Boyfriend was also lucky enough to score an invite as my guest.
I have to admit, I’d never been to Palings when it was Mad Cow before it was Palings, but the new Palings Kitchen and Bar is a really awesome space. It’s designed like a huge open beer garden full of plants and wooden tables. There are funky light fittings hanging from the ceiling and the sides of the whole space are lined with bars. A Thai canteen stands in one corner. The idea behind it, we’re told, is a place where everyone can go. The food is affordable and the atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming. Of course it still has that trendy Ivy vibe but in an accessible, happy-to-have-you-here kind of way.
In addition to getting to sample the amazing food of Head Chef Christopher Whitehead and pastry chef Lorraine Godsmark, this dinner was a great chance to meet and chat with some fellow food bloggers. I’m not going to lie – food bloggers are SUPER nice. I had such a great time meeting everyone – Simon from Simon’s Food Favourites (special thanks to Simon for fixing my camera and not judging my absolute rookie DSLR skills), Christina from Mr and Mrs Romance, Alvin from Cinnamon Pig as well as some others I sadly didn’t get a great chance to talk to much – Ms Darlinghurst, Sir and M’Lady Dine Out and French Wench.
We also got the chance to meet Christopher Whitehead, who was very friendly and approachable and gave Boyfriend some cooking tips.
We kick off with a couple of cocktails, served in super tall, skinny carafes.
I can’t quite remember what the cocktails were but they were both delicious and very easy to drink.
And now for the real reason we’re all here.
We had our very own special ‘Bloggers’ Dinner’ menu which has been specially designed to ensure we get to try as much as possible off the new Palings menu.
This was a surprisingly enjoyable combination and it’s something I’d definitely want to try again.
I’m a big fan of watermelon and feta salad. I’ve never tried it with pistachios before but they were a great addition and this was a very tasty, refreshing salad.
Who would have thought a cheese toastie would a. appear on a dinner menu and b. taste so freaking good?
This cheese toastie which we shared as part of our entree feast was incredible. Of course I only had a quarter of it, so I’m not sure how I’d go eating a whole one given the richness of the dish. If you were attempting to eat a whole one on your own (totally doable, I’m sure), you’d definitely be needing that salad to cut through it.
Mm-mmm. You had me at croquette. These croquettes were so good. Crispy on the outside, soft and gooey and packed with flavour on the inside.
Southern fried chicken wings, ranch dressing
It’s just occurred to me that I never actually got to try these chicken wings. They must have been good because they disappeared fast!
I am a HUGE arancini fan and these ticked all the right boxes.
I’ve never eaten eel before and it never really appealed to me but I decided to give it a go. I found the flavour delicious but I wasn’t too keen on the texture. Boyfriend also hadn’t eaten eel before and he loved this dish.
All the entrees were so delicious it was difficult to refrain myself from going overboard but the impending mains, sides AND selection of desserts helped me master self-control.
We were all told to choose our own main from the menu and that sides would be brought to the table to share.
Boyfriend and I played it strategically and ordered a different dish each so we could try as much as possible. (FYI: this is ALWAYS our strategy. It took me a long time to convince Boyfriend but he saw the light eventually). So, we ordered a steak and fish to keep it interesting.
It’s always great when you receive a piece of tender, perfectly cooked steak.
It’s even better when that juicy, tender piece of steak comes with capsicum stuffed with my favourite carb, potatoes. I could have died of happiness.
The green sauce was also just delicious.
The grilled fish of the day turned out to be a Mahi Mahi which sold Boyfriend and I almost instantly as Mahi Mahi brings back happy memories of eating seafood overseas.
This piece of Mahi Mahi didn’t disapppoint. It was flavoursome and perfectly cooked. The side of potato salad was a real treat.
We also got to have a peek at what the others ordered and whilst I didn’t try everyone else’s dinner, I did manage to take a few snaps. Everyone seemed to thoroughly enjoy their dinner.
This pork snitty is as good as it looks. Yes, I tried it. Eating the food of someone I’ve only met a few hours earlier isn’t a problem for me. And hey, he offered.
It doesn’t stop there!
We were also treated to a range of scrumptious side dishes.
We were told that these potatoes are made by boiling them in a pot until the water runs dry. This forms the salty crust around the potatoes while keeping them soft and delicious on the inside.
Next up was a selection of desserts from the very talented Lorraine Godsmark.
I am almost as excited writing about this now as I was when I got to eat it all. It was the most fantastically overwhelming dessert experience of my life.
Every single dessert I sampled was incredible. If I had to pick a favourite, I think I’d have to go with the rhubarb pie. It was the right amount of tart and sweet and I enjoyed every mouthful. Which admittedly, was only a couple of mouthfuls. I was so full by this point in time.
I ended up rolling home, full the max and very content.
The Ivy crew, SBPR crew and fellow food bloggers were such great company and all the food (and drinks) were incredible. It made for a wonderful evening and I’d definitely recommend Palings as a place to stop in after work for drinks and/or dinner or for lunch with friends or colleagues. If Palings was a little bit closer to my office, I’d probably be a regular.
Would I go back? For sure. There are many, many dishes calling my name.