atan7 Local Star
Joined 12 January 2010 Cherrybrook, NSW
67 marked helpful 417 first time reviews
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When I have overseas guests I like to bring them here for a nice meal and a walk around George's head.
The food is homely and well presented. You often have to wait about 30minutes to get a table though and it can be very busy at times. Most seating is on the balcony but in colder months they have heaters on and blankets provided.
Beautiful, modern furniture with wooden touches and a clean feel.
If I had all the money in the world I would have grabs a few stools, a couch, a lamp, a light and a side table... Okay... I would have taken the shop. It's pretty pricey, think in the 10,000's but it really is beautiful.
Clean lines, modern, simple and chic- the entertainment units at Sydneyside are really nice. The quality is expectional too with well design soft-close drawers.
The service was a bit overwhelming and in-you-face at the Castle Hill sotre- so we ended up buying it from the CrowsNest store and was serviced by Lawrence who was understanding and courteous- guding us through all the necessary details to assist with our purchase. Our unit will come in 6-8 weeks which is pretty normal for furniture but very reasonable considering ours is custom made to order. I'll see whether I am still this impressed after I get the unit delivered and installed :)
Located near the main strip of crows nest amongst the busy restaurants is this warm, modern rustic dessert house. If you have ever been to Prague, you will recognize the tubes of doughy goodness, which are freshly baked and covered in sugar and cinnamon. Other cakes can also be purchased for $45/100g we tried a few varieties but some were a little dry. The ambience however is warm and inviting, with lots of tables to enjoy a nice chat with friends after dinner.
Chef Ashley Hughes has really opened my eyes to quality Italian cooking. A friend and went to Alio for dinner on a Monday night and decided to experience the degustation menu.
The service was impeccable- our waitress Tracey was highly knowledgable and made us feel welcome form the moments we were seated. Warm red walls and candlelights make this establishment perfect for a slow cosy meal.
Warm olives in an olive oil, rosemary and chilli dressing were quickly devoured, this was followed by a focaccia-like bread with more olive oil. Restraint was needed to ensure we had enough rooms for the degustation ahead.
A beautifully prepared rocket, fig and proscuitto salad was next, followed by a cooked salmon fillet with chickpeas and what I thought was a mild white wasabi... but was actually horseradish (very similar really)!
The best gnocchi I have ever had was then served. Soft, smooth, creamy morsels of doughy potato goodness sitting in a shallow pool of gravy...
The lamb was perfectly pink in the centre and the portions were very generous.
We were thoroughly full by this time- but our dessert stomachs were put into action.
Sweet and tangy blood orange sorbet cleanse our pallet- preparing us for the delicate vanilla bean panna cotta and poached pear (which we were convinced was soaked in red wine).
Overall, a really great experience and the hours we were in there flew past- would highly recommend the degustation menu here to anyone wanting to have a leisurely dinner with great food and service. (just wished it moved to a nicer part of town!)
A few tips- I don't think this area is suitable for families as the area has a few unsavoury characters roaming the streets and I didn't feel very safe walking to the restaurant from my car (parked about 5 mins away).
There seems to be parking at Alio- but I don't know how to get to it as it seems to have its entrance from a back street (maybe call beforehand to ask for directions- I paid for street parking)
If you are looking for the restaurant using your GPS- the suburb is 'Redfern'... 5 Baptist Street, Surry Hills- doesn't exist on my Tom Tom...