Food Society

Rebecca Varidel
20th May 2016

While Sydney buzzes with innovative cuisine it can also sometimes be a bit same same around town. Not here at Food Society with its quirky basement Eastern European dumplings and share plates. The quirky décor with vintage tea cosies and bow-tied waiters disclose nothing of the yumminess that is to come. This is real food. And it is not like you'll find anywhere else in Sydney.

The menu starts with three choices of delicious dumplings. You get four filling delicious Potato and bacon pierogi with pickled mushrooms, buttermilk and red wine vinegar for $14. It's hard to choose because just as good, perhaps even better are the Three cheese pierogi with duck ragu and crispy sage, same number and same price. Both are luscious as starters or with drinks. And speaking of drinks, when in the Czech Republic...

We started with herbal aperitif shots of Becheriovka vodka, and interspersed vodka variations between our sublimely smooth cocktails and plates to share. The long long list of international vodkas includes house infusions - watermelon, pomegranate, spiced orange, dried apple, vanilla bean - made with Zytnia Premium Rye Vodka. They hail from Poland, Austria, the Ukraine, Russia, Holland and even England, Australia and Idaho U.S.A. Local representation comes in the form of long leaf black tea vodka from NSW.

Going out to nearly every table we see Czech steam buns with brisket goulash and sour cabbage which are rightly popular. As we had them last week here at a party we pass and try new things, because we already know that they are very good.

Slow braised beef cheek and sauerkraut come disguised as croquettes and topped with a green herb aioli. They are luscious and the same value as the dumpling dishes.

From the 15 savoury menu options, there are a couple of cold dishes. You can have your air dried beef and eat your breadstick too. Wrap it around and dip it in the mackerel aioli. Are you getting the picture? Yum.

Best of the night is Fresh spatzle with sautéed local prawns dill and warm egg yolk dressing ($24). In these days of towering extreme sports eating this dish doesn't reach the instagram heights but it is very good eating. Isn't that what's most important? Or have we lost the garden plot? The dish zings with the sweetness of the prawns against the traditional buttery noodles. Yum more.

Also good eating the Octopus and calamari salad with mixed grains, crispy black rice and chard ($17) provides delightful and flavourful contrasts of a textural sea. Yum again.

Around us are happy tables munching other dishes such as the signature fried cauliflower with parsley, watercress and reduced wine vinegar or the impressive Slow roasted pork knuckle with pickled apples, horseradish cream and mustards ($34) and adding sides like classic potato salad with Polish pickles. We want to come back for that.

The most popular dessert of housemade ricotta doughnuts with plum sugar, berries and amaretto honey means that sometimes the Czech style honeycake gets overlooked. We didn't. We lapped up every crumb with its salted caramel cream, honeycomb and caramelised pears.

Cocktails are so good that despite our intentions to change to wine during the night we kept sipping from coupes instead, from fabulous vodka martinis through to caiprioskas. And, kept trying new vodkas in between.

Wines are relegated to the back of the drinks list yet there is tidy selection with just about all available by the glass. And as you might expect there is a board menu of Eastern European beers.

The music is a little quirky too and the restaurant hums making Food Society a super night out for drinks and eats, for dinner or for whatever you want it to be. Perfect for two, or perfect for a large party, get on down.

Food society also offers a fabulous vodka high tea, and is well regarded caterer for Sydney functions.