Executive Chef Chrys Xipolitas hosted an intimate Chef’s Table event at Old City Kitchen & Bar in Newtown to show off the mouth-watering dishes from his new Mediterranean and Middle Eastern-inspired menu on Thursday 23 March 2017.
The venue has a small outdoor terrace that can be seen from street level. Inside it’s a versatile space, with options for standing room by the bar or multilevel seated areas, which can be sectioned off for private functions.
The team behind Old City Kitchen & Bar are the same people from Li’l Darlin. Every dish is prepared on site from scratch. The menu is Mediterranean, including dishes from the Middle Eastern part of the Mediterranean such as Jordan, Lebanon, Israel and Palestine. Chrys Xipolitas passionately works to recreate traditional Greek family recipes. The main focus of the Chef’s Table menu was seafood and chicken.
Guests were treated to a beverage or two at the bar before moving to a table. The menu consisted of an array of entrees and mains that were designed to share. There were ten dishes including: Mezza Plate of taramasalata, hummus, baba ganouj, tzatziki, feta, olives, pickles and cured meats served with pita bread triangles; Island Salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, shallots, fresh mint, chilli, garlic, baby capers, Spanish onion, crispy pita pieces, red wine vinegar, olive oil topped with feta foam; Homemade Haloumi topped with fresh mint and grape salsa, dressed with a balsamic glaze; Zucchini Flowers made from light tempura battered zucchini flowers with grated pecorino cheese, white truffle oil and lime zest; New City Prawns and Calamari that are potato starch coated and shallow fried, seasoned with fresh chilli, salt, pepper, garlic and parsley and served with special dipping sauce; BBQ Octopus braised for three hours, tossed with cherry tomatoes, Spanish onions, olives, roquette, basil and dressed in a sweet chilli balsamic; Za’atar Chicken with Middle Eastern spices, za’atar composed of sesame seeds, thyme and sumac, topped with a pomegranate molasses; Old City Prawns cooked in tomato passata with chilli, garlic, shallots, olives, white wine and crumbled feta served with crusty bread; Mediterranean Salad with prawn cutlets, chicken pieces, octopus, pan fried tossed in olive oil, lemon, garlic chilli, parsley served with a salad of baby rocket, cucumbers, Spanish onion and olives; and Chargrilled spatchcock served on a spinach and haloumi pilaf and finished in a chicken lemon broth.
The highlight of the menu was the homemade haloumi. It is one of the best haloumi dishes I have ever tasted. Chrys Xipolitas swears by the quality of the haloumi, which he sources from a lady who makes it at home in Melbourne. The haloumi was grilled on one side instead of fried on both. It was not squeaky or chewy, and had not melted as poorer quality versions do. The cheese was cooked perfectly and had a light and fluffy texture.
In addition to the delicious food menu, Old City Kitchen & Bar has a vast bar menu featuring cocktails, Italian prosecco, wine (mostly Australian) and beer (some on tap but mostly by the bottle). Some of the cocktails seemed identical to those of Li’l Darlin such as the Candy Floss Martini (pictured) that was made of vodka, blood orange and vanilla syrup mixed with raspberry sorbet and raspberries. With the meal, guests were served: 2016 Dal Zotto Arneis from the King Valley Victoria or 2015 Save Our Souls Sangiovese Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula, Victoria.
Old City Kitchen & Bar is located at 89 Missenden Rd, Newtown NSW 2042. It is open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week with a range of menu options.