Something good is happening on the eastern end of Clevelend Street in Surry Hills. Something real good. Between the well-established Indian eateries (some of Sydney’s best Indian restaurants, mind you), a number of small bars and restaurants are setting up shop. Joining the likes of Vasco, Black Penny, Napoli Nel Cuore, and Sushi Uo, is Dragoncello—the recently opened Surry Hills restaurant and bar. Naturally, we had to see what was going on.
Roy McVeigh is at the helm of this delicious restaurant and bar. Having earned his stripes at high end Sydney restaurants including Berowra Waters Inn and Bathers Pavilion, as well as in kitchens overseas, McVeigh says he wanted to open his own restaurant where he could create his own, unique menu. And what a unique menu it is!
The food is typically modern Australian, but you can see some Asian influences in some of his dishes—particularly in the scallop sashimi with elderflower mousse and cucumber, pumpkin pot stickers and the 62 degree egg with pea puree and smoked eel dashi. The dishes range from smallish bar bites to larger mains, all of which are designed to share—a concept we’re completely down with as we can try more dishes and, really, what’s not to like about that?
First up, we try the port and poultry pâté with pain d’Épice (French spiced bread) and chamomile jelly. It’s seriously one of the best things we’ve eaten in a while. The pâté is perfectly savoury and smooth and the sprinkling of slightly gingerbready breadcrumbs with the sweet chamomile jelly tastes like a fancy French party in our mouths (an entirely good thing).
We then sample the zucchini and green peas with lots of flowers and parmesan broth. Yes, the menu actually says “lots of flowers”, which actually makes for a highly ‘grammable dish. After you take all the necessary photos for Instagram (trust us, you’ll want to), pour the steaming Parmesan broth over the bowl and watch your dish turn into a very pretty soup. To put it simply, this dish was damn delicious—the salty creaminess of the parmesan broth and the sweetness of the zucchini and flowers (not to mention what a joy it was to stuff little flowers into our mouths) was a little bit of heaven for our tastebuds.
Finally, we were lucky enough to sample a new menu item—so new that it hasn’t even made it onto the pages of the menu yet! We were warned by Roy that this dessert was a little crazy, but actually worked. At first it looked to be blue cheese with a few little accoutrements. These accompaniments were, in fact, chilli chocolate sauce, quince paste, pickled marigold with… Wait for it… Pork crackling. Yes, it’s a little confusing at first, but Roy was right – it works.
Alongside the cracking food menu, the offerings from the bar should not be missed. With experimental cocktails like the traditional mojito that’s made with a native mint from their own garden as well as an apple and pine needle caipirinha all sound like a great idea. If wine is your thing, you’ve come to the right place—there is a solid selection of wines to accompany your food (or vice versa).
We’re super excited to have some great new talent hit this part of Surry Hills and can’t wait to see what Chef Roy McVeigh has in store for us. Word on the street is that Dragoncello will be opening a restaurant area upstairs where we’ll be able to see even more of his unique creations. Now, where are our edible flowers?