Friday, 21 September 2012

The Larder, Otto Ristorante, Woolloomooloo

The Larder is a pop-up extension of Otto Ristorante, situated right next to it at Finger Bay Wharf and open only on week days until the 27th of September. I'd heard of its provision of rustic fare for low prices (low for Otto, in any case) and was looking forward to satisfying my tastebuds with hearty dishes. The food was sadly left wanting.

The waitress explained that the menu is designed for sharing, so we ordered 3 savoury dishes, holding off from any desserts in the event that we'd stuffed ourselves too much - which we did.

The first to arrive was the pork rillette sandwich with dijon mustard and gherkins, served on a wooden board. It looked incredibly inviting but as I bit into it, I was greeted with carbon. Turning over the top layer of bread, I found the entire underside to be burnt. I sent it back to the kitchen and they prepared another half, the waitress explaining to me that the burnt part comes from the bread being toasted on the grill. I  appreciate the grill marks on food as much as the next foodie, but eating pricey burnt toast isn't very pleasurable.

The pork rillette was slightly cold at room temperature, reminding me of a tuna sandwich in both flavour and texture. Overall, it was alright - edible, slightly bland... Not great.

Pork rillette sandwich ($16)
Next came the john dory and chips with tartar sauce, the highlight of the dinner. The fish was light, fresh and cooked to perfection. The batter was crisp with just the right amount of seasoning (which tasted like chicken salt). The herby tartar sauce was refreshing and complemented the fish well. However, the fish was let down by the chips - soft and not particularly appetising.

Fish and chips ($26)
Finally, the chicken skewers with peri peri sauce arrived. Given the price, I'd expected either very tasty chicken or more than 4 skewers. Evidently neither expectation was fulfilled. The chicken was moist but the meat that wasn't covered by the tangy sauce had a strong gassy (as from a gas-stove) flavour.

Chicken skewers ($26)
We decided not to stay for dessert as the sandwich and fish and chips were more than enough to fill our stomachs.

The staff is friendly and the concept of The Larder is packaged very prettily - casual dining with views of the wharf, candles, a cosy ambience, and food presented in pans/ boards/ charming plates. Would I return? Probably not.

Otto Ristorante on Urbanspoon

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