CHISWICK, Woollahra

“Olive oil and squid ink are a canvass for triangular slices of chargrilled squid,
topped with capers and pickled guindilla peppers, edible violas and nasturtium leaves”


The menu is driven by fresh seasonal produce from a 150-square metre kitchen garden.

And with a dedicated gardener working with the chefs, it is no wonder beautiful edible flowers and nasturtium leaves, among rosa radish and French tarragon, are gracing the dishes at CHISWICK.

Celebrity chefs need not always cook at expensive Michelin star restaurants.

Jamie Oliver’s 30-minute steak sandwich is teaching us how fresh seasonal ingredients can literally burst with tantalizing flavours on the plate. And Gordon Ramsay’s roast chicken will surely impress the mother-in-law if you stuff it with sautéed chorizo, onion, garlic, thyme, cannellini beans and sun-dried tomatoes with a twist of lemon juice.

Holmbrae duck and foie gras terrine with quince and cashew nut lavosh sounds like a complicated dish. And it is so. It has to be complicated because this dish is served with a jaw-dropping side of the magnificent Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House right in your face at Matt Moran‘s fine dining institution Aria.

But Australia’s very own celebrity chef knows that casual dining will always have a special place in the hearts of those who enjoy the simplicity of fresh seasonal flavours.

And away from fine dining territory around Sydney harbour, Moran’s less formal eatery along Ocean street in Woollahra aims to do just that.


Sprawling lawn at Chiswick, Woollahra

Sprawling lawn at CHISWICK, Woollahra

The manicured gardens at the former Pruniers restaurant with its more formal menu has always been one of Sydney’s favourite wedding venues. And that’s because the sprawling lawn soaks up Sydney’s glorious sunshine with its western aspect.

On a beautiful winter afternoon among lush greenery and clear blue skies, getting a dose of vitamin D whilst sipping chilled chardonnay cannot sound more enticing.

Fountain in the garden, Chiswick, Woollahra

Fountain in the garden, CHISWICK, Woollahra

And while grown-ups indulge in good food and wine, two charming little girls find their own special place in the sanctuary of a water fountain.

Communal dining table at Chiswick, Woollahra

Communal dining table at CHISWICK, Woollahra

Lighting is subdued in the communal dining room.

Architecturally, CHISWICK combines old world cottage charm with modern sensibility.

While wooden beams run the length of the ceiling, I run my fingers along the gleaming surface of a communal table to appreciate its sheer length.

Moa Noir Dark Lager, New Zealand $11

Moa Noir Dark Lager, New Zealand $11

I am having lunch with the Monk today.

“I’m not supposed to drive” he tells me. “So, you need to give me a ride from the hospital.”

A routine health check ticks all the boxes for him and we celebrate with a couple of Moa Noir Dark Lager from New Zealand.

2013 Stefano Lubiana 'Primavera' Chardonnay, Granton Tasmania Carafe 500ml $46 & 2013 Chatto Pinot Noir, Huon Valley, Tasmania Carafe 500ml $67

2013 Stefano Lubiana 'Primavera' Chardonnay, Granton Tasmania Carafe 500ml $46 & 2013 Chatto Pinot Noir, Huon Valley, Tasmania Carafe 500ml $67

I have a soft spot for chardonnay and pinot noir from the cool climate of Tasmania’s wine growing regions.

Honey melon, peach and citrusy aromas are swirling in a 2013 Stefano Lubiana ‘Primavera’ Chardonnay with subtle oak undertones though it lacks the luscious buttery mouth feel of an older vintage.

Jim Chatto, a quietly spoken 40-year-old has been hailed by wine luminary James Halliday as one of the most talented winemakers in Australia.

His move to the McWilliams Group last year means he is responsible for arguably Australia’s greatest semillon from the Hunter Valley in New South Wales. Replacing the retiring Phil Ryan, long-serving wine-maker who has created the Mount Pleasant Lovedale Semillon the great wine that it is today, Chatto will have big shoes to fill.

Our 2013 Chatto Pinot Noir comes from his small 1.5 heactares pinot noir vineyard at Galziers Bay in the Huon Valley region of Tasmania where he has built a small house for his wife and two young children. Ripened red berries on the nose, it is gently savoury with elegant oak structure and a lingering finish.

I will gladly pair this style of wine with the sweetness of Chinese BBQ pork char siew or the gamey flavour of Peking duck. But for today, I know this pinot will form a beautiful marriage with the roasted pork belly on CHISWICK’s menu.

Snow crab slider, lettuce, kewpie, gherkins 

Snow crab slider, lettuce, kewpie, gherkins $9

Snow crab slider, lettuce, kewpie, gherkins $9

These days, I commend chefs who come up with seafood sliders over those with the traditional beef pattie. After all, are we not a city that boasts the variety and abundance of some of the freshest seafood in the world?

Snow crab is packed into a crisp, golden brown pattie sandwiched with lettuce leaves, gherkin, kewpie and a sesame brioche. Delectable crab flavours with kewpie mayo is classic but what makes this slider even more special is the buttery and pillowy soft brioche.

Chargrilled calamari, capers guindilla peppers, squid ink 

Chargrilled calamari, capers guindilla peppers, squid ink $18

Chargrilled calamari, capers guindilla peppers, squid ink $18

Olive oil and squid ink are a canvass for triangular slices of chargrilled squid, topped with capers and pickled guindilla peppers, edible violas and nasturtium leaves (cover image above).

Chargrilled calamari, capers guidilla peppers, squid ink

Chargrilled calamari, capers guidilla peppers, squid ink

I sprinkle some black pepper on the squid.

Smoky aromas are beautiful and each slice is soft with gentle acidity from the capers and pickled chilli.

Crispy fried quail, lime, shallot, ginger 

Crispy fried quail, lime, shallot, ginger $22

Crispy fried quail, lime, shallot, ginger $22

Deep fried quail garnished with micro coriander is encased in crispy, golden brown batter with distinctive peppery spice and ginger flavours.

I squeeze lime juice onto the quail and tuck in with fingers, dipping each succulent and juicy Maryland into kewpie.

Main dining room, Chiswick, Woollahra

Main dining room, CHISWICK, Woollahra

The vibe of the dining room is lively with eastern suburbs’ high society and ladies who lunch.

Pan roasted whole flounder, pine nuts, kale, pipis  

Pan roasted whole flounder, pine nuts, kale, pipis $34

Pan roasted whole flounder, pine nuts, kale, pipis $34

The menu announces that snow peas, broad beans and kale are thriving in the kitchen garden. Herbs in abundance include sage, oregano, rosemary and parsley.

So we find some kale with whole flounder arriving on its underside minus the head. Topped with roasted pine nuts, pipis and micro herbs, the fish is flanked by a slather of raisin and caper puree on each side.

Pan roasted whole flounder, pine nuts, kale, pipis

Pan roasted whole flounder, pine nuts, kale, pipis $34

Texture of the fish is firm and flavours are naturally subtle.

A few pinches of salt bring together toasty pine nuts with the sweetness of the raisin and caper puree. The wilted kale is a wonderful cloth in mopping up the rich and buttery sauce.

Roast pork belly, toasted barley, shallot dressing

Roast pork belly, toasted barley, shallot dressing $33

Roast pork belly, toasted barley, shallot dressing $33

A sinful slab of golden roast pork belly nestles around micro herbs, toasted barley and shallot dressing.

My half slab of roast pork belly with toasted barley and shallot dressing

My half slab of roast pork belly with toasted barley and shallot dressing

It’s a good thing Monk and I are sharing entree and mains because this slab of pork belly is so sinfully good.

Sautéed diced shallots give the toasted barley an Asian flavour. The shallot dressing is rather salty although it becomes more subdued when paired with meltingly tender pork belly. The prized crackling bears salty, tasty and best of all the crisp and crunchy remnants of the roast.

And as I expected, savoury notes in our pinot noir does a beautiful job in enhancing the sweetness and toasty flavours of roast pork.

Warm afternoon sunlight ~ dining room, Chiswick, Woollahra

Warm afternoon sunlight ~ dining room, CHISWICK, Woollahra

By mid afternoon, the dining room is bathed in the warmth of Sydney’s winter sun.

CHISWICK may be a casual eatery but when dining in pairs, I am with many who feel table setting is far too close for comfort when sandwiched between two other tables.

A view into the garden

A view into the garden

Come early and you may score a table by the glass doors with a view of the beautiful gardens.

CHISWICK hazelnut rocher 

Chiswick hazelnut rocher $16

CHISWICK hazelnut rocher $16

CHISWICK rocher is a block of chocolate mousse topped with crunchy hazelnuts and ice cream.

Bar dining and kitchen, Chiswick, Woollahra

Bar dining and kitchen, CHISWICK, Woollahra

A cocktail bar sits next to the kitchen and diners can choose to dine at the bar for a quick bite or simply have a casual drink.

A message from the chef?

A message from the chef ?

Cooking with wine can be really fun if you know how to do it properly.

A busy chef in the kitchen, Chiswick, Woollahra

A busy chef in the kitchen, CHISWICK, Woollahra

Flavours are fresh and vibrant at CHISWICK but during these vibrant dining times in Sydney, I believe prices at this casual eatery can and should be more competitive.

Service is attentive and though we felt short of space in the main dining room which was almost to capacity, the large communal table appears totally closed during this busy lunch service. Opening it up could have made the difference in our dining experience.

Chiswick, Woollahra

CHISWICK, Woollahra

So dear readers, do you have a favourite casual restaurant in Sydney and if so, what is you favourite dish there?

65 Ocean street,
Woollahra New South Wales

Tel: +61 2 8388 8688

Chiswick on Urbanspoon

Opening hours: Lunch Monday – Thursday 12pm to 2.30pm Friday – Sunday 12pm to 3pm Dinner Monday to Thursday 6pm to 10pm Friday & Saturday 5.30pm to 10pm Sunday 6pm to 9pm.

CHISWICK has a semi-private area that can hold between 30 – guests. The ‘Collective Menus’ which are designed for sharing, will be available for all private dining bookings.

Please see reservation policy here.

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16 Responses to CHISWICK, Woollahra

  1. Those dishes are a work of art – a feast for the eyes as well as the belly. I love living way up here in no-man’s land but when I see posts like this I think maybe living in the big smoke might not be too bad at all.

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear Maureen,

      I think up where you are does have its distinct advantages too that we in the big smoke might yearn for every now and then!

  2. Oh wow I didn’t know we had anything like this around here!

  3. I havn’t been to Chiswick in a while! That calamari looks absolutely delicious!!

  4. Raymund says:

    Flounder/Pipis and that pork belly makes me hungry early this morning.

  5. I have yet to go Chiswick
    But my oh my, your photos have me drooling like no tomorrow!!
    The quail, the pork belly and the rocher!! 😀 😀 😀

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear Cassie,

      Apparently their signature dish is a slow-cooked lamb that’s meant to be shared. I saw some diners tucking into that and it looks really good too!

  6. Wow absolutely love the colours of the calamari dish!

  7. Row says:

    Wow, these dishes look spectacular!

  8. This place looks beautiful, and that chiswick rocher looks picture perfect :)

  9. I love the garden setting at Chiswick. So calming. Like the look of that flounder too!

  10. Really gorgeous pictures :) Restaurants with kitchen gardens are my favourite as I enjoy fresh, seasonal herbs and vegetables

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear Chris,

      Seasonal herbs, vegetables and fruits are always bursting with flavours and I love those country restaurants who have their own orchards and farms too.

  11. milkteaxx says:

    have heard many great things about this place, the chiskwick rocher looks good!

  12. Joyce Hewes says:

    I work in a gardening company and the office is near this restaurant. Every Friday me and my colleagues, we go for a dinner. Unique restaurant! Amazing atmosphere, delicious meals and cold beer :) What else to want? I recommend it to everyone!

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