Firstly, Stephen and I are going to be jointly writing this post as we both enjoyed dining here so much. Stephen's words will be italicised.
Secondly, HAPPY 4TH ANNIVERSARY TO STEPHEN, MY SWEETNESS. It feels like only yesterday we were working together at KFC, while you were cracking on to me like a sleezy boss. I'm glad I didn't file a sexual harrasment claim. <3
We weren't really planning on blogging this restaurant. Stephen normally doesn't like me to whip out the camera on our anniversary, preferring instead to spend some actual quality time together without people staring at us like we'd just sprouted a second head. But then I saw the place, and I pulled out the camera I had stashed away just in case, siting the fact that it wasn't REALLY our anniversary (we were celebrating early) and so I could take all the photos I wanted.
Courtney's Brasserie has been operating for 27 years in this historic cottage, but for the last two years its focus has been on organic, sustainable produce, and almost every ingredient is bought directly from farmers within a 200km radius of the restaurant. This place is definitely low profile, and the only way I'd even heard about it was when Miss Piggy suggested it on Twitter.
The restaurant is off Church St, which is probably why a lot of people don't know about it, hiding about 10 minutes down Phillip St.
The decor in this restaurant was very traditional, in keeping with the outside of the cottage, but the neutral tones and clean lines gave it a modern edge. We were welcomed in by our host, who was lovely and friendly, and given menus.
Our host told us that the menu changes daily depending on what ingredients they're able to procure, and pointed out a chalkboard that wrapped around the back walls of the room. They depicted the journey that the food we were eating that night had taken.
Tomato Prosciutto & Basil Bruschetta - $3.90 (Per Portion)
This bruschetta was unlike any other I've had before. There was the usual, a lightly toasted slice of bread topped with tomato, basil, spanish onion and balsamic vinegar, but the slices of prusciutto added a new dimension to the simple dish.
We were pleasantly surprised with a complimetary taste of the Goat's Cheese & Beetroot Tart that had been sent out by the chef. The beetroot was roasted in balsamic vinegar, giving it a deliciously caramelised flavour and just a hint of tartness. The goat's cheese was ridiculously smooth and creamy, and the honeyed hazelnuts went beautifully. Also special mention for the casing, it was light and crisp and suited the dish perfectly.
The gnocchi were amazingly smooth and light, not offering the knife any resistance as they were cut in half. The combination of the gnocchi, parmesan cheese and sage nut butter was divine. As for the the sausage, I did not know what to expect. I've never ordered a sausage from a restuarant before (besides the odd German). The casing enclosed succulant ground chicken that was perfectly seasoned.
I was tossing up between a few entrees, when Stephen pointed out that I might as well have the rabbit, since he'd never let me bring that meat into our house (bad experiences, poor lad). I've never had rabbit in this manner before, normally my dad would trap one and then roast it whole. The rib was so tiny, it was amazing, but the morsel of rabbit meat on the end was big on flavour. The loin was wrapped in salty prosciutto and cooked with the sous vide method, so it was deliciously falling apart, and the roasted ballotine leg didn't let me down either.
I'll start off with saying that my deepest regret of the night was ordering the steak medium. In saying that, it was still extraordinarily tender, and cooked perfectly to the request - if only I had chosen medium-rare. The lentils and pea puree added a wonderful contrast and accompanied the steak well. I'm not particularly a fan of mushrooms (a long childhood nightmare that's not appropriate to be discussed whilst food is the topic), however, I was eating these unaccompanied with no problem, they were excellent. The combination of all aspects, meat, lentils, mushrooms, pea puree and jus, resulted in a mouth explosion of texture and tantalising flavour (and I'm now salivating).
I NEVER order pork belly at a restaurant, simply because I'm more attracted to other dishes on the menu, but this time I decided to go for it. The tender, almost-pink slices of pork were nestled on a bed of just crunchy cabbage, and the potato was pureed to perfection. The caramelised apple lent a sweet angle to this dish, and the crackling was a pleasure to eat - they could hear me from the other side of the restaurant.
The host brought out a dessert list; we were incredibly full, so we decided to share this parfait. The chef kindly portioned the dish for the two of us. The macaroons had a hard and crunchy shell with a slightly chewy interior and coupled with some parfait went down well. The parfait alone was firm, yet creamy and the taste of chocolate and hazelnut was well balanced. The glass tuille was brittle and sweet and added contrast and texture to the dish.
It was such a shame that only 3 couples came in that night for dinner (it was a Tuesday) - this place should definitely be more well known, because the food is the best in Parramatta in our humble opinions, and they deserve much more recognition than they receive right now. Stephen was hoping that we could hold our reception here (yes, the wedding plans have started), but alas, they're courtyard was too small. We left full, happy, and feeling very welcome to come back. It's exactly the right kind of dining experience for our anniversary dinner.
I also thought I should add after a short discussion with the host on the way out, the chef is able to cater for food requirements (i.e. Gluten intolerance) with sufficient notice, I'll definitely be bringing some of my research colleagues here.
70 Phillip St
Phone: 9635 3288