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Buzo Restaurant

A relaunch is always exciting. What are they going to do this time, former diners want to know? Popular the first time round, with Buzo's reopening in late 2015, Woollahra-ites, and those further afield, let out a satisfied sigh. 

Owners Mark Campbell and Phillip Fikkers are also the proprietors of the iconic Macleay St. Bistro, which has been part of the Paris end of Potts Point restaurant scene for 32 years. It's clear that they have read the local diners right, by appointing rising star on the Sydney food scene, chef, Jason Dean (ex-Gastro Park, ex-Bentley) to implement the restaurant's evolution into modern European cuisine. Chef Dean boasts a wealth of international experience working in Michelin Star, two Rosette and three hat restaurants.

Our reservation was for Sunday lunch in this sunny, leafy, inner-Eastern Sydney suburb. Just take a look at the Sunday specials, posted outside!

The décor of the restaurant is light and bright, and our table beside a window overlooking the street was flooded with sunshine, and we basked in its winter warmth. 

For those on the go, or with smaller appetites, the bar menu is ideal. From 5pm Tuesday to Saturday, a range of cocktails is nicely paired with nibbles such as Iggy’s bread and butter (above), oysters, and pickled red cabbage crackers, or heartier offerings including pressed pork shoulder, scallop carpaccio, or grilled octopus with chorizo and chickpeas. Of course, some diners go straight to cheese lavosh and grapes or maybe dessert. It’s all good.

 

Have a peek at this menu. I  dare you to read it and not to have your mouth watering by the end. Check out the most affordable prices too on this winter menu.

Enjoy the video of our visit

The scallop carpaccio, pickled baby corn, cured cucumber and dill is a colour-coordinated beauty. Here the baby corn is grilled. but there is also creamed corn dotted around the dish. We are to learn that this delivery of an ingredient in a couple of guises is one of Chef Jason Dean ‘s trademarks.            

So we are not surprised to find that the cauliflower cheese, pickled mushroom, and job’s tear risotto, has wafers of cauliflower core as a visual accent, underlining the main ingredient. Because of the season, it also came topped with wafers of fresh black truffle from Manjimup in Western Australia, and was utterly delightful. Vegetarians will be ecstatic to know about this dish.

Like the food, at first glance, the restaurant’s fit-out appears deceptively simple. Yet there are nuances and touches which elevate it into something very special. This mirror was transported from Italy, and adds antique charm.

The fish dish on the day we dined was steamed snapper with Jerusalem artichoke, red cabbage and broccolini and lemon. See if you can see how Chef Dean has used both the Jerusalem artichoke and the red cabbage in two ways. Of course, the picture only tells you so much. The snapper was meltingly tender and flavourful, while the Jerusalem artichoke’s unusual and distinctive flavour was a perfect match for the fish, foiled by the sweetness of the cabbage.

That is the chef’s other great skill an intuitive understanding of flavour, and a professional knowledge of the best ways to maximise and showcase that. There is a dish of salt flakes on the table, but it goes without saying, they were not needed. Our chef’s palate has perfect pitch.

The other main player in  making our lunch so successful was, of course, the Maître de, Stephen Laing, formerly of Cho Cho San, who has created an approachable wine list with favourite Italian varietals to complement the new menu.  

For those who want to bring their own bottles to the table, BUZO offers BYO on Wednesday nights only, an evolutionary concept in the Woollahra-Paddington dining set. You will see Stephen on the video.

But we hadn’t finished eating. Our final (well, almost final) dish was perfectly grilled spice-coated lamb rump, served with a golden swirl of pumpkin, parmesan and, a surprise addition, roasted baby cos lettuce. I made a note to plan not to eat before my next visit here!

Dessert? How could we refuse. But we begged to be allowed to share just one serving. It came as picture-pretty as the others. This time balls of malt  banana parfait were cushioned on coconut yoghurt, with white chocolate and blueberries, and shards of a toffee nut crunch.

Instead of the dishes we had enjoyed so much, we could have had BUZO’s six-course shared Evolutionary menu designed for those wanting to experience the culmination of the evolution of BUZO. Regularly $75, the Evolution menu is available for $60 only on Tuesday nights.

Evolution it surely is, but we felt we had been privileged to also taste the creation of a great new restaurant in Sydney, and the premiere of a fine kitchen and front-of-house team.

BUZO, 3 Jersey Road, Woollahra. Open for dinner Tuesday to Saturday from 5pm until midnight and lunch on Sunday from 12noon until 4.00pm.  Lunch is also available seven days by appointment for groups. Reservations can be made by calling +61 2 9328 1600 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it /.

 

- reviewed by Sally Hammond

Video: ©Gordon Hammond

 

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