She’s dark, moody and playful. At times, she can even be mischievous. And she calls herself Emmilou Seaforth.
Making her debut last Thursday, the eatery formerly known as Wild Bunch Food and Wine has reinvented herself into a sassy pop-up venue on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.
Emmilou’s younger sister is at her prime. Gone are the pretty florals and white attire of her early days. The new incarnation wears a dark wardrobe with Emmilou-red accents that combine sass with attitude.
Smart, confident and sexy as hell, she displays her tattoos with pride. Her walls and ceiling abound with Spanish expressions, naughty phrases and menu offerings. In short, this girl likes to kick ass.
The ambience on a Friday night is intimate and fun, with the venue attracting a cross-section of diners of different age groups, small groups of friends and couples, some in various states of romance.
Executive Chef Chris Cranswick-Smith’s touch is evident throughout, drawing on his extensive experience around the Mediterranean and in famous kitchens of San Sebastian and Biarritz. His passion for the venue reflects in the new décor, the upbeat music, at times sultry French and Spanish tunes, and the Emmilou style menu. But make no mistake, his new girl values her individuality.
Chateau du Tariquet Aperitif
You’ll find some signature dishes among the range of pintxos and tapas such as zucchini flowers with goat’s cheese and truffle honey and twice cooked pork belly. But venture beyond the familiar and you’re in for a sensory feast with an artful presentation.
Beetroot, pine nuts, raisins, edible ﬂowers
Start with the beetroot dish with crumbled fetta cheese and pine nuts for texture. Dried raisins add a hint of sweetness and balance while the edible flowers give an element of vibrant colour. This dish combines fresh flavours in a beautiful presentation and primes the palate.
Paella balls, smoky chorizo, prawns
The Paella balls are a crowd-pleaser. Crispy shells topped with a creamy aioli sauce hide rice cooked with smoky chorizo and prawns.
Half shell scallops, pistachio cream, apple, betel leaf
The half shell scallops is one of the favourite dishes. Flavoursome, perfectly cooked scallops are topped with a delicious pistachio cream and fine strips of apple. The combination of ingredients, along with the taste and texture of the pistachio cream makes it a dish to reorder on your next visit.
Stuffed pepper, crab, aioli, sherry
From the pintxos menu come stuffed red peppers with crab and topped with aioli. The dish either takes you back to the pintxos bars of San Sebastian or makes you mentally plan a trip to the Basque region.
Duck eggs, market cress, macadamia, chorizo crumble
The duck eggs is one dish not to miss. Four soft boiled egg halves are coated in a light and seasoned batter. Cut through the egg and you get a soft and runny yolk topped with spicy chorizo, crumbled for texture with a scattering of macadamia nuts.
Short rib, blue cheese, blistered cherry tomatoes
Short rib is a generous sized dish with the meat cooked so tender that it falls off the bone. The creamy blue cheese sauce complements it without overpowering the flavour of the meat. The blistered and trussed cherry tomatoes are simply asking to be popped in the mouth.
2009 Vistalba Malbec, Argentina
The wine list at Emmilou Seaforth accompanies the variety of dishes and goes via Spain, Portugal, Australia, New Zealand and Argentina, such as the 2009 Vistalba, a textured and full-bodied Malbec with soft and round tannins.
Poached pear, custard, hazelnut, tequila
It pays to make room for dessert even if it means having a short digestive break. Churros with chocolate sauce are a popular option but the poached pear sitting in a warm custard with tequila jelly is difficult to resist. You can always share it with your other half provided there is no fighting over the tequila jelly.
Deep fried Mars bar, salsa
If by now the mood has enveloped you and you’re feeling naughty by the end of the night, indulge in a deep-fried Mars bar, seductively served and ready to ooze with caramel. But let there be no guilt. This dessert comes with a spiced fruit salsa, and as we all know, fruit is a healthy choice.
Like her older sibling in Surry Hills, Emmilou Seaforth will hold your attention. From the moment you step inside, she’ll welcome you and hold you captive. And once she’s seduced you with her culinary flair, she’ll happily let you leave with a whispered promise that you’ll meet again.
More photographs in the gallery below:
Emmilou Seaforth pops-up on Thursdays and Fridays for lunch and dinner; Saturdays for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner and Sundays for breakfast, brunch and lunch with reservations taken online.
565 Sydney Rd
(corner of Ethel Rd and Sydney Rd)
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