Surry Hill, a suburb of wonders . For the weekend night life and the nearby restaurant distances of each other you may stumble to a wine bar called Rainford Street Social (500 Crown St Surry Hills, NSW2010). It is one of many places to socialise, offering modern Australian cuisine. The fresh flowers sitting on the blue checkered table cloth and old school chairs don’t give much away. But once you walk in the music’s on vinyl and the crowd is loud. Everyone is having a good time.
The tables and chairs take you back to school. The menus are simple and straightforward but the table was a bit confused whether it was Autumn or Winter as the top right corner of the menu stated “Autumn 2013”.
They have quite a spacious open bar and kitchen where couples or groups can sit and watch bartenders show off a few skills or two. Service can be a little neglectful ( there were only two ) but it’s nice and friendly.
We started with a few cocktails Mai Tai Circa 2012 ($14) chunks of crushed ice cubes with a blend of spirits, lime, bitters, and Rainford Mai Tai mix garnished with a wedge of lime.
The Julep de Normandy ($11) is simple and balanced with The Hills Cider, cloudy apple juice, Poire William Liqueur and pressed mint. Refreshing, sweet and tangy. Spotted most tables ordering this cocktail therefore without thinking ordered it straight away.
Unfortunately White Rabbit Shake ($10) was unavailable because they were out of banana cream pie ice cream and so we ended up with Spiced Corn & Oil ($10) which is probably one of the best choices. It consists of Havana 7yr Rum, Velvet Falernum, Pimento Dram served in huge ice cubes.
First up our bites- Lightly fried whitebait, aioli, lemon ($7) probably one of the worst fried whitebaits I’ve come across. Served slightly warm, nor tasted freshly fried. However upside they did well with presentation.
We tried BBQ pork throwdown, lettuce & pear chutney ($4) the taste and texture of the meat was average and the bun, well it felt like hard bread that’s not suppose to be served together with the meat. It was a disappointment they ran out of Rainford burger throwdown ($4) .
Highly recommended to have a few rounds of cocktails before you except to have your mains to be served to your table. Our table waited patiently for 32 minutes and witnessed one of the table across the restaurant came in after us and was served mains before us.
During the wait for our mains we also witnessed and eavesdropped a lot of their dishes ran out for the day. It was quite odd over hearing the conversation as we scanned with our eyes to see if it was really that packed and the answer is no not really. A few empty tables across the room and throughout the early evening many people walked in to hope they can dine, unfortunately waitress kept declining because it was a full house. We didn’t believe so and it was only 7:40pm on our watch…
Finally our mains arrived Pan Fried John Dory , mussels, curry sauce ($28) a really nicely conceived dish . The John dory crisp that it crackles whilst it’s being sliced into pieces. Mussel tastes fresh.
The Braised Lamb Shoulder, polenta, red capsicum ($29) wasn’t as good as it looks. It’s just a disappointment we waited a very long time for a lamb to taste so bland and the mash potato usually buttery and mouth-melting, sadly this one tasted undercooked and raw.
Our last main arrived moments later, Classic Fish Pie ($19) plated on a lovely floral plate. The mash potato was somewhat slightly better than the previous dish. Good mixer of seafood – prawns, mussels squid like a seafood marinara mix and vegies. It’s a delicious group of textures but the creamy sauce had no flavour whatsoever.
By the end of our meals we appreciated our cocktails ,the venue and the atmosphere more than the food. The main dishes are a let down. Perhaps a little more flavour added on every plate.
Photos by Vanny Tang