SoCal has been open for less than a year but is already a hit with Sydneysiders all over. Nestled just off the busy Military Rd, Neutral, they bring to the area a southern Californian surf vibe and theme featuring lots of bite-sized eats (perfect for sharing!) and cocktails too. They’re owned by the same guys who opened The Botanist and the last time I visited SoCal, I absolutely loved their food! This time I’m visiting on a Tuesday as part of a food bloggers social event and it’s near packed out – pretty impressive for a weeknight.
Corn Chips with pico de gallo, corn salsa & guacamole – $12
We kickstart the night with some corn chips. The salsas/guacamole are served in tiny jars and it’s hard to squeeze the corn chip through the opening, but I find it easier to just use my fork to scoop the sides. It’s great to nibble on and super tasty if you get all three sides on as the tomatoes, corn and guacamole all complement each other beautifully.
Crab & Sopressatta Tostadas – $20
Next are some small tostadas (fried tortilla) containing a heap of crab and sopressatta (salami). There’s quite a lot of crab (great value!) but I find that the salty salami overpowers this – would be good to have less salt or seasoning on this dish.
Chicken Sliders with avocado & sopressata – $4 for 20
After this are some cute sliders containing marinated chicken breast and a generous portion of avocado which seeps out when you bite into it. This time the sopressata adds a nice spicy component, pairing up well with the chicken.
Seared Salmon with broccolini, chilli & coriander salsa verde – $20
Mains start coming out next including the salmon which has conveniently been portioned into quarters for our table. It’s been cooked well with tender flesh and crispy skin, but lacks flavour – there’s no chilli apparent and although the salsa verde is delicious, there’s only a small dollop per salmon piece and it simply isn’t enough!
Slow roasted lamb shoulder on faro, freekeh, quinoa & kale – $22
We get the lamb shoulder next which is soft and tender but tastes over seasoned and salty. I also don’t like how it’s served on a bed of faro and quinoa which has soaked up all the juices, leaving it salty as well – not my preferred dish.
Charred scotch fillet & chimmichurri, sliced to share – $24
Our last main for the night is the scotch fillet which is served to us medium rare. It’s been cooked really well and the chimmichurri adds heaps of flavour – think fresh parsley, garlic, capsicum and onions. It’s also served with a side mushroom salad which contains braised beans and is tossed lightly with a spicy vinaigrette.
Chocolate, Pistachio & Tequila Brownie with Chipotle Cream – $12 (menu special)
To round off the night, we’re served some brownies for dessert. They’re rich and the chipotle cream is smoky, adding an interesting spicy aftertaste to the dessert. There are also pistachios hidden throughout the brownie adding some texture but I can’t taste the tequila (I assume it has evaporated away).
In my opinion, the food was much better the last time I visited SoCal as my dining experience this time was an up and down journey with some very average dishes (some bland, some too salty). Based off my last visit, I would highly recommend trying the salmon carpaccio, tater tots, tacos, BBQ pork ribs and churros though – all were massive ticks in my books!
Excuse Me Waiter dined as guests of SoCal
1 Young St Neutral Bay, Sydney NSW 2089
Ph:(02) 9904 5691