Char & Co, a new South American restaurant has opened in Sydney, bringing a dose Gaucho culture to Double Bay.
Char & Co, Double Bay
Located along Knox Street, the venue occupies the space that was formerly old Franc’s Café and Bar, and Le Pain Quotidien. Chef and Owner Bruno Da Motta has trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and was previously at BahBQ in Crows Nest before starting his new solo venture in Double Bay.
The venue opened only a week ago and much like its name indicates, Char & Co is South American steakhouse with Brazilian and European influences. Enter the premises with indoor and outdoor dining, and you’ll be seduced not only by the lilting accents greeting you but by the wonderful aromas from the grill.
Sydney is well versed with Churrasco ($55) dining and at Char & Co you’ll find a variety of 20 different fire-roasted meats as well as sausages, seafood and poultry served by handsome aproned waiters slicing meat onto plates.
But Char & Co offers a lot more with an a la carte menu for a more intimate dining experience.
L-R: Passionfruit, Chili & Basil Caipiroska, Char & Co Margarita
The cocktail list (all $17) has a South American influence with drinks such as Caipirinha, cachaça muddled with lime and sugar. The Passionfruit, Chili & Basil Caipiroska is a light and fruity option to start the evening. Made with Absolut vodka muddled with passion fruit, lime, chili & basil, it is easy drinking an doesn’t overpower the palate.
But it is the Char & Co Margarita that steals the show. Made with Tequila reposado muddled with grilled pineapple and a cinnamon sugar rim, the drink strikes a perfect balance between agave notes and the char of the pineapple. Sip it, without the cinnamon sugar rim, and the agave notes become magnified.
The wine list is approachable with options available by the glass and it’s good to see varietals from Brazil, Chile, Uruguay and Argentina along with local drops.
The food menu spans light meals to options from the pan, from the grill as well as burgers with sides and salads. A glass of crisp and dry 2013 Miolo Selecao Pinot Grigio Riesling ($10) from Brazil goes down well with the lighter dishes while the 2013 Tomero Malbec ($13) from Argentina is an ideal accompaniment to the meats from the grill.
Black-Eyed Bean Fritters with Pigs Trotters
The meal begins with an amuse bouche of Black-Eyed Bean Fritters with Pigs Trotters. These tasty bites that are crisp on the outside and soft on the inside with a delicious hot and spicy dipping sauce.
Bacalhau ($16 for 4 pcs) is a house specialty that is well worth ordering. Deep fried salted cod fritters sit on a bed of wasabi aioli topped with crispy fish crackling and a side of lime. These bacalhau are a flavour bomb, and the aioli is gently spiced as not to overpower the fish.
Ceviche Do Rei
It’s hard to pass up a ceviche when it’s this vibrant. Ceviche Do Rei ($19) has four fillets of Kingfish with Valencia orange, dollops of creamy avocado and cassava crisps that would make a great bar snack on their own. The fish is fresh, zingy and packs a lot of flavour while the shaved radish adds a textural element.
Next is another highlight of the menu and the favoruite pick of the entree style dishes. Jalapenos Rellenos ($10 for 4 pcs) are lightly battered and fried jalapeno peppers filled with creamy goats cheese and aioli. Pop them in the mouth for a combination of sweetness and heat from the peppers balanced with the creaminess of the goats cheese – a superb starter not to be missed.
From the Grill: Scotch Fillet
From the grill comes a variety of meats and the Scotch Fillet 300g ($24) with house made chimi churri and pico de galo salsa is a prime example of a fine piece of meat. Perfectly cooked at medium rare, every mouthful melts like butter in the mouth.
A side of Milho ($8), grilled corn on the cob topped with parmesan and chipotle is well worth sinking your teeth into,
while the Cogumelos ($12), grilled mixed mushrooms with pimento gremolata make a fine match with the steak, adding an earthy and meaty element.
If you enjoy seafood, the next dish is designed to bring you back again and again. Moqueca ($33) is a Northern Brazil curry with salt water barramundi, tiger prawns, and mussels in a coconut, ginger, coriander and chilli broth, served with pickled lime and roasted shrimp farofa. Unlike punchy Thai and Indian curries, the flavours of the broth are subtle and balanced, with a creamy texture similar to a bisque. The barramundi is perfectly cooked, succulent, flavoursome with a crispy skin, and the accompanying mussels and prawns have soaked up the broth along with the notes of ginger.
The dish comes with a side of fluffy rice which goes well with any leftover broth. Moqueca is a superb dish and the favourite, and definitely one to reorder on subsequent visits.
Maracuja E Abacaxi
For dessert, you’ll find the popular churros and a chocolate tart but the Maracuja E Abacaxi ($15), a grilled pineapple cheese cake with passion fruit curd, lime jelly, sesame shortcrust and mango sorbet is a celebration of tropical fruit flavours that dance on the palate.
Doce De Mel E Amendoin
For a dessert that brings the wow factor to the table, don’t go past the Doce De Mel E Amendoin ($15). Boasting a list of ingredients that evoke sighs of contentment, it’s a peanut and honey parfait with dulce de leche, morsels of peanut brittle, crispy plantain topped with vanilla bean ice cream. Sensational.
Char & Co succeeds in blending a group dining experience with intimate a la carte dining and service to match. The vibe is friendly and relaxed and the team ensures you are well looked. Come with a group of friends and enjoy all the fun, theatrics and flavours of the Churrasco experience or dine a la carte from a menu that inspires you to come back and try more dishes. No matter which you choose, you’ll be telling your friends about a new favourite restaurant that has just opened in Double Bay.
Photography © by Kevin Burke for Gourmantic – Copyright: All rights reserved.
Char & Co
15 Knox Street
Double Bay, NSW 2028
Ph: (02) 9328 5542
Hours: Tuesday – Thursday: 6pm – midnight
Friday – Sunday: Noon – midnight
This article is posted on Gourmantic.com - All rights reserved - Copyright © 2016.