Oh Sydney, you funny thing. You sure know how to get excited about a new restaurant. No sooner have the doors swung open on a shiny new restaurant and you’re queuing ‘round the block or hanging desperately at the bar panting for your table.
The challenge, as I’ve discussed before, is maintaining that level of excitement. True staying power seems seriously difficult as the caravan of diners move onto the next shiny (or beautiful concrete) surface.
It’s hard not to get swept up in the buzz, so here we are perched at the bar at this gorgeously renovated new space in Foster Street. Part of its many charms is the fact that Nomad specialises in making its own salamis and cold meats, bakes their own bread, pickle and preserves its own vegetables. They have this fabulous emphasis on local produce that leaves you enthusiastically heading home wanting to plant your own herb garden (which never happens).
This evening the place is jammers with group bookings, which is a tremendous option because then you can order the ‘Feed Me Menu’ which outsources all the decision making for your evening meal to Nomad so that you focus on the important job of catching up with your friends and loved ones.
Nomad is perfect for lots of occasions – I’ve done romantic dinners, work lunch, girlie catch-ups so far and have earmarked it for birthday gatherings, entertaining out-of-towners and celebrating the delivery of my next project or dodging my next work-induced mental breakdown (whatever comes first). Versatile.
Given the effort that the Nomad team go to make their own charcuterie it seems rude of us not to order. Yum, scrum is probably the most succinct description I can give for these gorgeous little piles of pork.
Before I know which way is up the waiter and the ‘Sous Chef’ seem to be in cahoots and a piping hot plate of Smoked Pork Empanadas are heading to our table. (Trying to introduce a pork limit on the ‘Sous Chef’ is proving useless.)
Nomad could set up shop in the CBD handing out pork empanadas as a community service to the holiday party revellers who have accepted their Xmas bonus in liquid form at the annual office shindig. A single one of these deep fried beauties will correct any alcoholic wrongs caused by over consumption. What I’m saying is – order these.
Our waiter recommends a delicious, hearty, kick in the pants shiraz which makes me wonder why I’ve been pinot gris’ing my life away.
The lamb dish with eggplant I’ve ordered almost every time I’ve visited. It’s a crowd pleasing, generous pile of meat served with a hearty stew of eggplant and a dollop of local yoghurt.
Our second dish is also a popular choice for us, the Nomad Jersey Milk Haloumi with BBQ zucchini and mint.
Nomad also very elegantly treats its vegetable dishes such as the BBQ Carrots with Dukkah and Labne which makes your own home-made sides seem a little lack lustre.
Even after multiple visits I haven’t made it quite as far as dessert. Guess I’ll have to go back.
Love the space. Love the service. Love the food. I, for one, am hopeful that this place is here for the long haul.
16 Foster Street, Surry Hills | +61 2 9280 3395