Monday, July 22, 2013

Rainford Street Social, Surry Hills [CLOSED]

Thanks to Jessie from Cav Con, I was invited to the Rainford Street Social's Winter Menu Tasting event launch. It was a very interesting night since it was also the second State of Origin as well as the night of the Labor leadership spill when Kevin Rudd replaces Julia Gillard to become PM...again. But that's for another day! 

I've first heard about Rainford Street Social from reading about it in sites like Time Out and Concrete Playground and similar sites like that. It is known for its bistro vibe with a Modern-Australian menu and a focus on sharing and local grown produce. Personally, I remember it used to be the well-known and much loved Bird Cow Fish (RIP) where I often visited when I volunteered in the area (their burnt butter gnocchi was the bomb!). What I didn't know is that this restaurant is owned by the same team as Toko Restaurant, which is located just a few blocks away. When entering inside the restaurant, we were greeted with friendly and helpful service and a heart-warming vibe from the spacious, wooden decor.

While we were given a tasting menu, there were different dishes that popped up to our surprise. I found out later that the dishes that were listed on the tasting menu were the ones that will be available on Rainford Street Social's Winter menu. I'm guessing that the non-listed dishes were favourites from previous seasonal menus.

We were treated with meatball sliders to start the night. I intially thought that they were the 'Rainford Meatballs' from the menu that we were given but then that entree showed up as well later on. It looked just like how a slider should be: tiny, single serving with swiss cheese and a meatball packed between the buns. I enjoyed trying out these tasty morsels though it was quite dry and tough.

Meatball slider

We thought that this entree looked like an unusual combination. I personally didn't mind it as I do like anything with jamon ham and a sweet palate-cleansing broth. Though the slow cooked egg was the one that intrigued me the most. It was runny and oozy but I really wanted a slice of bread to dip into the egg even if it's already soaked by the broth.

Sweet pea and jamon broth, slow cooked egg ($14.00)

More meatballs you ask? That's pretty much what happened along with slices of bread. From this point, the dishes that they delivered were all shared between everyone on the table. This is a plus because I really doubt that I would be able to finish every single full plate on my own. The swiss cheese gave the meatballs a moreish and meatier taste. While the meatballs tasted good with the tomato fondue, I was curious to know what the white puree was on the side (white bean puree?). 

Rainford meatballs, tomato fondue, swiss cheese and pine nuts ($16.00)

You can tell just by looking at this dish alone that this would have been perfect, heart-warming comfort food for a cold winter night. So much melted cheesy goodness!

Cauliflower cheese ($10.00)

Another heart-warming, comfort dish that is great for vegetarians. It has a slightly sweet and soft texture from the grill and the garlic yoghurt was a tasty, creamy addition to this delicious side.

Grilled pumpkin, garlic yoghurt, brown butter ($9.00) 

Still hungry for more vegetarian food? You can be relieved that Rainford Street Social has the Grilled Vegetable Lasagne to fill you up. This hearty dish is certainly keeping up with the home-cooked, comfort food theme for the Winter menu. If you don't believe me that this is a vegetarian dish, let me tell you that the filling for the lasagne consisted of veggies like eggplant, zucchini and capsicum - absolutely no trace of meat! Lots of cheese of course but it actually wasn't too strong. Despite the immense carb contents of this dish; I thought it was a bit lighter than other lasagnes that I've had in the past.

Grilled Vegetable Lasagne ($22.00)

We weren't sure how to divide it up between us but from the parts we've tried, it tasted brilliant. The skin was crispy to perfection and the duck meat was juicy and fall-off-the-bone tender. It tasted even better when mixing with the creamy, white puree. One of my favourite dishes from tonight!

Confit duck leg, white bean puree, spiced cherries ($26.00)

While it was rich and dense, I didn't really mind it at all. Partly because of my chocolate addiction and my interest in trying something that is classified as 'gluten free'. I guess the whipped cream might help in balancing the heaviness from the dark chocolate for those who aren't too keen for it. Either way, I was eating through a good portion of the plate and wouldn't mind ordering this again.

Chocolate Torte, whipped cream - gluten free ($12.00)

On the other hand, the "Upside-down" cheesecake was the lightest from the desserts. The cheese wasn't as strong (which is just how I like it) and the brown butter breadcrumbs matched well with the rest of the dish. It was quite fruity as well thanks to the strawberries - again it's just how I like it.

"Upside-down" cheesecake, brown butter breadcrumbs ($16.00)

Everyone was raving about this dish because I only had a couple of bites before it was polished off the plate. I thought this was certainly the highlight of my dining experience because of its balanced flavours - it wasn't too rich and sweet and you can still taste the banana. The crumble on top of the banana cream pie gave it a crunchier texture in what was otherwise a fairly creamy dish. I was sad that this wasn't available on the current Winter menu (though this was available back in its early days judging from the older reviews) but hopefully it shows up again on one of the upcoming seasonal menus soon.

Banana Cream Pie

The wait for the food was fairly long that in between meals (to the point where CC and I were craving for everything from El Jannahs to Yum Cha to Gelato Messina), the service was wonderful and attentive to our needs throughout the night. The prices aren't cheap but for a restaurant on Crown Street, Surry Hills; it's pretty much the standard. The rustic, heartwarming look of some of the dishes gave the restaurant a homely and warmful vibe that will attract families and friends for a casual social outing this season. With this tasting event, I humbly look forward to what will be offered on Rainford Street Social's menu in the upcoming seasons.

Disclaimer: The Random Foodie and co dined as guests of Rainford Street Social and Cav Con. Opinions are still personal.

Rainford Street Social
500 Crown Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010
(02) 9357 2573
Rainford Street Social on Urbanspoon


  1. Aww that sounds so disappointing for the sliders :( It looked so yummy! ^^
    and the cauliflower... mmm~~ perfect for winter indeed!!

    - Cassie

  2. mm that cauliflower cheese pot looks so good haha melty cheeeeese

  3. the food looks wonderful! cant wait to check it out!

  4. That vegetable lasagne looks like a winner! Who can say no to cheese :D

  5. We enjoyed the food the night that we went (which was a sunday night) but did find that the serving sizes were really quite small for some of the mains. The share plate sizes that you got were a much better size :)

  6. Looks like they have a good variety, and that's great that they have plenty of options for vegetarians. I love the look of that cheesecake!