express escalator next to Sportsgirl if coming from Pitt St Mall for a quick ride to Level 5 of the Westfield!
Upon walking into the restaurant , it is a lot more spacious than it appears from the outside. Not only is there a 'grocery' section with expensive teas, cordials, jams, nuts etc to purchase and a sofa lounge area, you can also see big glass cabinets where it looks like their cured meats are hanging and an open kitchen. There is lots of seating and we were ushered into the dining area at the back.
The lighting is a bit strange inside. The tables next to the windows are almost in pitch darkness whereas other tables are awkwardly lit by glaring overhead lightbulbs. We were initially seated at a window table and although there was a nice view of Pitt St Mall, we requested to move to another table because it was too dark for us. I feared that I would actually fall asleep. And squinting to see the menu. Yes I am a nanna and a romantic dinner this was not!
I decided to order off the bar menu for my entree.
Angel hair pasta with blue swimmer crab, chilli, rocket, garlic and grana padano ($19)
Our mains came out quickly after entrees were cleared away.
Pan fried Atlantic salmon fillet with cherry tomato and black bean vierge ($30)
Roast wild barramundi with crushed potatoes and sauce antiboise ($32)
Similarly, I wasn't overly enamoured with the wild barrumundi. The skin was partly crisp, partly soggy. The body of the fish was cooked well but the overall flavour of the dish was bland. In particular, I disliked the fact that the large, chunky potatoes were underdone and a bit hard in the mouth. It would have been nice to have some other vegetables mixed in with the potatoes. There also wasn't much sauce on the plate. I felt like Manu from MKR - where is the sauce????
My friend and I disagreed over the chips - she thought they were undercooked and I thought they were overcooked. Maybe I just had the misfortune of selecting the extra brown ones. I found the tomato and fennel ketchup to be strange and the additional flavour of fennel to be unnecessary. The texture of the ketchup was also odd, it was runny and reminded me of soup.
Up until this point, I was underwhelmed with the dishes but then my dessert came out.
All in all, I wouldn't come back again for dinner. However I would come back for dessert with coffee or tea. That sticky date pudding was the bomb! The staff were very friendly and attentive during the meal.
My friend was still feeling rich after the dinner and left with a $16 bottle of cordial from the grocery section.