It has been standing in its magnificent Edwardian splendour for more decades than most of us care to remember.
The Greengate has recently been reinvented and we were invited to come and review the Terrace restaurant’s new menu, served in its revamped dining room. Having hung out there as a teenager and never having grabbed more than hot chips as blotting paper, I was curious to know how the restaurant would stack up.
First the decor. The dining space has received a recent refurbishment, and as it was nine years since the last, it was timely. Gone are the plastic banquettes and what’s in its place is a refined interior lit with subtlety and overseen by the magnificent circular bulkhead with a nod to 1940s late Art Deco, when the place was built.
People come for cocktails, lunch or a three course dinner. Much of the cuisine is gluten and lactose-free, making it accessible to a wide cross section of diners.
The chef may be the same – Robert O’Callaghan has been here since 2015 – but the cuisine has also had an revamp.
“It’s a more produce driven menu,” explains Manager Brett Windely, “with freshly shucked oysters, wild Barramundi from WA and Ranger’s Valley rump from North Queensland.”
The menu is not vast, but varied enough to satisfy most tastes. My dining companions and I are seated and served by Brett, whose knowledge of wine was second to none.
Entrees we chose included nettle risotto with bee pollen – a pretty pale green affair with no sting, tons of flavour and prettily finished with lavender and bee pollen. My English, sprout-loving husband went for the shredded Brussel sprouts, with baby cos and mushrooms – a crunchy, fresh salad, while friends opted for Hiramana kingfish sashimi with baby beets and finished unusually but senationally with passionfruit which added a citrus element but not the obvious one. All the dishes were thoughtful, well-executed and delicious.
My main of Cone Bay barramundi was succulent with a perfectly cooked crispy skin and accompanied by the best Romesco sauce I’ve ever tasted. The roast spatchcock was well cooked though a little plain in presentation, while the prawn fettuccine with lemon and chilli ticked all the boxes of contrasting flavours of acid and protein and pretty as a picture and described as “zappy” by my friend. The last main – the chargrilled Darling Downs sirloin, was executed perfectly and had its carnivorous recipient savouring every medium rare mouthful, as well as the salsa verde sharing the plate.
Other mains you could try include the vegetarian option of roast pumpkin with pearl barley and goats curd, beer battered fish and chips and a shared plate of lamb shoulder. What is good about this menu is the variety – some familiar staples like the f’n’c, as well as some surprises like the nettle risotto…or the dessert!
This was heaven for the sweet-toothed: a thinly sliced pineapple carpaccio with a coconut sorbet and hint of chili which was a masterful symphony of flavours and textures and a delight to behold, as well as a knockout chocolate tart – a milk and dark chocolate combination with a shiny ganache finish. Dessert was accompanied by a 2017 Frogmore Creek dessert wine from Tasmania, a clever partnering for the puddings orchestrated by Brett.
Chef Robert’s aspiration to turn the Greengate Terrace “into a foodie destination” has been fulfilled if the cuisine we sampled was anything to go by. And that the place is packed every lunchtime also seems to prove this.
The service deserves a mention: it is faultless. Wait staff know their dishes and their ingredients. Everyone smiles and is impeccably polite.
The Greengate Terrace is unpretentious and perfectly suited to the area, one where patrons would expect quality, freshness and a degree of modernity. It has elevated this grand old lady from just somewhere you can grab an easy meal and may have forgotten it in a week, to one where the food resonates on the palate and lingers in the mind so that you must, some time soon, return again.
THE GREENGATE TERRACE
Where: Pacific Highway, Killara
Tel: 9496 7222
Open: Monday to Saturday 12 noon to 10pm