Sydney Fine Dining Review
Clareville Kiosk Reviewed
With a big focus on sustainability and seasonality and many ingredients grown locally if not on site, and a strong passion for good food, husband and wife team Michelle and Peter Christensen have a hit with Clareville Kiosk.
Telephone: (02)9918 2727
Hours: Lunch Fri-Sun, 12-2.30pm
Dinner Wed-Sun, 6-10:30pm
Address: 27 Delecta Avenue
Clareville Beach NSW 2107, Australia
It's hard to find an owner operated restaurant these days. From the juggernaut of Merivale to the booze magnates The Keystone Group - the corporates have a tight grip on the dining scene here in Sydney. So what happened to the little family run restaurants that used to dot the landscape, have they vanished, swallowed up into the abyss of big business and flashy celebrity chef eateries? I'm happy to report that they are still here and very much worthy of your attention. A perfect example of this is Clareville Kiosk, tucked away in a quiet corner of the peninsula; this is a humble restaurant with a big heart and even bigger flavour!
Occupying Clareville's Old General Store & Post Office
Occupying what used to be a general store and post office, Clareville Kiosk is a charming contrast to the modern mansions surrounding it. Recently refurbished in the style of a beach house it's a suitable theme given its proximity to the gentle waves of Pittwater. October last year saw the reigns of the restaurant handed over to husband and wife team Michelle and Peter Christensen.
Revamped Menu, Renovated Dining Room = Australian Good Food Guide Chef's Hat
Along with a revamped menu and renovated dining room came a coveted chef's hat from the Australian Good Food Guide. While the term kiosk may bring to mind images of simple beachside take away, I assure you the food is as glorious and satisfying as anything Matt Preston would drool over.
As you meander up the path to the entrance take note of the garden, with exception to the frangipani tree just about everything is edible! A fine array of herbs decorate the outside of the building, which will eventually decorate your plate - points for freshness. Inside is a simplistic and elegant fit out, a crisp blue and white beach chic with great artworks decorating the walls. The timber floors give a homey feel; everything seems relaxed without being too informal.
The menu focuses on seasonality with plenty of seafood options in keeping with the beachside style. You can opt for a well-priced degustation or go al a carte.
The oysters are fresh and tasty served natural or poached with champagne cream and avruga caviar, both are great choices and a great accompaniment to the excellent Blanc de Blanc house champagne.
Tempura Tiger Prawn
The tempura tiger prawn impresses also with its light crispy batter and chilli relish which packs a punch! Even the homemade bread and truffle butter is great, the freshness of the food here is blatantly clear from beginning to end.
Duck & Chorizo Stuffed Baby Squid
Moving along to the entrees and seafood is again the focus with some fantastic dishes. The duck and chorizo stuffed baby squid is a generous portion with a great combination of flavours including eggplant crisps and soused peppers. Another stand out is the citrus butter confit salmon with wakame seaweed emulsion and oyster beignet.
The entire dish just melts in your mouth with the oyster beignet and wakame emulsion packing in tonnes of flavour!
Great Mains in Clareville
Sous Vide Steak
For mains we gave the sea creatures a break and headed for the land mammals with the sous vide beef fillet and the pork tasting. If you haven't had the pleasure of eating a sous vide steak then this is a great dish to try, I doubt you'll find a more tender, more juicy piece of meat than this but I implore you, please PLEASE order it medium rare!
None of this well done nonsense and if seeing blood is a concern the sous vide technique reduces this dramatically as all the juices are preserved in the meat, everybody wins hooray! Anyway I can preach preparations another time, lets talk about the beef dish, a parsnip puree along with gently burnt onions accompany the beef and a red wine sauce ties it all together. All in all it’s a pretty damn good steak, satisfying as hell especially when washed down with the 2009 Langmeil Cab Sav.
The pork tasting is no slouch either and this dish emphatically shows us just how versatile this meat can be. On the plate you'll get cheek, loin and the ever popular belly as well as black pudding. The meat is spectacular and the calvados sauce capitalises on that perfect match of apple and pork.
Like a deconstructed Sunday roast with Brussels sprouts and pumpkin puree this dish is very satisfying and almost educational in the various ways one can serve pork. The black pudding is also worthy of a mention, something that is not very common but it is damn tasty when done right, there's only two places I've eaten it and loved it and this is one of them!
So as I peruse the dessert menu in disbelief that I could even consume another course of food I decide to take in the ambience here. It's very simple and elegant, fairy lights gently illuminate the frangipani outside the window and the artwork on the walls is vivid and impressive. The noise is enough to give the restaurant energy and vibrancy but thanks to the wooden floors, noise is certainly not an issue. I can only imagine the atmosphere gets even better during the day when the sun streams through the large windows and a stroll along the beach offers diners a chance to work off that dessert.
Great Desserts at Clareville Kiosk
Speaking of dessert there are plenty of fine options to complete your meal, the orange blossom crème brulee is fantastic with a citrus salad adding plenty of acidity to cut through the sweetness, very good. The star of the show has to be the hot chocolate fondant, rich, creamy, oozy and well presented - it's a chocolate lovers wet dream and with the rum and raisin ice cream I think you have all the excuses you need to lick the plate clean!
You are not going to leave Clareville Kiosk hungry which is more than I can say for some other fine dining establishments. The portions are generous without being excessive.
The wine list is great with some surprising reds and a ridiculously good house champagne. There's a big focus on sustainability and seasonality here with many ingredients being grown locally if not on site. There's a strong passion for good food driving this restaurant and it's of no surprise that they have earned a chef hat in their first year of operation.
More than just being a solid restaurant Clareville Kiosk is special and what makes it special is the connection between those preparing the food and you, the person eating the food.
The passion for good food and good wine is conveyed in a very personal way, it's something that can only happen in small family run restaurant like this one. This is something lost in the majority of restaurants today and is what makes Clareville Kiosk so unique. You'll never feel out of place here, it's just a celebration of food and hospitality in the most intimate and charming of settings.
Come for the food, come for the wine but you really should come because it's places like this which make Sydney one of the best places in the world to eat.
The Good – Charming, intimate and excellent food.
The Bad – Not a lot of options for vegos and non-seafood eaters.