Thursday, September 15, 2011

District Dining, Surry Hills

Lately whenever someone asks me for a restaurant recommendation I simply refer to the ever growing wish list on my blog and pick somewhere that I really want to go to. 

Sometimes this results me to being invited to the dinner which is how I ended at District Dining about two months ago.  I’d recommended this restaurant to a friend of mine who was celebrating a birthday. As there were so many of us we ended up with the banquet – which is incredible value may I add. 

I didn’t blog that dinner as:

a) it was at night and the restaurant was too dark for my old Canon G11;
b) there was so much food (16 different dishes to try) that I think my head would’ve exploded trying to write about them all;
c) I was a bit ill on the night to didn’t end up eating all that much – what a waste of a banquet; and,
c) I only knew the birthday gal at the dinner so thought it might be pushing the friendship making 10 of her friends wait to eat their meals whilst I took photos.

I ended up at District Dining a second time as Neicy Poo was looking for somewhere to go for a birthday lunch with the family. As I’d missed my opportunity to blog about District Dining last time I suggested it as a possible birthday lunch venue – and she happily agreed.

We decided to order a few small share plates to start with and then each have our own mains.   On my last visit here we’d had both the crispy pigs ears with Szechuan salt ($10.00) and the crispy school prawns with lime mayonnaise ($16.00) and I was keen to have them again – the others didn’t need much convincing. 

We all loved the crispy pigs ear - it's just like eating the most crunchy of crackling; and the school prawns are always a favourite with The Boy and myself - they are so crunchy and moreish, and because they are so small there is no problem eating the head, tail, shell and legs.

I’d not tried the crispy quail eggs with tarragon mayonnaise ($14.00) on my last visit so was really happy that the others suggested we order them.  You’ll notice a lot of “crispy” with our starters which is why I quickly deflected Big Brother’s desire to order French Fries – too much fried my friend!

The quail eggs were lovely - a firm white surrounded by a crispy outer with a runny, oozy yolk waiting to surprise you when you bite in to the delicate egg.

I already knew what I was going to have before we arrived at the restaurant. Last visit I LOVED the mushroom risotto with truffled marscapone and parmesan crisp ($25.00).  The risotto was a veritable Aladdin's Cave of mushroom delights - I counted about five different types of mushroom including bunches of stringy Enoki (my favourite).  There was a lot of marscapone, which tasted quite buttery, so I mixed a little through the risotto and pushed the rest aside - for the sake of the waistline of course.

The Boy orders the crispy pork belly with an Asian style salad and chillli, peanuts ($24.00) which he said was fantastic.  The pork and crackling were very obvioulsy deep-fried making it absolutely delicious (I was allowed a bite or two). Any guilt was offset by a fresh, zesty salad.  I have to admit, I had food envy.

Niecy Poo ordered the kingfish with wasabi pannacotta, quinoa and ponzu.  This is one of District Dining's starter dishes (for $19.00) that they served as a main for the birthday girl (no idea how much, but around $25.00 like the rest of mains I'm guessing).  This dish looked very dainty and I can attest that it is a  lovely, light and fresh dish from my earlier visit.

Big Brother ordered the parmesan gnocchi, broad beans, veal shoulder, pangrattato ($29.00).  He said the dish wasn't overly warm when he tucked it, but I had to remind him that I'd snapped quite a few photos before he started eating...the downside of eating with a food blogger.  This dish was also really nice - I had a mouthful of the gnocchi which was pan-fired at the end of the cooking process giving it a nice crunchy skin. The lamb was tender and flavoursome.

The service at District Dining was second to none - very friendly and attentive.  We were really well looked after and the food was a perfectly special way to celebrate a birthday. Although located above a nondescript pub in Surry Hills the dining room feels really quite...fancy with its dark wooden floors and table and modern fittings.

District Dining is at 17 Randle Street, Surry Hills.

District Dining on Urbanspoon


  1. Such gorgeous food! Love the look and sounds of the risotto - an Aladdin's cave of mushies? Yes please!

  2. Glad you had the chance to revisit the restaurant. I still have it in my wishlist.

  3. your old g11 is newer then my current g10!

    funnily enough district dining is also a place i recomment without ever having been. must make my way there some day soon!

  4. Wow! Crispy pig ears! That's my kinda thing. I'm lovin' the sound of District Dining.

  5. Agree, I often don't bother taking photos when there are large groups of people unless they're close and/or very understanding company.

    The food looks excellent but, not that it would bother me, did the pigs' ears happen to gross anyone out?

  6. wow, that looks so good! here it goes onto my wishlist!

  7. love their quail eggs! the kingfish looks really good

  8. interesting..crispy pig ears, I kind of expected the whole ear lol (that's what I buy for my dog sometimes ^^") but it does look quite tasty! mm I love the quail eggs

  9. That deep fried pork belly looks freakin delicious! I'd have food envy too

  10. The pigs ears look good, will have to try them next time!

  11. Your photos look fantastic!

    I love the sound of the mushroom risotto - you can never have too many mushies :-)

  12. Its hard to get together a blog post in a large group (i dont even try most of the time). You got some great shots this time round !

  13. Went there for fathers' day, oh wow, how good is the pigs ear!!! They ran out of the crispy school prawns which was a bummer, but gives me good reason to go back.


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