Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Satiate, Bangalow

33 Byron St, Bangalow 2479 - ph. 02 6687 1010

Last year when I was in Byron Bay, I'd heard about a restaurant, just down the road in Bangalow, called Satiate. I'd heard that the chef at Satiate was trained by the famous Australian / Japanese chef Tetsuya Wakuda. Unfortunately, last time I was there, I'd ran out of time and didn't get a chance to make it to Satiate.
So, this year, Satiate was on the top of our list of places to eat and boy were we glad that we found the time to visit!
We visited right in the middle of Winter, on our way home from Japan. It seems that everything in and around Byron - including Bangalow slows down during the cooler months. Probably something to do with the fact that there are very few tourists around at that time of the year. Satiate itself was only open on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights during Winter. We thought because it was only open for a few nights a week we would have trouble securing a booking, when calling only the day before. But lucky for us, we scored a table on the Thursday night!
We arrived to a very, very quiet downstairs restaurant, from my understanding the downstairs restaurant is more of a casual affair than upstairs. Downstairs is named Ate, whereas upstairs is named Satiate, which is the slightly more posh part of the restaurant.
Our waitress showed us upstairs to the restaurant. As we walked up the stairs, the chef (he was literally the only person in the kitchen - no kitchen hands or anything that we saw) said G'day to us. We were seated at our table and realised we had the whole restaurant to ourselves. Whilst I've never encountered that situation before and it was slightly unusual, it did infact feel very luxurious to have the whole room just to ourselves.
The menu on offer was a 5 course tasting menu for $65. That sounded like fantastic value if you ask me.

To start was an item not listed on the menu. I can't remember the fish that was in there, but I'm pretty sure it might have been kingfish. An awesome little start to our dinner. Crispy won-ton like cones filled with tasty raw fish. There was something very familiar about this little dish. I couldn't put my finger on it at the time.

Cured ocean trout and prawn with Horseradish emulsion, seaweed sand, cucumber and trout roe.

An amazingly vibrant, fresh dish. It looks all a bit of a mess on the plate, but at the same time had a certain prettiness about it. I loved the slightly spicy horseradish foam, but wasn't such a fan of the 'seaweed sand' as there was still quite a few chunky bits in it, which we couldn't eat. Great dish overall though.

Queensland Spanner Crab, Buckwheat and Shell Fish Stock

A lovely little dish, kind of like a risotto, but made with Buckwheat. Full of serious flavour and an interesting texture of the grains, especially when you're so used to the texture of risotto. Something I'd definately be keen to try making at home.

Queensland Scallops with Bangalow Pork, Kahlrabi Puree and roasted Quinoa

Wow. Perfectly cooked scallops slightly raw in the middle. Slow cooked, pulled pork, simply delicious. Amazing winter flavours.

Brined Bangalow Duck, Pickled Baby Vegetables, Organic Garlic, Soil

I'd never eaten Brined Duck before, but this meat was definately the highlight of the meal. Lovely pink duck meat, which was deliciously tangy. I really loved it. The 'soil' was a kind of biscuity ingredient, that had been crumbled. The pickled vegetables were beautiful, however the spring onion, was a little unpleasant to eat. A beautifully presented dish.

Cheese Course

Unfortunately, I can't remember exactly what the cheese course consisted of. It wasn't actually part of the tasting menu and it mentioned it was an additional fee. Another bonus course, just like the first one. Win! I do remember that the dish was delicious. Two types of cheese with honey. Yum!

Hot Valrhona Chocolate Bubble, Hazlenut Croquette, Onion Crumbs

Like a freeform chocolate mousse set on the plate. The chocolate bubble, was rich, dark and so good. The crispy biscuit was a great contrast to the fluffy chocolate. It never fails to surprise me how many savory ingredients go with good dark chocolate. It seems that onion flavour is no exception. The onion crumbs were mild in onion flavour and while it sounds weird - they actually did work well in the dish.

Petit Fours

With tea or coffee you get these lovely little cakes ($6). A perfect end to an amazing meal.
We were so impressed with everything about Satiate. The food was outstanding, our waitress was absolutely fantastic.

I can't help compare our dinner to one we had at Pier in Sydney the year before. The food seemed quite similar. However, Satiate was much better value and the food was probably just as good, if not better than Pier. It's definately less stuck up and the staff are up for a chat.
And to top it all off, they use Aesop hand products in the bathrooms. My favourite!

By the end of our meal, there was only one other couple in the restaurant. It makes you think if it's worth them even opening on a Thursday night in Winter. I'm so glad they did though.