Windswept and rain-soaked, I arrived on the doorstep of The Bridge Room at 11.50am, ten minutes early for a 12pm booking with a friend. “Sorry Madam, but we’re not ready to receive guests yet as we’re still setting up,” the maitre d apologises. Grimacing slightly, I returned to the adverse weather conditions outside to find shelter for the ten minutes before the restaurant officially opened. Not, I’m afraid, the most auspicious start!
When I returned to meet my friend, I walked through to our table, admiring the simple understated decor of the restaurant with its few statement pieces of art. The tables around us quickly filled up, and the restaurant was full by 12.30pm with a varied audience from suited people on business lunches, groups of ladies who lunch, and other young people like us who were clearly taking advantage of The Bridge Room’s Let’s Do Lunch deal as part of Good Food Month.
Lunch at a two-hatted restaurant is not something that is usually within my financial means – the Let’s Do Lunch special makes it affordable though! For only $38, you get a main, a beverage (glass of Yalumba wine, Coopers beer or Schweppes still or sparkling water), as well as tea or coffee to end the meal. While it’s still not a cheap meal, it certainly beats paying their usual $150+ for a three course meal with a glass of wine.
The main dish this year is a grilled Cone Bay barramundi fillet on a tomato broth, topped with fennel, coriander, cardamom yoghurt and ‘grains’ which I believe mainly turned out to be puffed rice – or something similar. The barramundi was grilled well, with a crispy and slightly caramelised and sticky skin, and soft, tender and succulent meat. I felt like the tangy yet sweet tomato broth that the barramundi sat on was the main flavour enhancer in this dish, as both the fennel and the cardamom yoghurt were quite mild.
Those with big appetites be warned though – this is quite a small serving. I found myself supplementing this dish with a few slices of their complimentary house bread to fill up to a satisfactory level. Rye and sourdough are both available, and the service staff are quite prompt with coming around with the bread board.
I have to be honest as well – it didn’t strike me as a two-hat quality dish. I’ve been to one-hat places that delivered a better main than what I ate, and even non-hatted restaurants that provided a better meal. That may be a failing of the Let’s Do Lunch concept though – perhaps I would be more impressed if I did splash out for a full-priced three course meal?
When we ordered our tea and coffee, this tiny little bowl of sugar cubes was delivered to our table. I went into raptures over how cute it was, and demanded that my friend hand-model it for me. Honestly – isn’t it cute?
My friend ordered a soy flat white – the foam on top looked a little inconsistent.
I ordered a pot of the Gyokuro tea by T2, described as “High grade Japanese green tea with a rich, savoury aroma and a creamy, complex grass-toned flavour”. Served in a traditional cast iron teapot, the tea was extremely potent and strong and helped to fortify me for battling the adverse weather as I left The Bridge Room.
I have to admit that I was a little disappointed by my meal at The Bridge Room. When my friend and I first started talking about doing a Let’s Do Lunch, we decided to try somewhere hatted that we normally couldn’t afford – Aria and The Bridge Room being the main choices. I can’t help feeling like we should have tried Aria instead.
Maybe I just need to try The Bridge Room for a fully paid multi-course dinner though? Surely two hats, a Chef of the Year Award, and a Hottest Chef in Australia award can’t all be wrong?