Last week my husband and I went for a restaurant review at Burke & Wills, an Australian restaurant with great reviews on Google and Yelp in the Upper West Side. Suffice to say, we were excited, me especially, as I was celebrating a 36-lb. weight loss and was going to allow myself a night of treating myself.
The menu was delicious! We had both been looking at it beforehand to make sure there were carb-free options for me – although, I was going to allow myself dessert…
We arrived at the restaurant a little early, but they had been expecting us so we had the best seat in the house. We were seated at the back of the restaurant, where they had built an extension with a glass roof. Walking through the restaurant, we could not help but notice that the restaurant was packed. A lot of couples and dates were sitting paired up.
The atmosphere was cozy, or hyggelig as I would say in Danish, mood lighting but not too dark so you could not read the menu. Australia was a clear theme of the restaurant but not in your face and had sort of merged into being a 1930s speakeasy theme. Apparently, they have a speakeasy upstairs (shhh… don’t tell anyone!).
As we sat down, we were handed our menus by our very knowledgeable server, she gave us a moment to look at the menu and when she returned we of course had lots of questions to make sure we made the right choices. We noticed that they had an extensive drink menu, due to the speakeasy upstairs. My husband was going to pair cocktails with dinner menu and she knew exactly which would go best with our food choices.
We had some plates to snacks to start: crab beignets with harissa aioli, chicken liver mousse with sweet and sour shallots, kangaroo loin, tonnato, mache, sorrel and capers. We paired these with the “Shoot the Thrill”cocktail. The chef thought he would give us another treat as well, their shishito peppers. The kangaroo loin and the peppers were my absolute favorites.
For the main dishes we had the Barramundi with broccolini, easter radish yuzu cream and allepo, and the grass-fed sirloin bavette with triple fried chips, watercress and black garlic butter. We paired this with their cocktail “beds are burning”.
My husband loved the sirloin bavette, which is an unusual cut of meat, but it was tender, and the beef flavor was very strong and tasty. I stuck to the fish as it was divine: the yuzu cream was heavenly. It was a perfect match.
For dessert we ordered the bread & butter pudding with toffee sauce, mascarpone chantilly,and hazelnuts, along with the Affogato with a brownie, Kahlua gelato, and espresso. However, we ended up with 3 desserts as the chef thought we should have a go at their new menu item: the pavlova with passionfruit cream. I was in dessert heaven, especially from having been deprived for 3 months.
This is a restaurant that perfects every single dish that comes out and their new chef, Jonathan Perez, is an up and coming star in the restaurant world. His love of his work and his passion for food shined through and that is rare to find. Welcome back to New York, Jonathan!
I could continue to write about this restaurant as there are so many stories to tell but it is already getting long. All I want to say is this: make Burke and Wills your next restaurant destination. You will not walk away disappointed!
Photos via Burke & Wills and by Socially Superlative