Chase Oyster Bar - Chatswood, Sydney
Catching up with long time friends is important. To be able to do so with enjoyable dining is a privilege. To have reasonably good food, in relatively quiet ambience, and to also have delightful conversation, is a pleasure.
The Chase Oyster Bar offers more than the name suggests. Chef Paul Della Marta has a wide varied menu that combines both French and Italian cuisine. On the Sunday evening that we sampled his fare, the guinea fowl had run out - I reckoned it must be popular, but was the only game on the menu. Paul's abilities in cuisine dining surpasses the location of his restaurant, next door to a food court and a competitor that thrives on turnover, snacks and different pricing. The location does not fully reveal Paul's promise and delivery, nor positions them for his potential market of his genre.
I was delighted to find attractive pricing for the quality of the food coming out from the kitchen of Chef Paul. Seafood, soups, pates, risottos, salads, pastas, meats, desserts, breads and drinks are made available in the menu. The service by the sole waiting staff that night was efficient and given without fuss. We commenced with a selection of oysters on the shell - Kilpatrick, Thermidor, Mornay, etc. Some of the flavourings used did overwhelm the essentially subtle nature of the oysters. I loved the refreshing texture of the bread rolls, though, with or without butter.
The mains were better. I absolutely loved my choice of the duck roulade. it was not fatty, the inside fillings were just right and the serving was generous. The accompanying carrot and green bean slices were fresh, sweet and appetizing. We had also requested a common plate of stir fried vegetables, which were well done enough to add to my mains. I quickly forgot about missing the guinea fowl once I tucked into the duck. Wendy had a choice of seafood grilled with garlic jus. Daniel had suggested that I should have a beer and I was glad to take him up on that. He had the tortellini with Ausi blue swimmer crab in bisque. I must say my preoccupation with my duck made me forget what Celine had for mains, or was it when another friend Cindy came to say hello with his young daughter after they had finished their meal at the next door New Shanghai Cafe.
Celine did have the same choice of dessert as mine - the unmistakeable test of the cream brûlée, presented with a wholesome surface tarnished with aromatic brown caramelised shades and with a consistent custard feel inside. The strawberry was at the height of current seasonal voluptuousness, in contrast to the mild flavours of the dollop of ice cream placed on the other end of the long and flat serving plate. Daniel had the sesame and green tea flavoured ice cream. Wendy did well with a rather delicate ricotta cheesecake slice, maybe more ricotta than cake.
The night outside hung with a nippy bite in the air, as Chatswood folded into a quiet Sunday's end. Chef Paul had changed into mufti by the time we waved goodbye to him and left. Here was a beam of Euro and modern Australian dining in a suburb increasingly dominated by Asian variations of cooking. I enjoyed a place where there was no rush on your eating pace. I had discovered a refuge where Australian produce and ingredients were utilized to create dishes from continental traditions - and where I could still find the battered fish.