Monday, May 19, 2014

Nomad, Surry Hills

My blogging buddies from Street Food emerge from the depths of the Chinatown food courts for just long enough to accompany me for dinner at Nomad in Surry Hills.

We'd initially been thinking of trying our luck elsewhere, but when we couldn't get a table I made a booking at Nomad.  In the randomness of the Universe, this turned out to be a massive stroke of luck as Nomad is a GREAT restaurant with terrific food (and wine).

The space is cavernous by anyone's definition and you'd think in a vast room of cement floors, high exposed ceilings, brick walls and wooden tables it would be overbearingly loud. But it's not. There's some crazily good acoustic shenanigans going on here as the space is really very quite. The music is set at just the right volume, and even when the space fills to its capacity of 150 people everything is...hushed. The restaurant has a lovely ambiance and things just hum along at a nice volume.

We start off with an order of woodfired Ssurdough with black salt butter ($2.50pp). The bread is good (fresh and airy with a great, firm crust) but the butter is OMG good. I'm wondering can I just forgo the bread and eat the salty, creamy butter with a teaspoon instead? Surely there's nothing wrong with that?

We order a few small plates to nibble on over a glass (or two) of Pinot Gris (best wine ever by the way).

First up is the Nomad pickles and olives ($15.00). The pickles are made in-house (as is just about everything else) and you can see big jars of them dotted around the restaurant. I really love pickles...I grew up eating them and I find them hard to pass by if I seem them on the menu. I love the variety of pickled "things" that Nomad give us - carrots, radishes, chillies, cauliflower, onions and some other things I can't identify (but am more than happy to eat). Beware the red chilli though - it'll blow your socks off.

The fried chickpeas dusted with a falafel spice ($6.00) are something I'd be more prone to snack on at home in front of the tele but they salty, spicy flavour does pair well with the crisp Pinot Gris we're sipping on.

A terrific selection of housemade Nomad charcuterie ($26.00) which comes with horse salami (which is delicious by the way) along with pork, ox tongue and other yummy things!

It's the first time I've ever seen horse on a menu in Australia and I'm intrigued. We're told the horse comes from a farm in WA and the salami is made in house. I know some people have objections to eating "cute or beautiful" animals such a horse, but if you eat cows, pigs, sheep (etc etc) then there really is no difference to eating any other animal. Why do our sensibilities tell us that's OK to eat some animals but not others (there's a lot of writing out there on the internet if you're interested)? For me, I am more concerned with how the animal was raised and treated during it's life rather than what it is . Anyhoo - the charcuterie was ALL amazing...really flavoursome and deliciously fatty in that unctuous kind of way.

Our small plates quickly disappear and we move onto the BIG PLATE section of the menu...dun dun dun dun.

Mr Shawn is determine to order the BBQ Carrots ($18.00) - something he's being seeing on menus (outside of Chinatown is)! There's no argument from us, and the carrots really are delicious. They come sprinkled with a nutty almond dukkah and whipped labne.

Reminiscent of the freakishly awesome  grain salad at Jimmy Grants - Nomad's tabbouleh of toasted grains and rice with sour cherries and Nomad ricotta ($21.00) - is a winner! I love the little chunks of ricotta dotted throughout the salad, the mix of textures - soft, creamy, crunchy is great fun.

And on to the main event *happy dance* - a plate filled with luscious, fatty (in just the right way) wood-roasted Pork with the most EPIC slab of crackling served with romesco aioli and lemon ($34.00).

The pork comes with a bonus pan of sweet potato gratin on the side that reminds a bit of the candied yams I've tried on Thanksgiving before.

We weren't going to have dessert but in the end we felt like we wanted something sweet to end the meal on. We choose a light, refreshing (and brain freezing) dessert of Buttermilk Cream with cherries, sangria ice and fresh figs ($14.00).

I enjoyed our meal at Nomad immensely and cannot wait to come back. I thought the menu was really great and the decor of the room was comfortable and inviting. Two hoofs up from me.

Nomad is at 16 Foster St, Surry Hills. Phone them on 9280 3395.

Nomad on Urbanspoon


  1. Tina@foodboozeshoesMay 19, 2014 at 11:30 AM

    So much love for Nomad. I can't wait to go back again soon!

  2. Looks good Mel, love those fried chickpeas. Horse is not something you often see on a menu.

  3. I adore nomad! I must try that amazing looking pork next time

  4. shawn@streetfoodMay 19, 2014 at 8:33 PM

    Man I loved those carrots!

  5. Helen (grabyourfork)May 20, 2014 at 12:52 AM

    Love that they make their own cheese and salamis here. And that roast pork looks lush.

  6. I lovvvved the carrots and the haloumi when i went!

  7. Sara (Belly Rumbles)May 24, 2014 at 4:37 PM

    I love Nomad, a return visit is definitely on the cards for me.

  8. If you need a dinner date I'm always free for Nomad!

  9. We didn't try the time!

  10. The smell of their house-cured meats really hits you as you walk in...better than perfume I say!

  11. It's so GREAT there...I want to go back again and again...and again!

  12. I've only ever heard of one other places in Australia (in WA) that serves horse. I actually didn't think it was legal.

  13. It's an interesting conundrum isn't it - the psychology behind what kind of animals are 'okay' to eat. I've had camel before which was unusual, and wouldn't shy away from horse.


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