Back in 2010 when Bloodwood first opened, Newtown was full of Thai restaurants on every corner. Not that it was a bad thing. It does have a lot of charm especially for the locals. A few years later, Newtown has changed rapidly with at least 4 frozen yoghurt franchises opening within 6 months, loads of Mexican restaurants, many shops I've seen from back in my uni days closing down, and a diverse range of new restaurants opening around Newtown. Plus Enmore has looked much busier and more vibrant now than it was 5 years ago. But that's for another day.
Located on the quieter side of King Street at Newtown, the restaurant has a vibrant and noisy atmosphere which gets packed even on weekdays. You often need to wait to get a table since they don't do bookings for groups of less than 8 people. The interior decor of the restaurant has a dark, industrial vibe with light bulbs hanging on strings and even some recycled doors hanging aimlessly from the ceiling. Even the Bloodwood sign was from a recycled door (how did I not notice this?)! We found space in the bar area at the front and ended up eating there while everyone else just used it to wait for the available tables upstairs or in the outdoor courtyard. Unfortunately due to the dim lighting, the photos turned out really dark which was too annoying for us. So sorry about the photos!
In Bloodwood's early days, I used to go here regularly especially for their polenta chips. I think it was because of these chunky polenta chips that you now see it on numerous restaurant/bar/pub menus since then. Seriously, back then it was sooo hard to find this dish on any restaurant menu and now it's everywhere! Of course there's a reason why Bloodwood's polenta chips are the best. They are crispy on the outside but the inside was incredibly soft, fluffy and luscious like marshmallows! it's also not too salty and we detected a hint of parmesan cheese in the polenta chips. It was so good though it also gets you full pretty quickly. I have also noticed that lots of restaurants serve polenta chips with gorgonzola sauce. Not sure why though. I don't mind using it as a dip but it does have a strong, creamy, cheesy taste which stays in your mouth for a while.
Polenta chips with gorgonzola sauce ($9.00)
If there is anything that could sum up Bloodwood's vision, this dish would be one of them. I'd challenge you to find another dish like this elsewhere (but if you do, please let me know :D). It was colourful, well-cooked and made from a combination of seasonal ingredients that you wouldn't expect to work well together. I absolutely loved the incredibly crumbled and crunchy coating of the lamb nuggets which is combined with pistachio nuts so you can detect a nutty taste from the coating. Combining that with the braised, soft lamb inside the coating and you get a winning dish that is perfect for a winter night. I even liked the garnish of sliced radishes on top of the nuggets. I do wish there was more jus on the plate so I can mop it up with the lamb nuggets.
Braised lamb nuggets, pistachio crumbs, jalapeno, green olive and pickled chilli ($17.00)
More food porn!
Be careful with these little feisty ones. They will blow up your taste buds. I'm serious.
I was intrigued by the words 'confit pork belly' when deciding on what other dish to get. The front staff said that it basically a salad. Since we were looking for something a bit more healthy, we went along with this dish. I enjoyed this dish as it was fresh and full of good veggies which takes away the oil and starch flavours. Personally, I thought that the confit pork bely looks and tastes more like pancetta or bacon but this was definitely not a bad thing at all. Yum. It was fairly spicy from the roasted chilli and CC couldn't handle it after a few bites.
Confit pork belly chips, cucumber, pearl onion, watercress, roast chilli ($21.00)
When I saw this dish, the first thing I thought was hearty, comfort food. Perfect for a cold winter night. The size of this meal was substantial compared to the other dishes on the menu but it was enough for us to share. CC adored this dish so much because the tender, easy to fall apart meat, juicy beetroot and the butter beans took away the spiciness from the last dish. We actually thought the beef reminded us of the Vietnamese beef stew that we were used to having at home all the time (bo kho anyone?). While it may look a bit more plain compared to Bloodwood's other dishes, the taste does matter. Though it was rich from the size of the beef brisket and the overall amount of oil and butter in the dish.
Coorong Angus beef brisket, beetroot, butter beans ($30.00)
We weren't sure on whether to get dessert after all that food but then we asked to see the dessert menu and we knew we had to get something. And after trying this, we were so glad that we got dessert. I'm a big fan of tarts and cakes with a crunchy, biscuit base so this has got the thumbs up for me. Again it was a rich dish from the amount of chocolate but the caramel, peanuts and the banana mousse helped in balancing the flavours of this dish
Chocolate, caramel, peanut torte with banana mousse ($14.00)
The trifle. Oh yes the Bloodwood trifle. You have retro images of the trifle in your head and wonder how this will taste especially with all the ingredients. It looked amazingly neat when it was presented in a wine glass to us. I didn't expect to enjoy this dessert but I really did. It was light, sweet, creamy, fruity and quite chunky like a cold porridge only tastier and combined with the incredibly smooth yoghurt mascarpone. I have noticed that they regularly change the fruit for the trifle based on seasonal availability (this time it was grapes). I especially enjoyed eating the cake bits in the trifle and can even taste the alcohol from the champagne anglaise and the port wine jelly.
Bloodwood trifle - grapes, pound cake, port wine jelly, champagne anglaise, yoghurt marscarpone ($14.00)
Since the atmosphere was extremely noisy and busy, the service was not as attentive as we would have liked though they were friendly. Despite that, we had a really enjoyable experience and very willing to come back since the menu changes regularly based on seasonal produce. As the food is inspired by the combination of European, Asian and even Modern Australian cuisine, it really goes beyond the usual palates with unusual combinations of various ingredients that you may not see at any other restaurants in Sydney. This is no surprise since the chefs used to work at Claude's, another restaurant renowned for its fusion of European (French) and Asian cuisine. They are also made to share so bring your mates along to try as many dishes as possible.
416 King Street,Newtown NSW 2042
(02) 9557 7699
(02) 9557 7699