75 Campbell St
Surry Hills, NSW 2010
Bistecca and The Gidley are only two of the hottest new openings in Sydney in recent years, and being a massive fan of both restaurants, I immediately jumped on the newest addition to its ranks – The Rover. Unlike its predecessors, the menu here is a fancy take on a British seafood pub, rather than being centred around red meat. Also (and unfortunately) unlike its predecessors, the portions here are tiny, and you’re very likely to still be peckish after a similar per capita spend. Is it a good restaurant? Absolutely, the food is second to none, and the vibe once again hits that casually decadent note that the group is well known for. Just be prepared to shell out for it.
Rating: 14.5/20 – shell out. at a seafood restaurant. geddit???
Hot tip: make sure to order some carbs, because no amount of caviar and scallops will fill a person up.
Must-order: the cured mackerel.
The deal with fresh seafood here is that if the little buggers are tasting good, we’ll serve them. And today, that meant a Seafood Plate ($38) of mussels flavoured with brine, silken slips of scallop floating in a crisp cucumber sauce, and an enormous, succulent prawn. Props to the accompaniments as well – both the wakame mayo and Marie Rose sauce were utterly delicious, and a fantastic twist on the classics.
Mackerel gets a bad rap for being overpoweringly fishy and generally unpleasant to eat, but the Cured Mackerel, Seaweed Hot Sauce ($17) is anything but. These little fillets were firm and sweet, the flavour profile delicate yet distinct. And it’s even better with a swipe through the warm, lightly tangy, and umami-heavy sauce. Order this one – it’s utterly scrumptious.
Another staff favourite – in addition to the mackerel – is the Eel Paté, Horseradish Jelly, Glazed Crumpet ($16). And this is all smooth, creamy indulgence, spread over a buttery crumpet. Very decadent indeed.
As for mains, the Blue Eye, Red Wine Jus ($45) is a good choice. The fish was paired unconventionally with a rich sauce usually seen with red meat, yet worked remarkably well with the firm flaky fish. The only problem? IT WAS SO SMALL. Maybe three bites each all up.
The Green Beans, Sheep’s Curd, Pistachio ($14) on the other hand was surprisingly substantial, the crunchy beans coated with creamy goat’s curd and a scattering of pistachios practically enough for a main, if you had it with a side of bread.
To round things out in true Bri’ish fashion is a Stone Fruit Trifle ($16) – the juiciest peaches, plums, and apricots of the season layered with lashings of thickened cream, topped with a surprising handful of slivered almonds that added a welcome heft and crunch to each bite.