Bowery Lane, CBD

This is a place, as always, that wasn’t originally on our list of things to try, I think its quite new actually. Looks like it has only been open for a few months or so. I was going out to catch up with my sister whilst I was up in Sydney, and since she knows Sydney, we were struggling to find a nice place that she hadn’t tried before. It was actually thanks to the very awesome Sweet & Yummy that we found out about Bowery Lane! We saw a couple of the dishes on their Instagram and knew we had to try it. Luckily for us, we managed to grab a 6.30pm booking for four people.

The menu at Bowery Lane isn’t massive, there’s only a couple of options for each course but we ended up staring at it for ages, trying to figure out how much we could fit into our tummies. Bowery Lane is clearly focused on good American dining, and to be honest, I was a little bit hesitant to go here. After LP’s Quality Meats, Hartsyard, and Soda Factory I was a bit American’d out, and couldn’t really take much more.

As soon as we walked in, we knew we were in for a really authentic evening, everything screamed New York, even the sign above is pretty American (look at how they say lane!) Bit of a spoiler alert here, but this place was absolutely fantastic. Bowery Lane is American in design, and flavours, their menu items scream American cooking, but they push towards a cleaner, and heartier side as opposed to greasy death trap American like fried chicken and waffles. Now you know me, I’m all for greasy death trap American, but this was definitely a welcome change. I can’t believe I said that.

Alrightie, moving onto the food talk.

We started off with a couple of entrees, first up the Yamba prawn sliders ($16) with iceberg lettuce and fennel slaw. These were absolutely fantastic! When I originally looked through Bowery Lane’s menu, my heart was set on the raw tuna sliders. I love tuna sashimi, so couldn’t go past it, somehow we ended up with the prawn sliders, damn my decision making under pressure!

These prawns were really fantastic, as I’ve said probably a million times before, prawns are one of those seafoods where if you overcook it for even a moment, it’s just horrible. Pleased to say that these were perfect, bitey and firm and with huge flavour, as if they’d been seasoned separately to the whole slider. It would’ve been easy to just have prawn flavour be authentic and let the surrounding ingredients do most of the heavy lifting as far as spices go, but Bowery Lane did not take the easy option here! These were like a southern new orleans style prawns with lots of paprika that went perfectly with the sour slaw.

Here is a close up of the Yamba prawn sliders. Delicious, large and juicy prawns coupled with a generous amount of lettuce and fennel slaw, wedged between petite lightly toasted brioche buns. These little buns were the perfect little treat to start the dinner off with. I’m normally not a huge fan of brioche buns for burgers (I know, I know, I’m so wrong here) but they were a very good choice for the sliders here. The rich butter of the bun went perfectly with the prawns and the size of these burgers ensured that it didn’t get too rich. The slaw was creamy and added a lot of texture and crunchiness to the slider while also bring a bit of bitterness as well, which helped to keep the strong flavours of the prawns and the creaminess of the slaw at bay and balanced.To be honest outside of the prawns and slaw there wasn’t a huge amount going on here. Simple but delicious.

So, earlier I mentioned that I wanted the Rare tuna sliders, but somehow ended up with the prawn sliders. Well, we got the tuna ones too! Here are the Rare tuna sliders ($16) with guacamole and pickled cucumber. As I mentioned above, I was hankering for this. This was the menu item that screamed out at me when I was looking at Bowery Lane before deciding to check it out. I love a good tuna sashimi or even better, a seared tuna nigiri (I’m a big fan).

For sliders these weren’t small! There were about two massive slices of tuna on each slider, these were seared perfectly, giving them a lovely smokey ring on the outside, whilst keeping the inside fresh and delicious. The tuna was coupled with some creamy guacamole which added great um… creaminess to the whole slider and kept it from getting too dry. On top of that, there were also bits of pickled cucumber adding a crunch to the slider and adding some lovely vignette flavours. Great stuff.

Here’s a close up of the tuna sliders. My only issue with these sliders were the bone pieces in my tuna. I’m not sure if I was just unlucky or if this is usual. I found a couple of bones in my slider and that really put me off. I think you may have been able to eat them but I’ve never really been good with bones in fish. If i’m chomping down on a fish, and I find a bone in my mouth, I’m in panic mode from that point onwards, pure paranoia, every single bite is this measured bomb defusing exercises where I roll each bite around my mouth to make sure no bones get in. For me it’s all worth it too, the thought of swallowing a fish bone just haunts me.

Hence, if I ever see a warning for bones on a menu, I’ll avoid it just because I know that I won’t be able to enjoy it and I know its not the restaurant’s fault. Not fair to them, not fair to me. A bit sad to be honest, these were great sliders otherwise. Clearly, as seen above, I’m a total weirdo when it comes to fish bones so don’t avoid these sliders because of that because I’m a fish bone psycho and my opinion on these matters are not rational.

Outside of the whole bone thing these were wonderful.

Onwards to our other entrees, the Manchego croquettes ($14) with smoked chilli aioli. These were great, in an unexpected way. When I originally saw these on Bowery Lane’s menu I assumed they would be pretty much fried cheese sticks with plenty of cheesy goodness on the inside and a crispy crumbed batter on the outside. Instead they kept to their name and were very croquette like. I guess, they are called manchego croquettes so I don’t know what gave me that fried cheese stick idea. Nevertheless, these little goodies were fantastic. They were indeed crispy out the outside but as you bite into it there was so much creamy mashed potato that ensured you weren’t just overwhelmed with rich cheese flavour. The cheese flavour isn’t noticeable immediately but as the mashed potato melts away you begin to taste the cheese, its really mild and only comes as an aftertaste and was just this really lovely humble dish. This was something to be savoured and enjoyed, because all the flavours were so delicate, which is really a weird thing to say when describing deep fried potato and cheese but there you go.

Our final entree for the night, the Chargrilled lamb ribs ($14) with chimmi churri and rocket. I have never met a serve of lamb ribs I didn’t like and these were no different. So exceptionally tender, as we lifted them up from the bone the meat just fell off and you were left with a clean bone. Fantastic. The lamb here was pretty mildly spiced, not too Mediterranean, but clearly had some influences, but a lot of the lamb flavours came through a lot stronger than most lambs that you’d eat here in Australia. Though the flavour was nice, I cannot say enough nice things about the lovely texture of these things. Biting into them was a joy and due to how easy they were to eat, they really just disappeared way too quickly. A shame that.

We decided to go with one share plate and couldn’t go past the Pork collar and scratchings ($46) with apple, spiced pear chutney and parsley and fennel salad. This was our main and what a main! Massive chunk of pork hidden under all that green stuff, and we couldn’t help but dive straight into it. The pork flesh was really quite firm and flavoured really mildly, letting the pork itself do all the talking. I personally prefer a softer, more tender pork, but as far as firm pork goes, this was really quite delicious. The fennel salad was slathered all over the top of this thing, and to be honest I wasn’t a huge fan of it. I…I don’t know, I’m not much of a greens guy, so it might just be my terrible taste buds, but raw fennel has such a strong flavour, I half thought we weren’t meant to eat it. I don’t think anyone on our table really touched it much, but hey, we’re terrible people.

Huge part of the enjoyment for me in this dish was the generous heaping of pork scratchings all over this dish. If I order a pork dish, and I don’t get pork skin, then you can be sure I’m going to be pretty disappointed. So what better way to please me than just cover the whole thing in pork skin? Absolutely delicious, we were munching on them like they were potato chips, so good. This dish, while fantastic, is not something I’d recommend without something like the pasta or the pumpkin that we got. It’s this firm, thick slab of pork, and without the ability to break up the flavours with other dishes, I can easily see this getting to be too much.

We also grabbed something from their individual eats. However we shared it too! The Duck ragu ($26) pappadelle with aloli pancetta and parsley. Somehow, from an American inspired joint, this was one of the best pasta’s I’ve had the good fortune of eating. The duck was finely shredded and so fantastically soft and tender, the sauce was this beautiful tomato base, and had a really deep savoury, smokey taste to it that complimented the duck perfectly. The pasta itself though, was easily one of the best pasta’s I’ve ever had. To be honest I’ve always had trouble determining the quality difference between good and bad pasta, it all was just pretty good to me. Recently I’ve been getting better at it though, and this one, was just wonderfully textured, really soft, but still firm and springy when you bit into it, and it was so rough so the sauce stuck to it really well. Just fantastic! One small complaint I had was that there really wasn’t a lot of sauce in this dish. Maybe it’s because I’m terribly uncultured, but I like a saucy pasta.

Before heading to the sweet goodies, here is our side of Roasted pumpkin ($9) with balsamic crisp oregano and parmesan. We were honestly tossing up getting this or not, we kind of realised that we didn’t have any vegetables at all, so to keep things healthy we decided to go for the most potato’y vegetable of all, that isn’t actually potato. Pumpkin! These were lovely. Sweet, crispy with plenty of smokiness from the charring. There was plenty of pumpkin to go around and they really did help break through the heaviness of our pork collar and scratchings. The presentation of this dish was absolutely fantastic considering the fact it’s just a pile of pumpkin, there was some nice bits of green here and there giving the dish plenty of colour and really livening it up. They also added some nice flavours and crispiness and texture as well. One thing that I’m going to have to steal if I ever end up making pumpkin myself is that they sprinkled parmesan cheese on top, and it really gave it this lovely cheesey, sharp flavour that I thought was just fantastic and is another chapter in the “parmsean cheese makes everything better” book.

Finally our desserts for the night, first up the Jar of cookies and cream ($13) with honeycomb, vanilla and dark chocolate. This was a great little dessert, lots of tasty cookie and cream ice cream with fresh bits of strawberries throughout it for some acidity and sourness to balance the rest of the dessert off. There were also chucks of chocolate and cookies throughout the cup which brought some great texture and crunchiness to the ice cream and fruits. This honestly wasn’t a huge jar, which we didn’t mind because we were so full from dinner but I am pointing it out in case it matters to someone out there. Fun story, while we did think that the strawberries helped to balance out all the sweetness from the cookies and cream, my sister kind of doesn’t eat strawberries. Ever. So on the night, we pretty much had to scarf down pure strawberry and then start tackling the rest of the dessert afterwards. So instead of actually balancing out the dish, I think I made a mental note that it would have balanced out the dish. I guess I’m trying to say, I could be off on this one.

Last up, our Ice cream sandwich ($13) with gingerbread and hot chocolate, poached pear and candied pecans. I don’t know how I feel about this dessert. It is one of those situations where in the end of the day, I enjoyed it but it wasn’t quite what I was expecting, so I ended up being a little disappointed by it. When I saw that Bowery Lane had an ice cream sandwich, I was pretty excited. I knew I wanted to get one before we even started our meal. So at dessert time, I didn’t even think about it, I went straight for the ice cream sandwich.

Firstly, I suppose I should clarify my expectations here, when I think of ice cream sandwiches, I think of something that is sandwichesque, perhaps some cookie, or even like a brioche with ice cream contained in the middle that I can pick up and eat. I mean, yes this had two layers of cake with a layer of chocolate ice cream on the inside but that’s a cake, that is not a sandwich, I don’t know many people out there who knife and fork sandwiches, and this was not a cake you could just pick up and start munching on. In hindsight, it probably makes sense, Bowery Lane is a pretty nice restaurant, I can’t imagine they would have wanted people using their hands crunching away on cookie and ice cream.

Anyways, expectations aside, the actual cake with ice cream in between was pretty tasty. The cake had a nice strong chocolate flavour to it that wasn’t overly sweet which went well with the deliciously rich chocolate ice cream in the centre. There was also a heavily spiced poached pear which was quite sour and really balanced perfectly with the sweet and rich ice cream and cake. The pear brought some great hints of cinnamon, star anise and ginger. Eaten together, all the different elements played off each other perfectly and overall it was a pretty tasty dessert but I’m still not going to call it an ice cream sandwich.

Of course, I’m finally loving green juices and getting it every time I see it on a menu. Here is Bowery Lane’s Green power juice ($8) with spinach, kale, apple, pineapple and mint. I wasn’t expecting to see a green juice on Bowery Lane’s dinner menu, its more of a breakfast or brunch thing for me but my ears totally perked up when someone mentioned it. Bowery Lanes was one of our last diners in Sydney and as you may have noticed or will notice, we ended up hitting up a lot of really delicious but super greasy and heavy places. Prior to this trip, I didn’t know I could get over American food. I love it! I thought I could live on it (minus the health issues) but after five days of American at least once a day, I felt pretty bogged down, so boy was I happy to see something healthy, clean and refreshing. When my green juice came out and I got a big sip, I  definitely felt better straight away, it might have been totally a placebo effect but already I was feeling lighter. The juice was delicious, you could taste the undertones of kale, spinach and mint. The lightness and the refreshing elements that they bring but thanks to the sweetness from the apple and pineapple, it was a really overly enjoyable and almost tropical drink. Overall, one of the better green drinks I’ve had.

Our meal at Bowery Lane was pretty awesome, everything was super tasty and the general atmosphere and vibe was perfect for a nice but chilled catch up dinner. Althought the food was pretty American, the crew at Bowery Lane some how introduced a cleanliness and a freshness to almost everything on the menu. Its a pretty small menu but even then we were struggling to pick just a few plates. Everything looked and sounded amazing. Thanks again to Sweet & Yummy for your awesome pictures, otherwise we would have never found this place!

Bowery Lane on Urbanspoon

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