On a recommendation from a colleague, we ventured a bit further past our usual CBD areas for food by taking a stroll over to Woolloomoolloo to try out Riley Street Garage, housed in an art deco building. From the moment we stepped into the cavernous space, we were impressed by both the industrial chic decor and the attentive service. The name is a nod to the space’s past life as a garage (it was Frank Lowy’s garage at one stage apparently) – they play up history with some garage themed wall art sprinkled here and there, but the main attraction is the huge bar with seating that sits in the middle of the restaurant like an alcoholic island.
We are seated off to the side at one of the tables (a bit of a snug fit between tables in that area) and before we know it, we’re tucking into some plump Pacific oysters with 2 types of dressing – a smoky soy truffle which is tangy with great depth of flavour and the more acidic mignonette which features vinegar and onions. I prefer the smoky soy truffle dressing, which brings out the sweetness of the oysters, served chilled on a bed of ice.
Smoky soy truffle oysters and mignonette oysters, $4 each
Our next treat is from the “Bites” menu and is a rather fancy looking gourmet interpretation of a chorizo corn dog, daintily planted in a smear of dijon mayo. The exterior of the corn dog is slightly fluffy as expected and the meaty innards are tasty too, especially with the tangy dijon mayo.
Chorizo corn dogs, $4 each
Next up was the Queensland Spanner Crab risotto with preserved lemon, which wasn’t a particularly large serving but still managed to fill us up. The shredded spanner crab flesh wasn’t all that apparent, although we enjoyed watching the bonito flakes on top dancing as they melted into the risotto. The risotto itself was quite creamy with some hints of zest from the preserved lemon.
Queensland Spanner Crab Risotto, $26
Our other chosen main was the 200gm Grilled miso salmon with tomato and fennel. I was expecting the miso to be infused into the salmon, but instead the elements were separated into a perfectly grilled, medium rare salmon fillet (still moist on the inside), paired with a smear of sweet miso on the side and a tomato salsa.
200gm Grilled Miso Salmon, $28
We highly recommend the Truffled Mash as a side; it is one of the smoothest mashes we’ve ever had and oh so addictive, with indulgent notes of truffle laced through to elevate it to the next level.
Truffled Mash, $9
Our other side was the Grilled Mushrooms which were big and juicy, having absorbed the sweet sherry garlic sauce, but it just couldn’t compare to the deliciousness of the Truffled Mash for the same price.
Grilled Mushrooms, $9
We enjoyed our meal at Riley Street Garage. It’s hit the sweet spot for mid-range dining with a trendy, yet unpretentious fitout and quality food at prices that aren’t too steep considering the calibre of the dishes.