Friday, February 17, 2012
Blackbird Cafe, Darling Harbour
It's Friday night and a friend of mine held her birthday dinner at The Blackbird Cafe at Cockle Bay Wharf in Darling Harbour. It was not a huge surprise since it was close to where we were planning to club later that night but looking at reviews, it has not been exactly positive. Not to mention, my previous visit years ago was not up to scratch. However, a lot has changed in a few years. The restaurant has been redesigned with more garden-esque decorations. It even has a DJ at the corner with a booth similar to a nightclub with some space to dance.
Before we ordered, the staff had a prize draw where the winner gets a free pair of sunnies. Since there were not many people at the time the draw finishes, my friends and I had a very good chance. Eventually I needed to use the restroom which coincided with the announcement of the winner. When I got out, my friends said that I won the prize! Since it was my friend's bday, I gave it to her as a pressie. If only winning prizes was this easy.
The menu ranged from Italian food such as pasta and pizza to burgers and seafood. Basically a bit of everything. We all agreed to order some entrees based on the staff advice and that several of our friends will be arriving late.
Several of us ordered the szechuan pepper squid with rocket and aioli sauce. I had a bite and thought it was average. Good as a shared dish.
Most of us had the bruschettas as entrees. What we did not expect was how big they really were - for an entree dish. Couple of us tried tomato and feta bruschetta while I tried the sand crab variant with cherry tomatoes, wild rocket, baby capers, bean puree and balsamic glaze. I found this to be alright and especially enjoyed the crab meat. It was a bit too filling but I held it for the main dish.
A couple of us also ordered scallops with haloumi, poached pear and fig jam. I did not end up trying it but my friend said he enjoyed it. The presentation made the dish looked very tempting to try if I was not already full from the bruschetta and still waiting for the main meal.
Finally the main meal came. Several friends ordered pizza while a few friends near my end and myself tried the baked lamb meatball tagine which is a Moroccan style dish. This was my favourite dish of the night with its flavours throughout the dish and its spices. Served with olives, capsicum, lemon, spicy tomato sauce and cous cous; this dish has a variety of tastes and textures which will be an interesting sensation for your tastebuds.
With friendly staff, good social atmosphere and a dj who plays at the restaurant every Friday and Saturday nights, I will be honest to say that I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it especially based on reviews and past experience. If they keep up with the standard that they performed on this night, I wouldn't mind coming back again. Although it is a tough competition with Hurricanes, Criniti's, Meat and Wine Co and the Braza Churrascaria place opened at the new Darling Quarter to keep the tourist crowds and clubbing people happy.
Balcony Level, Cockle Bay Wharf, Darling Harbour
Harbour Street, Sydney
Contact no: (02) 9283 7385