Palings Kitchen and Bar, Sydney CBD

It seems like Sydney are going through a period of reinvention - out with the old, in with the new. Where under performing restaurants are quietly shut down and transformed in the hopes of a better revenue stream.

So I wasn't surprised to learn that Mad Cow is no longer and in its place, Palings Kitchen & Bar.  The decor is completely different, the menu offerings are more cafe style and lower priced too.

Our visit took place on a Friday night to take advantage of the March into Merivale $33 meal deal.  I must admit that I did the calculations in my head beforehand to suss out if it was worth doing the deal considering most of the items on the menu average out to be the same as the deal.  I suppose the bonus is the glass of wine or beer offered with the deal.

Since Palings has no barriers from the internal Ivy courtyard on level 1, it meant that it was very noisy.  Being a Friday night, the music was pumping and there were people everywhere.  My voice felt a bit hoarse by the end of the meal.

We decided to order some items in addition to getting the $33 meal deal, namely some snacks and desserts.

Iggy’s sourdough, pepe saya hand churned butter ($2)

Country terrine, liver pâté, mostarda ($16)

Burrata, field tomato, basil and parsley dressing (Entree choice from the March into Merivale menu, usually $15.50)

Roasted cauliflower, pomegranate, fennel, lime (Entree choice from the March into Merivale menu, usually $14)

The salads were both generous servings.  I had the roasted cauliflower and would have preferred it if the cauliflower had retained some of the roasted texture.  As it was, it was soggy from the dressing.

Although the snacks and entrees came out very quickly, it took a while for the plates to be cleared.  When they were cleared, the waiter asked if we wanted any dessert - we told him that we were waiting for our mains! 

Grilled fish of the day, creamy potato and cucumber, sorrel (Main choice from the March into Merivale menu, usually $25)

The grilled fish of the day was kingfish and we both found it to be too salty.  The creamy potato was like a good old fashioned potato salad and I enjoyed the bits of dill through the creamy dressing.

Roast of the day - pork with apple sauce (Main choice from the March into Merivale menu, usually $25)

The pork was a huge disappointment.  I don't often say this but.....too much fat!  There was only two very thin slivers of meat running through the piece, the rest was taken up by gelatinous fat that for once, did not work in the pork's favour.  The fat was tasteless and we cut most of it off. 

The desserts from the menu are from Lorraine's Patisserie downstairs.

 Strawberry mascarpone ($12)

New York cheesecake ($9.50)

Both desserts were very yummy and a nice way to end the meal.

I wouldn't be against revisiting but I think anytime other than a Friday night would be better.  Most of the waitstaff were running around flat and I noticed a lot of patrons (including us) struggled to get their attention at times.  Having said that, they were very friendly when you did manage to flag one down. 

Palings Kitchen and Bar on Urbanspoon


We have been writing about food in Sydney since 2009. No place is too far or too wide for us to travel to visit. We always give an honest opinion and love to hear your comments too. Here's to an ever-growing society of foodies!


  1. The cheesecake was so awesome! I went to Palings on a Monday night and it wasn't noisy at all, and there were enough waitstaff so I think you're right about not going on a Friday :)

  2. Hi Jacq: The cheesecake is a winner for sure - I will have to return on a different night to try more of their menu!

  3. Look at the skin on that salmon! Now that's a well-cooked piece of fish that I'd love to try when I'm in that area of Sydney. The pork looks a little dry from the pictures too actually, but from the comments it looks like the cheesecake is the real winner here..