Sunday, January 5, 2014

CHISWICK


This holiday season, we were supposed to drive down to South Australia/Victoria (with the dogs in tow) to spend some time with my family. While we were cruising down the Hume Highway, I realised my straightener might have been left on back home. One of the dogs was seriously dehydrating from anxious dribbling in the back seat and, because I can't sit properly, my hips were aching from having my legs curled at my side. I made the difficult last minute decision to cancel the trip. My family had a party at home - my brother and his wife cooked authentic Mexican fare, my other sister in law was in charge of treats and my little sis took on the task of making cocktails. The only family members missing were us. I'm sure everyone had a good time without us though! With New Year's Eve wide open, we figured we would try and get one of the last sittings in a restaurant before making our way to the water to watch the fireworks display. I had never been to Matt Moran's restaurant Chiswick before and have had it on my list of Restaurants To Visit for some time. Lucky for us, we managed to score a seat! I donned my New Years Eve outfit (my very first full-length playsuit) and off we went...


Chiswick is set within the beautiful Chiswick Gardens which, at night, feels almost magical. Lamp posts dotted around the gardens cast a warm glow; the sound of a fountain cascading provides an audible tranquility. We walked through a rustic courtyard to access the restaurant and, on a balmy summer's evening, there would be no lovelier place to be. I made a note to self: turn up earlier and sit there for aperitif or digestif time! Inside the restaurant, open windows let in the summer night air outside. We both agreed that this was a dreamy sort of place and James hit the nail on the head when he said "it looks like something out of that film 'It's Complicated'" (if you haven't seen the film, do: the set design is incredible). We were led to our table to get acquainted with the seasonal menu. Some of the produce is grown in the restaurant's own herb garden outside and the lamb comes from Moran's own family farm - "eating local" rings true here. I sipped on a racily-named cocktail and nibbled on the most delectable prawn "popcorn" that came served with an iceberg wedge and a creamy jalapeno sauce. If I wasn't paranoid about my Christmas weight gain, I'd have gone for seconds - those things were frankly superb! For mains, James chose the Linguine with hand dived clams and I opted for the chargrilled, grain-fed beef with roasted peppers and chimmichurri. We couldn't decide on just one dessert each, so we ordered a few: raspberry and creme fraiche cannoli, hazelnut roche and a delightfully summery mango passionfruit pavlova.


After our groaningly good meal, we picked up the big camera and trudged along to Rushcutter's Bay to get an uninterrupted view of the Harbour Bridge and what would be the most sensational fireworks display each of us had ever seen. Unfortunately, I had forgotten to put my memory card into the slot so you'll just have to trust me when I say that what was already a perfect New Year's Eve became even more so. I hope you all had a similarly unforgettable one!

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