I love travelling and writing, meeting people and experiencing foodie places.
Published May 6th 2016
Good value three course meal
Driving through the gorgeous landscaped gardens of Ryde TAFE, we arrive at the Ambassador Restaurant located within the Ryde Hospitality Training School. I have dined at the Ambassador Restaurant several times for lunches and dinners and never been disappointed. This restaurant is a training environment for hospitality and culinary students to develop their skills under the watchful eye of the restaurant's maitre d'.
A friend asked that I accompany her for a $10 meal. I was gobsmacked. A three course meal for $10? Unbelievable. The catering school's three course meals are always good value but a $10 meal is very unusual. The cost for a delicious three course meal is often $25 lunch without drinks, or $30 including drinks; dinner is $35 with drinks included. Lunches and dinners are set menus but each week, the speciality cuisine changes. There is Australian Modern cuisine as well as Le Cordon Bleu French cuisine. The Ambassador's High Tea is served twice a term for $30, without drinks. A buffet dinner for $35 including drinks would entice me to venture out this winter. As well as these foodie incentives, the Ambassador also creates an 8 Course Degustation Dinner for $65 with drinks. If these meals are not enough temptation then there is, drum roll please, a 3 hour Chocolate Degustation for $65 drinks included. Approximately 40 guests are allocated for each sitting and bookings fill quickly. Payment is required at the time of booking.
There is parking outside the catering school's building. My friend and I took the lift to the 4th floor. Guests mingled in the carpeted foyer outside the restaurant prior to the doors opening at 12 noon. A very capable and smiling hospitality student led us to our table. It is a spacious restaurant with elongated windows to view the greenery outside and allowing natural light to fill the restaurant. Once seated, their speciality baked bread arrived. I have always been impressed with the flavour and variety of their breads. Our waiter handed us the menu pointing out the delicious choices that will soon arrive at our table. There are two choices for each course: entrée, main and dessert. The hard part is deciding who eats which delicious portion. After the waiter notes our choice, a plate with an attractive starter arrived. Kingfish Ceviche on a crunchy lavosh. This petite mouthful was bliss.
The mains arrived soon after. My friend chose the Wild Barramundi with Tomato Chutney & Lemon Myrtle Mayo and I chose the Pan-Roasted Lamb Rump with Hommus and House-made Haloumi. The presentation of each dish was stunning and the meals were full of flavour.
Wild Barramundi with Tomato Chutney - Photo by Faye
After this the desserts were placed on our table. My friend chose the Praline Semifredo with Sangria Poached Pear and Port Reduction and I chose the Apple & Almond Tart with Calvados Icecream which had an attractive spun topping. The students at the catering school are impressive with their creativity.
Praline Semifredo with Sangria Poached Pear - Photo by Faye
At the end of our meals, the students emerged from the kitchen and mingled with the diners, requesting feedback on their performance. But wait, there's more. Diners were then asked if they would like tea or coffee (Earl Grey tea was $2.50). These were served with Petit Fours (no extra charge). There were melt-in-the-mouth chocolate balls, delicious orange cakes and shortbread biscuits (we wrapped ours in tissue to savour later).
Ryde TAFE also has courses for beginners through to advanced cooks at the Australian Patisserie Academy. Some of their courses cover Cake Design, Patissserie, Chocolate or Bread. Check website for details.
This is one restaurant not to miss. It has a permanent place on my bucket list.