There's a lot to like about Watts on Crown. For a start there's the location. Watts on Crown might be on busy Crown Street but it doesn't feel like it. It's between the worlds of the celebrity chef end and the crowded café end. There is the intriguing artistic décor and then there's the challenging thoroughly modern Australian menu. A mixture of classic dishes prepared and served with love. A combination of contrasting flavours and generous and fresh ingredients that makes every dish interesting.
Chef Hamish Watts has worked with the best. He's been through the Rockpool school and in London at Kensington Place.
We're wamly greeted and taken upstairs. Ms Pam and I decide to sample a range of dishes on the menu so we don't leave without knowing what Watts is about.
After seeing it prepared on Masterchef a number of times I thought I better try a Ceviche. Mr. Watts' Ceviche with seaweed and sesame salad, wasabi dressing was an intriguing combination of ingredient and flavours. It won't be the only time I will have my pallet challenged tonight.
The Grilled Quail with eggplant ragout, yoghurt and crisp basil is the tastiest dish so far. I pick at this dish very slowly to truly appreciate the challenging combination of ingredients. It proves to be Ms Pam's favourite for the night.
The Roast Pink Ling fillet with pumpkin puree, golden baby beetroot, silver beet and almond, thyme, lemon dressing has the longest dish name on the menu but doesn't take long to eat. The fish is delicate and the golden baby beetroot a real surprise.
If I thought the quail was a challenging combination of ingredients and flavours, the Roast Kangaroo with rhubarb, beetroot puree, warrigal greens and agro dolce sauce is a truly memorable dish. Yes, amazingly, it all works although between you and me and Ms Pam, we like our roo with a seared crust on the outside and still hopping inside. The sprinkle of macadamia nuts combines excellently with the roo, sauce and the under appreciated native warrigal greens.
A side serving of duck fat potatoes, cauliflower cheese and sweet corn with café de Paris butter fill any gaps athough by this stage, my gauge is pointing above full.
Nevertheless, ignoring the full gauge, two desserts are ordered and a good thing, too, as both are better than delicious.
Passionfruit Bavarois with marshmallow and coconut tuille and the Poached Nectarine with meringue, macadamia nuts, caramel sauce and whipped cream both looked sensational on the plate and tasted as good as they looked. We descend the stairs slowly as we both certainly weigh a lot more than when we arrived. We pass the open kitchen and compliment the chefs on a job well done. We now know Watts on Crown.