Friday, 19 July 2013

The Apprentice

The Apprentice is a training restaurant up on Level 7 of Building E on the TAFE, Ultimo campus. At $22 per person for a 3-course lunch (Mon - Wed, $24 for Thurs - Fri), it's great value for money - and a bit like hitting the "I'm feeling lucky" button on Google. You never know what you're going to get on any given day. As they don't do walk-ins, you have to call them up to make a reservation and leave your credit card number with them for payment.

The restaurant is decorated simply, with arrangements sent up from TAFE's florists in training (which I failed to snap a photo of).

As I was the first of our table of 6 to arrive, I took the leisure of ordering the mocktail of the day, which consisted of orange juice and grenadine. To be honest, it just tasted like pulp-free orange juice, but it was very pretty to look at.

Mocktail of the day ($5)

Prior to your entrees, the servers come round with white bread rolls (and continue to do so throughout the meal). Being a bit of a bread glutton, I ate 3 buns that day. One of the others on our group was a bread snob and refused to eat bread of the white variety.

There are 4 menu items per course that you could potentially end up with. As they cook up a set number of dishes per menu item, your table seating is what determines your dish. This means if you attend with a large group of friends, you can do a bit of swapping around/ sharing.

Entree 1: Scallops. Someone kindly passed their scallops to me, which were described on the menu to be flavoured with a "spicy sauce". The sauce didn't really have a kick of spice, but the scallops were nice and the sweet potato puree on the side was quite yummy.


Money bags


Entree 2: Deep fried money bags, thai style - perfect for sharing, generous in portion, and very filling. They were similar to deep fried meaty spring rolls and the sauce was tangy.

Entree 3: Sweet corn chicken soup, which tasted a lot like congee.

Entree 4: Minced pork salad on witlof leaf - kinda like mini sang choy bows, except with pork.

Minced pork

Main 1: Lamb goulash with cous cous and green beans. The goulash was warm, hearty and chunky. Really nice comfort food that came with (essentially) rice. The pine nuts added a nice touch to the texture.

Lamb goulash

Didn't try the other mains - mine was too filling!

Main 2: Pomegranate balsamic glazed bream fish fillet with polenta - friends reported that this was pretty good.

Fish with polenta

Main 3: Grill rib eye beef with roast pumpkin and tamarind sauce - not the most appetising looking, but it looked okay covered in sauce.


Main 4: Parmesan and sage crumbed veal cutlet with potato bake and baby carrot. Friends seemed happy with this one.

As with the mains, I only sampled my dessert (by this time stomach space was pretty much taken up entirely).

Dessert 1: Banana cake with vanilla ice cream - the vanilla ice cream was made with vanilla bean, which was a pleasant surprise. The banana cake had an odd springy texture. The smear of raspberry was a nice touch.

Banana cake
Deep fried sorbet

Dessert 2: Deep fried mixed berry sorbet with mixed berry coulis and a macaroon. Sorbet tasted like jam.

Dessert 3: Thai tea creme brulee with tuile - the most visually appealing and reportedly really good.

Creme brulee
Dessert 4: Black sticky rice with taro and young coconut flesh. Don't remember what they said about it, but I'm pretty sure the comments were positive.

12 dishes later, we were practically rolling out.

It's important to remember that your waiters/ waitresses are also in training, so they might appear nervous, drop your fork, spill your water, or perform any number of accidents. Nevertheless, even these instances increase the novelty of the experience :)

Apprentice on Urbanspoon


  1. this looks awesome, im always up for supporting education and food

  2. I planned to go to some of these last year, never made the time. This reminded, me, and I will try go again!

  3. The team took us out to dinner there earlier in the year - entrees and mains were REALLY good! (Different to what they were serving on the day you went though). The student-mixed drinks were also delicious and contained very little alcohol, which was good because I had an exam the morning after. Desserts were a bit of a disappointment. Altogether a positive experience! xox