Walking into the establishment, I was graced with whitewashed bench seats and a crisp, light colour scheme reminiscent of Hamptons inspired interior design. The bright and breezy atmosphere reflects its location; the sun-drenched balcony overlooks one of Southern Sydney’s many picturesque beaches. It was a leisurely Sunday lunch, with a mixed clientele.
Judging a menu by its cover
Dawn Denbar, renowned chef and owner of Taze, and her partner Cindy Strzylecki (head gardener) pride themselves on showcasing the freshest ingredients possible – literally! The near inexhaustible list of fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs harvested from their on-site garden checker the menu in bold type.
I chose the prosciutto brioche and grilled haloumi for entrée; for main course, the miso-glazed salmon, and quinoa bowl.
The first bite
Visually, both dishes ignite my taste buds into a frenzy of excited salivation. The prosciutto was presented atop toasted brioche; garnished with freshly harvested fig and basil, and drizzled with pungent black garlic aioli. The haloumi was presented as a light salad of chargrilled zucchini, crunchy walnuts, garden fresh cherry tomatoes and oregano, dressed with year-long-preserved lemons.
From the morsels of buttery brioche and succulent slices of fig, to the almost melt-in-your-mouth prosciutto and the fragrant basil leaves… this entrée was a winner from the moment it hit the table. A simple dish; nevertheless, packed with flavour. The bite-sized brioche made it the perfect share plate. Come with your reflexes honed: I had to fight my partner for the last drop of black garlic aioli!
The haloumi was perfectly grilled: golden and crisp. The cherry tomatoes were mouth-wateringly robust and flavoursome, further enhanced by the wonderfully fragrant oregano. The year-long-preserved lemons were scant, but packed a punch! However, I didn’t favour the chargrilled zucchini and walnuts. Both ingredients were lost in the melee of intense flavours, and failed to impress individually.
The pan-fried, miso-glazed salmon was served on a bed of kipfler potatoes, shaved fennel, shallots, and finished with a bright beetroot salsa.
The saltiness of the miso glaze balanced the richness of the salmon. The beetroot salsa had a sweet and fresh Asian fusion; without stealing the glory from the miso salmon. However, I found the kipfler potatoes too doughy, which sadly detracted from the dish.
The quinoa bowl appeared as a vegetarian’s dream: a colourful tangle of garden fresh Dutch carrots, broccolini and wild mushrooms upon a generous smear of almond tarator, garnished with fetta and pepitas. The vegetables were crisp and flavoursome; lightly stir-fried in olive oil and well-seasoned. Creamy fetta oozed into the steaming vegies, while the pepita seeds provided a nutritious crunch. The almond tarator was, by far, the standout of the dish – providing a burst of fresh garlic and lemon to the plate.
Ending on a sweet note
For dessert, I chose the baked peach with gingerbread crumble. The baked peach halves were delectably sweet and juicy, while the crumble added a tasty ginger crunch. Vanilla mascarpone, tart blackberries, and a zesty lemon balm garnish beautifully balanced the sweetness of the dish.
The friendly, attentive service, in conjunction with a breezy, sun-soaked atmosphere made for a perfect lazy Sunday lunch. Taze is a hidden gem tucked away in Sydney’s south, showcasing undeniably fresh produce in (mostly) well-designed and executed dishes.
Images courtesy of The Nuns Pool Cronulla