Sunday, June 5, 2011

Orto Trading Co, Surry Hills

All I wanted to do last Friday night was to tuck myself and my terrible flu under the covers.  However, Dumpling Sister was in town.  If it was anyone else, I would have  definitely cancelled.  You see, at my birthday earlier this year at Ms. G's, Dumpling Sister got stung by some blue bottles a couple of hours before my dinner.  Much to my amazement, Dumpling Sister still insisted on coming.  That's sisterly love for you, so my flu and I just sucked it up.  If she could make it to my birthday after being attacked by blue bottles, I could make it to dinner with the flu. 

I also had reservations at Orto Trading Co, so that was an additional incentive not to cancel.  I had been looking forward to this visit, and once we found the place, I was reminded of Greenhouse by Joost.  As there were cute buckets of fresh herbs outside, flowers in glasses on tables and recycled bottles dangling from the ceiling acting as vases.  It was awfully cosy, and thoughts of wanting to be in bed flew out the window.

A cute bucket of truffled popcorn came to our table followed by drinks.  Sorry photo of truffled popcorn was blurry, so didn't add it to post.  They have a good range of drinks, and a lot of people were also here just for drinks and nibbles. 

Dumpling Sister's Monteith's pear cider, $7.50
My cocktail from the cocktail garden, $15 - House made quince syrup topped with sparkling
Cheesecake Boy's Coopers pale ale, $5.50

Dumpling Sister is not big on oysters, but Cheesecake Boy and I decided to have some oysters anyway.  The oysters were plump and texturally lovely, but the dressing was not strong and acidic enough to overcome the slight metallic taste of the oysters.

Oysters with cider vinegar, eschalot, seaweed and fleur de sel, $3.50 each

We ordered an entree of Scotch egg with house-made pork sausage, and this was my favourite dish of the night.  I actually wished that we had ordered one of these entrees each, so that I didn't have to share.  The super crunchy exterior, sweet porky goodness and egg with the runny yolk was a blissful combination.

Scotch egg with house-made pork sausage, $9

Dumpling Sister is actually a very healthy eater and doesn't usually eat a lot of meat, so we ordered the pumpkin, date and pine nut parcels with crispy sage and a champagne butter sauce.  I was actually expecting the parcels to be pastry, but it was actually pasta.  Surprisingly, Cheesecake Boy and Dumpling Sister thought this was quite bland, but I enjoyed the subtle sweetness of this dish and crispness of the sage.

Pumpkin, date and pine nut parcels with crispy sage and a champagne butter sauce, $12

The sides of Spunta potato batons with chilli salt had Cheesecake Boy's name all over it, so we had to order them as sides.  Cheesecake Boy is a bit of a junk food fanatic at times, especially during exam periods.  One of his favourite snacks would be Pizza Shapes, so I wasn't surprise that Cheesecake Boy loved these potato batons, as the seasoning actually tasted like light and tangy chips as opposed to chilli salt.  However, Dumpling Sister and I thought they were too generous with the seasoning, that  caused them to taste like light and tangy chips on steroids.

Spunta potato batons with chilli salt, $9

We were warned that the mains are to share and are actually one and a half servings, so we ended up with two mains.  Our sharing mains came and they were huge servings.  Our smoked kingfish and Pyengana pie with a Vermouth cream sauce served with mushy peas was came and it looked so hearty and picture perfect.  Cheesecake Boy loved the strong heady flavours of the smoked king fish and salty Pyengana cheddar.  Dumpling Sister and I really thought that the pie needed the sweet flaky pastry and mushy peas together to cut through the strong flavours of the smoked king fish and cheese. 

Smoked kingfish and Pyengana pie with a Vermouth cream sauce served with mushy peas, $32

I had been looking forward to the slow cooked pork shoulder with pan sauce, toffee pear, carrot puree and brussel sprouts.  However, the pork was slightly tough and dry.  The sweet pumpkin puree was a good contrast for the salty brussel sprouts and fried and crunchy pork rind.  I loved the toffee pear, but I still think this dish needed a sauce to bring all the elements together and just pan juices in this case was not enough.

Slow cooked pork shoulder with pan sauce, toffee pear, carrot puree and brussel sprouts, $32

The gingerbread crumble with quince and pear served with ginger ice cream came with a cute pouring vessel filled with creme anglaise. The crumble was only slightly gingerly, but the texture of the crumble with the stewed quince and pear was lovely.   The ginger ice cream was intense, it made me think of crystallised ginger and for me the ice cream overpowered the beautiful crumble.  However, if you love the strong intensity of ginger than you may very well love this dessert.

Gingerbread crumble with quince and pear served with ginger ice cream, $16

We had to order the chocolate pudding with chestnut mousse, an Armagnac snap and salted caramel sauce, as soon as Cheesecake Boy saw the words 'chocolate pudding'.  My flu ridden body was shutting down by this time and I only wanted my hot cup of tea, so it was up to Cheesecake Boy and Dumpling Sister to give their verdicts on this dessert.  They both assured me that I wasn't missing out, and I could tell on Cheesecake Boy's face that he was disappointed.  Cheesecake Boy claimed the pudding was moist, but the chocolate pudding wasn't very chocolaty.  Dumpling Sister also agreed  with Cheesecake Boy, and also thought that the snaps tasted slightly burnt.

Chocolate pudding with chestnut mousse, an Armagnac snap and salted caramel sauce, $16

I really wanted to love Orto Trading Co with all my heart.  However, as charmed as I was with the presentation, ambience and service, my taste buds and stomach weren't quite as enamoured.  I may not return for a full dinner any time soon, but that doesn't mean you won't find me at the bar for a drink or two with some scotch eggs.

Dining away, Dumpling Girl

Orto Trading Co
38 Waterloo Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010
Ph: 0431 212 453

Orto Trading Co on Urbanspoon


Mel said...

I like the look of the quirky decor & that scotch egg sounds tasty.

Nicole @ It's Feeding Time at the Zoo said...

Wow, the food looks amazing, too bad it doesn't taste as great. Hopefully this place will hit its stride.

Anonymous said...

aw the photos were looking good, shame the food wasn't as equally as yummy...

Buggles and Squeak said...

Great review....was looking forward to visiting, but now will keep expectations in check. Shame about the pork shoulder had a similar experience with a beef cheek at Pickwick's recently.

chocolatesuze said...

woah the gingerbread crumble sounds amazing!

Helen (Grab Your Fork) said...

Orto looks to be on the hot new spots at the moment. The potato batons look nibble-licious. A shame about the pork shoulder though.

Tina@foodboozeshoes said...

Looks like there;s still some refining to do. I'm looking forward to a full dinner there - love the size of the mains!

Dumpling Girl said...

Hello MissPiggy, the decor is great there, and it has a nice vibe too. We all loved the Scotch egg :)

Hi Nicole, I hope it's only a matter of finding it's feet too.

Hello minibites, it was a shame, as I had heard so many good things. They can be tweaked though.

Thank you Buggles and Squeak, I think my expectations were pretty high to begin with, so that may have been the issue :(

Hey Suze, it was definitely a unique dessert, have never seen a gingerbread crumble anywhere else.

Hello Helen, the place was definitely buzzing, I still have a lovely time. Lol, Cheesecake Boy loved the batons too. The pork was unfortunate, but it was only slightly.

Hi Tina, agreed, once they sort out the glitches, this place will be great. The mains were huge, we really didn't need dessert, but no meal is complete without it :)

spiderman said...

Hi Dumpling Girl,

Reading your post, i thought this place would be great to take my lady for her birthday this week. Yet your conclusion leaves me in doubt. The presentation, ambience and service (as you said) looks perfect without being too fancy like fine dining. Have you been to Cafe Ish ?

Jen said...

The ambience looks great and the ravioli looks delish. Good on you for having a cocktail when you're sick! Lol! Your sis is a good sport too, blue bottle bites are the worst!!

Dumpling Girl said...

Hi Spiderman, I have only been to Cafe Ish for breakfast, so cannot comment on dinner but other bloggers have so you can check them out.

Most people loved Orto Trading Co completely, I am more the exception than the rule.

Have you considered Ms.G's or District Dining?

You can always email me if you have specific concerns.

Good luck :)

Hello Jen, lol the weekend didn't treat me very well after that cocktail, but you only live once. Atmosphere is fantastic there. Yes my sister is great that way :)

Dolly said...

ohhh god Scotch egg with house-made pork sausage

i def. want to try this. Ive seen it in a few blogs.. for the love of egg porn.. the chips also look delicious!!!

Dumpling Girl said...

Hello Dolly, the Scotch egg was our favourite. It's a must try if you're going there.

spiderman said...

Thanks Dumpling Girl.

Have you been to "Taste of Shanghai" that is situated in the bottom of World Square in the CBD, but also has branches in Eastwood and Ashfield ? I frequent their Eastwood branch (nearly every week ahaha) and their pan-fried pork buns are sooo delish. I ate a whole plate (8 of them) last week. The xiao long bao in Eastwood though are a bit hit and miss...not sure about the city branch. Other bloggers have written about it !

Dumpling Girl said...

Hi Spiderman,

Lol was just thinking of ducking over to the Eastwood branch for dinner, I blogged it in February, I tired not to reblog restaurants.

If you read my post on it, it's my fave too the pan fried buns :) I also lunch at the World Square branch, but have never blogged it, may be next time.

Hope the special birthday is all sorted.

gastronomous anonymous said...

oh i really enjoyed my meal at orto! the scotch egg, the pork shoulder and not to mention the rhubarb crumble!!!! definitely keen to go back thats for sure :)

Dumpling Girl said...

Hi gastronomous anonymous,

Unfortunately, they had already replaced the rhubarb crumble when we were there last Friday, would have loved to try it.

spiderman said...

so i have no idea what a rhubarb crumble tastes like (in reference to the above comment), but cafe ish has this winter dessert right now of apple..something...oh i totally forgot. oh wait. apple and rosella [something baked] with wattleseed and macadamia ice cream and vanilla custard. it was verrrrrrrrrrry good and my gf loved it. so much in fact she made me eat the 3/4 of the other dessert and had 3/4 of that one by herself (we were meant to share....haahha)

guess i need to brush up on dessert names!!

chopinandmysaucepan said...

Wooden boards seem to be the in choice to present food at the moment eg District Dining. Not sure if Orto is up my alley either.

Dumpling Girl said...

Hello Spiderman, glad you had a great time at Cafe Ish. The desserts sound delicious. I guess she's the B'day Girl, so she gets to call the shots :) Glad you both had a lovely time.

Hi chopinand, they served up just like District Dining you are right, but I prefer District Dining in taste too.