a big city positively huge. Even more so for a girl (this girl) that hails from the comparatively tiny city of Sydney.
As I have mentioned previously, it isn’t exactly the easiest city to settle into either. It is strange to think that a place filled with so many people can quite often feel so very lonely. However, when I am on the edge of dipping into one of my ‘Lost and Alone in London’ depressions, I am quickly reminded that I am actually blessed with a ridiculously large number of fantastic people in my life, both here and back home.
In fact, if anything, between school friends, work friends, ex-work friends and travel friends, I probably have more positive influences surrounding me than I have time that it takes to put in the reasonable amount of effort they deserve in return.
Be that as it may, my number of close friends – I mean really close friends – easily fall on the one hand. Those select few I know I can count on without an inch of doubt and for whom I would do absolutely anything for, no questions asked.
Whilst B2 and B1 [+ her other half, The Pirate] are frequently cited; Glinda the Good – who you have met only briefly – comfortably sits as another of my right hand women. In addition, she has introduced her equally incredible partner, The Scot, into my tightly guarded inner-circle. Collectively, the two of them play an important role as the most dependable people in my little world.
All in all, these five people are the reason that each and every trip back home has turned into a dizzying whirlwind of activities in a mad spree to cram in as much quality time as humanly possible. But despite all the crazed running around, we do manage to squeeze in some peaceful downtime, which tends to happen over a shared table with good food and wine (how predictable).
And so it was with my greatest pleasure that I finally had the chance to pull up a chair at Surry Hills’ Nomad with Glinda the Good and The Scot during our brief week spent in Sydney. Given that it prides itself in being a place where fine food, the best Australian wines and great friends come together, the setting could not have been more perfect.
Housed in a converted warehouse, the interior centres on a sleek open kitchen and bar. The first thing that struck me was just how airily spacious the whole room was. Wooden floors, exposed brick, naked piping, large windows and Scandinavian-style blonde wood furniture came together to create a really beautiful dining space.
The menu draws on flavours of the Mediterranean, utilising Australian ingredients to create a seasonally-driven menu designed for sharing. Our helpful waiter explains that there is a strong focus on smoking, curing, cheese making wood firing and pickling, and it is clear that these elements really shine through on the menu.
Showcasing everything from the classically recognised to the weird and wonderful wines made by Australia’s viticulturists and wine makers, the regional wine list complements the nature of the cuisine. The restaurant is unique in that it doubles as a sort of city-based cellar door, whereby diners are welcome to purchase the wines they savoured over dinner for enjoyment in the comfort of home.
We got the ball rolling with a great rendition of kingfish ceviche (AU$27). Flavoured with avocado, finger lime, coriander, chilli and garlic chips, it came as a refreshingly welcome bite when paired with the accompanying coriander cracker.
Forever a sucker for scallops (AU$9 each), these certainly did not disappoint. The pickled apple and smokey chorizo played the perfect counterparts to the plump, sweet shellfish. Definitely a highlight of the meal!
I liked the wagyu tongue with chimmichurri (AU$19) just fine. Although I thought the inherent smokiness overpowered the flavour of the beef. I also prefer my tongue in thicker cuts as I adore the meaty texture, which was largely lost here…but I guess that isn’t for everyone (have I mentioned I am an offal monster?!).
After hearing so much about their cured meats and pickles, we simply could not bring ourselves to miss the charcuterie plate (AU$28). Loaded with mortadella, pastrami, spicy salami, bresaola wagyu, prosciutto and house pickles, this was a strong plate of cold meats. Certainly more interesting than the equivalent we sampled a few days earlier at The Farm.
After much backing-and-forthing, we finally settled on two of the generously-portioned mains. First up was the wood-roasted suckling pig (AU$42) with stuffing, broccolini and chilli burnt butter. It was delicious and definitely my favourite of the larger plates.
Our second main was the 500g striploin on the bone (AU$65). Dry-aged for six weeks, the meat was flavourful and well-seasoned, but it would have benefitted from being slightly more tender as parts were bordering on tough and chewy.
The most annoying part about dining with me is that no matter how much has been ordered (or over-ordered, as the case often seems to be), some form of leafy greens must grace the table. There was nothing exciting about the baby gem with white onion and lemon ($AU8), but they did the trick. Don’t you know anything about balance?
The surprise winner out of the side dishes were the grilled zucchini with tahini yoghurt, pine nuts and raisins (AU$18).
Spiced cauliflower with cashew and wild rocket (AU$12) was also a hit. There is definitely something to be said here for a well-prepared plate of fresh vegetables! By no means do they have to be boring.
Nomad met my every expectation. Just as it says on the label, it is a lovely place to come together with friends and share some good food and fantastic wine. It showcases perfectly what I love so much about Sydney dining at the moment – that being, simple but refined food served in a laid back, relaxed setting. I hope Nomad doesn’t wander too far. Would I return? Absolutely.
16 Foster Street
Surry Hills, NSW, 2010
T: +61 (02) 9280 3395