Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Shortgrain, Surry Hills

It was another lunch catch up with Sushi Girl.  I had been wanting to go to Shortgrain for ages, and she's definitely my lunch exploring buddy, always willing to try something different.  Unfortunately, Cheesecake Boy works too far away to join us, so he was a bit sore about missing out, as we are both very fond of Longrain, and Shortgrain the lunch canteen is only open Monday to Friday until 3pm.  Anyway, Sushi Girl thought we were going the wrong way, but before we knew it, we turned a corner and there was Shortgrain just opposite the Hollywood Hotel and literally just around the corner from Longrain.

We were the first to arrive, and Martin Boetz in the flesh was actually at the counter and said 'hi', I tell you of all the times to be shy.  However, do not get me wrong, I really am shy by nature.  Oh well, moments come and go and it's back to the food.  The chalk board daily menu had Sushi Girl and I really contemplating and before you knew it, we proceeded to place our orders at the counter and chose a table.

Sushi Girl and I were in a sharing mood, so we chose two mains to share.  The food came out in a jiffy, one moment we found a spot and were pouring water for each other, and then our food arrived.  Our first dish was crispy pork belly with shitake mushroom and Chinese broccoli.  Now I know this dish should be about the crispy pork belly, that wasn't that crispy, but it's similar in  taste and texture to the BBQ roast pork you find at Chinese BBQ shops.  However, I really thought this dish was all about the shitake mushroom broth-like sauce.  The broth was sweet, and the depth of flavours with the shitake, subtle ginger and herbs in this broth really sang to me.  I even wanted more rice just to soak up all that glorious broth.  Nicely cooked and crisp Chinese broccoli and plump slices of shitake mushrooms is always a good thing too.  This dish was really the opposite of what I was expecting, instead of being quite heavy due to the pork belly,  the other elements really lighten up this bowl of liquid mushroom goodness.

Crispy pork belly with shitake mushroom and Chinese broccoli, $18

Our second choice was the southern curry of lamb, which was reminiscent of a massaman curry without the potatoes.  The lamb was so tender and succulent in this rich and fragrant curry.  I also loved the addition of the acidic pineapple pieces that really freshen up this dish.  This is the type of dish, where you want to huddle up in some blankets next to the heater, and look out the window with your bowl in one hand and your spoon in another.  Perfect winter comfort food in my books. 

Southern curry of lamb, $16

Sushi Girl and I were really taking our time, and we noticed that people were being turned away, so we decided to eat up.  The service at Shortgrain really was impeccable, we were never made to feel that we had to hurry up, and the staff do check on you, even if it's meant to be a canteen.

I'm glad that I have another great lunch option near my office.  However, I can't come here too often.  Otherwise, Cheesecake Boy will get jealous.  Seriously though, make sure you get here early, or you may very well miss out, and if your a bit fussy with your food they upload the daily menu online every day, so you don't have to make the trip for nothing.  Although, the dishes may be on the pricier side for lunch, the quality of the food is superb and the lovely staff makes it tempting to go back, time and again.

Munching away, Dumpling Girl.

8-10 Hunt Street 
Surry Hills NSW 2010

Shortgrain Canteen & Shop on Urbanspoon


Jen said...

You're so lucky you work in the city, you can pop in whenever you want! Wish they were open on weekends too.

Anonymous said...

mm looks delicious! will have to check it out the next time i'm in surry hills!

chocolatesuze said...

the crispy pork belly looks incredible! i had the massaman curry last time and man I have to go back soon cos this post has got me thinking about it all over again!

joey@forkingaroundsydney said...

Looks quite good although a tad pricey, but I love Longrain so must try here.

Tina@foodboozeshoes said...

Crispy pork belly not about the crispy pork belly...? :( Don't think I'll ever get to dine at Shortgrain, unfortunately...

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

It's a great little place isn't it (when you can get a space! ;) )

Lucy @ Lucyeats said...

Oh I'm so jealous of you Australians and your awesome food. Can't wait to visit! The crispy pork belly looks lovely

Keely aka The Richest Girl in Bondi said...

There is something special about a midweek lunch escape! Sounds like a great place.

Dumpling Girl said...

Hey Jen, lol if I popped in everyday, Cheesecake Boy wouldn't be too impressed. I'll be good and only try to duck in once a week :)

Hi excusemewaiter, the food was really nice, definitely give this place a try.

Hello Suze, yeah the curry is lovely, but I saw the crispy chicken with green curry sauce on the menu the day after and now I really want to try that, lol.

Hey Joey, if you love Longrain then this place is a cosier version :)

Hello Tina, strange but true, I found that the broth outshone the pork belly. Perhaps one day when you have leave??? That's Cheesecake Boy's only shot too.

Hi Lorraine, it's a cosy space for sure :D

Hi Lucy, the food is really good. You have lovely food in NZ too. Hoping to visit down there soon :)

Hello Keely, definitely a perfect escape from the office.

chopinandmysaucepan said...

I think I would still prefer my crispy pork belly chinese style rather than being dunked into soup, even though the broth is delicious!

Sometimes, you just can't put two beautiful things or people together or they will argue and fight :)

Dumpling Girl said...

Hi chopinand, it's nice to try combinations that you wouldn't normally try together sometimes :)

sugarpuffi said...

ohh that curry of lamb looks delish! lucky u work near surry hills!

Dumpling Girl said...

Hey Sugarpuffi, it was so good. It's good and bad to work close all at the same time :)

john@heneedsfood said...

I had the crispy pork belly there recently and really loved it, even the broth was wonderful!

Dumpling Girl said...

Hello John, it really is a lovely dish, I just adored that broth too.