After stints at Aria and Bennelong and one with Heston Blumenthal at The Fat Duck outside London, Tomislav Martinovic has scooped what has to be one of Sydney’s best venues for his own “food laboratory”. Located on the prow of number 13 Kirketon Road, Darlinghurst overlooking the city with the Harbor Bridge in the distance and the giant Coke sign stage left, the place has a no-nonsense interior with a fantastic al fresco balcony sufficiently elevated from the thrumming Kings Cross street action.
Many a magnificent meal has been consumed at this terrific venue under his careful watch, dishes that truly tantalize the palate with surprising flavours. Served up on slate plates, the feast begins with irresistible rice crackers that you are encouraged to spritz with a delicate vinegar. Next might come some kangaroo tartare with mint and hazelnut dressing followed by roast quail with chili, coriander and pineapple. His scotch fillet with roast bone marrow and smoked potato cream is a winter dish made in Heaven leaving just enough room for a Goldilocks dessert that isn’t too sweet or too salt but just right, like his apple crumble with hot rocks that burst deliciously in your mouth.
When Tomislav recently opened his lab to a few lucky punters for a Masterclass, Peach and I jumped on board to learn a few tricks, along with our buddies Jinks and Sinpops and LGMCBneeB. The latter had previously introduced her cousin Ann-Marie to the master chef, spawning an ongoing love-in that now sees the lovely lady working front-of-house! The big discovery on the day was that our man at the stove uses a cream whipper charged with nitrous oxide to produce both his sweet and sour creams. He also employs a Thermomix kitchen appliance to make everything from savory soups to sweet broths. Consultant Lynette MacDonald was on hand to further spruik this wonder machine offering up free home demos, which I’m now seriously considering locking in.
We watched how Tomislav delicately poaches Tasmanian salmon in olive oil before grilling the fillets and serving them up with apple, caperberries and wasabi crumbs. We sampled his latest experiment – a warm rice pudding dished up with a spiced caramel broth and rhubarb sorbet with just a smear of rhubarb underneath. Our rapturous approval led to the dish being now firmly included on his winter menu and I for one can’t wait to go back and sample it once again!
Eating on the long balcony table with the rain bucketing down, watching the staff gainfully employed dislodging the vast pools of water that were gathering in the canvas awning, we mused on our new culinary insights and how we might insert them into our own kitchen antics. Maybe it’s just best to book a table at Tomislav’s?
Dinner: Tuesday – Saturday 6.30pm – 10.00pm
Lunch: Friday 12.00pm – 3.00pm
Level 2/13 Kirketon Rd. Darlinghurst, Sydney 2010
+61 2 9356 4535