30 June 13
We are about to have lunch with Mario’s uncle/cousin. We see him quite regularly and it’s still unclear exactly how Mario and him are related. When we told him about the fetus, I wasn’t sure whether he would be an uncle or a cousin to it. He declared that he wanted to be the Fairy Godfather.
The Fairy Godfather and I seem to have the opposite taste in foods. All of those things that I don’t eat in the right hand column, are things that he loves. And because I subjected him to my cooking a month or so ago, I feel that it’s only fair that he chooses the restaurant.
So here we are on Watts on Crown, a spot I must have driven past a lot, before we moved to the ‘burbs and back in the day when we used to leave our flat on weeknights. I know. It’s only going to get worse in November when the baby arrives.
Watts on Crown is marked by a bright red door. Inside, everything is monochrome. A black and white wallpaper that looks like mosaic is both behind and in front of the bar and works nicely with the wooden bar stools. The floor is checkered. Behind us is a white wall, with white sculptures of heads that have a variety of facial expressions. I should be taking interior decoration tips from here.
Unfortunately the menu is not quite right for me. There’s nothing wrong with it but it has items like confit of duck leg and kangaroo shank, which is much heavier than the type of food I like to eat for lunch. Also we have burgers and fried chicken to eat tonight so I need to pace myself. Meanwhile, the Fairy Godfather is in his element.
Surprisingly, the Fairy Godfather and I choose the same dish and go for the Roast pumpkin and goats cheese ravioli with heirloom carrots, almonds, crisp sage and Parmesan ($23). Mario selects the Sunday Roast, which is a roast leg of lamb served with apricot stuffing, roast potatoes, beans and Yorkshire pudding ($25) [the price is from the website, but Mario swears it was $28].
Food takes awhile to arrive, but then it has to get cooked I suppose, and no one’s in a rush. I reverse the natural order of life, by ordering a coffee before the meal. The coffee is Giancarlo and I can’t judge coffee because I drink decaf but it tastes lovely.
The ravioli looks beautiful when it makes its way to our table. The Fairy Godfather tells me to take a photo of his because it’s prettier, which is true. The dish is nice. I do have a fondness for butter and sage. The carrot is neither here nor there, as it’s quite similar in flavour to the pumpkin. The pasta tastes home made and is cooked perfectly. I guess this dish doesn’t really surprise me, but then again who needs surprises on a rainy day.
Mario’s roast is fantastic. The cut of lamb isn’t under or overcooked and I’m a particular fan of the apricot stuffing (after post-eating research I realise that this is a specialty). I have virtually zero experience with Yorkshire pudding. Every time I had it in the UK it was served to accompany my hangover. This one tastes like the result of unprotected sex between a croissant and a brioche, which is a glorious union as far as I’m concerned. The beans are beans and don’t impress or disappoint.
The roast potatoes arrive separately with mint sauce. They are cooked well. The problem is that it says on the menu that they are cooked in duck fat, and I guess the duck fat part of the equation raised my expectations to a point where they were never going to be met.
In my head, I had planned a light meal, but with a dessert menu in front of me my plans had evaporated. The Fairy Godfather read a good review of the chocolate fondant with vanilla bean ice cream and nut caramel ($12) and I (or technically Mario and I) get the poached pear with meringue, macadamia nuts, caramel sauce and whipped cream ($12).
I had always thought chocolate fondant would be too rich, but with my new pregnancy tastebuds, there’s no such thing! The chocolate oozes out as it should and it’s not too sweet.
Our shared dessert is very wintery. The pear is poached in cinnamon and I believe I can taste star anise as well. The pear sits on an island of meringue and if you are coordinated enough to slice the two into one mouthful the contrast in textures is worth it. The caramel sauce is more watery than I expected but it still has a nice flavour to it.
I leave looking more pregnant than usual and am disappointed that we came here for lunch rather than dinner or breakfast (the breakfast menu looks amazing). On the plus side, the Fairy Godfather looks like he has found a new haunt, for any time of day.
Watts On Crown
368 Crown St
Surry Hills, 2010
(02) 8068 0461