At Upper East Side they’re all about local and seasonal flavours that feed both the body and soul, with a focus on providing diners with a lifestyle experience. On first impressions the decor is perfect – when you walk into a Bondi mainstay, you expect to feel relaxed and at ease, and Upper East Side does just this. The addition of chilled music in the background and fairy lights lining the roof are a nice touch.
The menu here is quite big, with an extensive selection of snacks, shared plates and also desserts. There’s a mix of cuisines, ranging from dishes with Asian flavours, to even some European classics. Equally as impressive is the drinks menu, which has a list of delicious-sounding cocktails set to make your choice more difficult.
The Reggae Got Soul cocktail was fresh and crisp; a mix of refreshing watermelon, zingy lime, basil and a tang of perfectly balanced gin. However the Girl From Ipanema had to be my favourite of the two. It was extremely easy to drink and had a beautiful fruity flavour thanks to zingy passionfruit and lemon. I could have had 20! And bonus, it’s seriously photogenic.
Then came the food… It all looked so delicious and inviting and we couldn’t decide where to start.
Cauliflower is one of those underrated vegetables that no one ever really likes, but the cauliflower dish was one of my favourites of the meal. Mixed with white tamarind and soy, the cauliflower was meaty, slightly crispy and extremely tasty – a great starter.
A scallop carpaccio looked stunning and was laid out on the plate with touches of dill, baby corn and cured cucumber – it looked just like a little garden. When you mixed all the ingredients in one mouthful it was a flavour bomb, and a textural delight – super fresh and light.
I always get excited when I see beef tartare on a menu, as it’s one of my favourite starters. So when the waiter recommended we order it, I couldn’t wait to try it – and it didn’t disappoint. Layered in a bowl with artichoke, grapes and toasted barley it was another crowd pleaser.
Now to the pork belly. Who doesn’t like crispy, juicy pork belly? It was tender, succulent and the skin was just crispy enough – but the highlight of this dish had to be the smoked mash potato. *insert drooling emoji*
Overall, Upper East Side was most definitely one of the best restaurants I’ve been to in Sydney. The food was amazing, the drinks sensational and the atmosphere absolutely perfect.
-Arielle O’Neill / @yumsydney. The writer was hosted at Upper East Side for the purposes of a review, but no payment was furnished. Images: Arielle O’Neill.