Oh Surry Hills! You really love to engage us with more and more restaurants from a wide spectrum of cultures than in most suburbs across Sydney. Orto Trading Co is no exception. What differs itself is while the menu is inspired from classic English dishes, they do a fresh, Mod Oz twist to it. They even have a nice veggie garden and a pretty layout of empty bottles hanging from the ceiling to illustrate this. Coincidentally, the name Orto is Italian for 'vegetable garden'. Well you learn something new everyday!
Having been set on what I wanted to get, I asked the waitress if I could have the smoked ocean trout wellington. Unfortunately on that day it was unavailable! Don't you hate it when that happens? So I opted for the spatchcock baked in salt and hay as the main meal instead after seeing similar recipes in various cooking shows. Their plates are designed to share - for a reason. The serving sizes were massive!
Restaurants usually serve you with bread and either butter or olive oil. Orto takes it up a notch and provides you a complementary serving of truffled popcorn. Oh yes. I wish this was available on the menu with a larger serving because I cannot get enough of it! You get the truffle oil hitting your tastebuds as you gobble the pieces of popcorn. While it does have a bit of the usual crunch, the truffle oil delivers a slightly creamy taste. There were 3 of those small buckets containing the popcorn. Unfortunately, the waitress gave me the bucket with the least amount! I tried to slow down and take by timw with taking these bites but I couldn't stop. Imagine my sadness when it's all gone.
This was probably the most interesting dish I have tasted at Orto. Having never tried witlof before, I thought this was salad when it was presented on the dish as a boat. I think today was my bad luck with out of stock ingredients because smoked eel was unavailable so they went with prawn instead. The witlof was a bit too bitter for my liking but I enjoyed the crispy pork and the prawns. Too bad there wasn't enough crispy pork cheek as that was the best part of the dish.
What's more English than a Scotch egg? After hearing raves about this dish, I knew I've got to try it. I've seen various bloggers describing its soft, oozy, runny yolk. Mine was sadly overcooked. No soft ooziness here my friend. Luckily I enjoy anything with breadcrumbs and the crispy outer coating made with breadcrumbs and pork sausage was a winner. The pear piccallili had a nice curried flavour which delivers a nice punch to the meal. I did notice another group ordering the same dish and their scotch egg had a runny yolk. Oh well.
I've had the spatchcock before but never had any dish baked in a salt crust. The flavour from the salt crust remained on the meat to give out a different texture to how it was usually baked. It was cooked with tender juiciness inside the meat. The salad was a yummy yet fresh addition to balance out the flavours. By this time I was wondering why the waitstaff have not refilled my glass of water that I have finished during my first plate. They finally refilled the glass when I asked for my bill.
Orto is a place full of surprises from one end to another. The meals were packed with flavour not to mention fresh and friendly to the health conscious. Some of those dishes are ones that I would love to try if I ever decide to go on a diet. However on the date I went, there were a few minor disappointments (no runny yolk, not getting any water refills until the very end) but I guess you can have a few off days. I definitely will come back again to try many of the other dishes with a larger group of friends sometime this season.
Orto Trading Co
38 Waterloo Street, Surry Hills
Contact no: 0431 212 453
Contact no: 0431 212 453