It was lunchtime at the restaurant. Light and airy, a spring day, the time of year that Sydney celebrates best. And when I walked in to ABODE for the first time, the first thing I was taken by was that the light had followed me inside. White on white, cream on cream, a monochromatic colour scheme, white shutters, and white cockatoos. I thought I recognised the design, and indeed I should have, as the white metal cocktatoo relief is a Florence Broadhurst design. Her design also graces the wallpaper ceiling and is further complimented by cockatoo rugs, though these are designed by Catherine Martin (costume designer for Australian movie Moulin Rouge).
I'm next to the shutters, next to a window and the light streams in.
Expectations can be misleading. We don't have many great hotel restaurants in Sydney. I wasn't expecting anything grand. But I also wasn't expecting anything, well, this 'appropriate'. The place calls itself a bistro, and the fitout as a demonstration of Oz, is just right.
Same goes for the food from Chef Ryan Hong. There's a little bit of his Korean heritage sneaks in to the food. Like in my main: Tereiyaki glazed black cod. He gives a light hand. The teriyaki is not overpowering. The flesh of the fish, is moist and on the verge of falling melt-in-your-mouth apart. There are tiny little fresh peas, sweet and only just warmed through that sing to my soul. All of the dish is well treated, waxy Kipflers lend counterpoint, soak up the sauce. As does the side order of bread: olive oil Panini with Pepe Saya butter.
There's quality in the ingredients. There's nothing too fancy actually, in the design of any of the dishes. Honest dishes, that nudge past safe, just. And they're quite well executed - for what they are.
The menu choices provide eating easy: Raw Bar, Small Dishes, Salads, Additions, From The Market, Seasonal Mains, To Finish.
I overheard the table next to me being offered grassfed beef as a daily market choice. I hope it's there next time. It would go down well with the best - big, fat and real - onion rings I've tried in Sydney, and the terrific ABODE hand cut fries. My order of steak is always a test for a chef though - blue to rare.