Sunday, April 06, 2008

Catalina Sydney

Wonderfully situated, overlooking Rose Bay, with a couple of sea planes bobbing in the water, moored just outside the full length bay window, this restaurant comes with a bloated reputation from Gourmet Traveller. At 1 Sunderland Ave, Lyne Park, Rose Bay GT categorizes it as"A genuinely superior dining experience worthy of a detour" On the night I dined there it was worthy of a detour - somewhere else! The menu begins with a lengthy paragraph lauding the quality of their oysters. Au natural or with light pickles you can't do much wrong but they were very ordinary oysters. For only 20cents more per oyster you can have them crumbed and grilled with a leek fondue. We got shrivelled, overcooked, unrecognizable 'things' which tasted like nothing more than toasted crumbs ($48 a dozen)
The octopus carpaccio ($25) was a tiny serve of wafer thin octopus covered by eight little vongole with a few specks of caviar, probably lump fish roe, on one half of the shell and a couple of mussels with avruga and paprika oil. This was about as undistinguished a starter as you could get. "You'll be sorry" my companion said when I ordered it and I was.
For mains the flounder ($40) was as small a flounder as I have ever seen. I think they should have thrown it back. At least it was nicely cooked and tasted fine. The roast snapper filet on a potato and garlic mash with lemon caper butter ($42) would be better described as a bit of a fillet. It had the texture of a black cod. It was nicely cooked and I'm still wondering what it was! A mix up in the kitchen resulted in rather good looking rack of lamb being served when Angus sirloin beef ($42) had been ordered. This was promptly replaced.

Desserts generally failed to impress. The souffle ($22) was particularly poor, overcooked, rather tough and tasteless.
the fig tartelet ($19) was OK and the dessert special a chocolate mousse cake ($19) wonderfully rich
Catalina is deservedly noted for its' wine list. Beginning around $50 up to about $5000 there is a wide and excellent range. We had a Phillip Jones Cellar style 2005 Pinot Noir ($70) which was sour. The waiter agreed but the sommelier claimed that this was the wine style. Regardless he replaced it with a Carlei pinot noir which all found much more agreeable
Price At around $125/head this is a hell of a lot to pay for poor food with a view!
Pretentious and overpriced
Score: 13.25/20

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