Blackout brightens up Lindfield

    Chef Kunal Tandale
    Chef Kunal Tandale

    New owners have amped up the menu

    There’s little doubt the North Shore is crying out for cool bars like the ones populating Crows Nest and the inner city. That said, Kiplings in Turramurra gets it right if you can ace a table.

    There’s enough cash sloshing around the North Shore and plenty of thirst – what’s stopping bar owners from having a crack?

    Thankfully someone has – in July Blackout in Lindfield was taken over by new owners. With them comes a fresh menu with some unusual additions showcasing chef’s global background.

    Blackout is a potent mix – tapas and live music. And if you want a cocktail, there’s plenty of those on offer too.

    Previous owners had, by Tripadvisor accounts, let the place slide into a desperate culinary wilderness, so we were keen to see if an injection of fresh talent had turned its fortunes around.

    Former restaurant manager, Brazilian Ana Tandale, is front of house while chef husband Mumbai-born Kunal, who’s Cordon Bleu trained and has worked in some of the top hotel restaurants in town, prepares modern tapas behind the scenes.

    It’s a Friday night when we visit – bare brick walls, soft industrial lighting, cosy tables, a long bar and some live music greet us. With all the right ingredients, it soons fills up. Word has got out.

    From an international selection of 16 tapas that took us around the world, we started with mini stuffed crisp savoury donuts – light creations not unlike puri, which were filled with potatoes and chickpeas as well as tamarind and cardamom – served cold and surprisingly delicious.

    Then a rapid succession of some over-zealous ordering, including delicate, lightly battered ricotta filled zucchini flowers, crunchy polenta chips with aioli, and a highlight – the Goan fish taco.

    It was here chef’s Indian roots shone, the spiced barramundi perfectly balanced in a delicate little roti-like circle of wrap bread with a pineapple and cucumber salsa, charred corn and sour cream. This was a wonderful, funky concoction with just the right amount of zingy heat, which earned the sobriquet “Mexico meets Maharaja” from fellow diner Ben.

    Equally as thoughtfully created were the tender fried baby squid, seared scallops on a parsnip puree and the San Choy Baw meatballs done Greek style.

    Our meander down the dessert lane resulted in a sensational quartet of churros stuffed with salted caramel, tossed in cinnamon sugar. Finishing off with coffees would have made it ideal but they’re not doing post-prandial hot drinks – yet.

    Don’t expect to walk away replete from an evening of tapas dining – it’s little more than delicious single (or two) mouthfuls on each plate. That said it’s perfect if you fancy an evening of drinks with friends in a relaxed setting, with some delicious light food to accompany them.

    A sommelier-selected wine list includes great choices from South Africa, Italy and South America, while cocktails range from a zingy Lychee Passion to a Dark and Stormy.

    And the music? Murray James on Friday nights lights up the place with Johnny Cash, Oasis, Amy Winehouse and Ed Sheeran covers while on Saturday Portia Briana entertains diners.

    This little gem is a long overdue addition to the North Shore restaurant and bar scene – visit it now before various housing developments in the area mean it may next year be swamped and tables scarce as hen’s teeth.

    A selection of tapas
    A selection of tapas
    Coconut rolls with ginger and mustard seeds tempering
    Coconut rolls with ginger and mustard seeds tempering
    Tempura Zucchini Flowers
    Tempura Zucchini Flowers

    Box: The lowdown
    The Blackout:
    Open for dinner Tuesday to Saturday from 5pm to 11pm.
    From this month also open for breakfast and lunch on weekends
    Sophisticated international tapas and cocktails
    Tapas plates range from $5 to $11.
    Live music on Friday and Saturday nights.
    304 Pacific Hwy, Lindfield. Tel: 9416 9172

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