This place is close to my heart. My twin brother Sam Bennett is the head chef here and I am so proud of him. He serves humble Italian inspired dishes that are always big on flavour, simple yet original. Yeah, yeah you are probably thinking, talking up her brother, but guess what Sydney's media agree! Last year he was awarded one chef's hat in the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Awards along with many more favourable mentions in the press.
One Ford Street is a restaurant connected to The Cricketers Arms pub in Balmain. The unassuming pub has an inconspicuous stairwell leading down to a leafy green oasis. This is not your average pub restaurant, more of a restaurant in its own right.
They lucked in when Fabio Dore (ex Popolo) came on board imparting his gracious Italian hospitality and industry knowledge to One Ford Street. Fabio expertly chose us a selection of Chent'annos wines to match their 'No fussy pants' tasting menu. To start Fabio poured us a glass of Bortoluz Prosecco. Bortoluz is a longstanding, family run organic winery with wine making activity dating back to 800AD. The vineyard is located in the hills of Valdobbiadene and categorised as ‘heroic viticulture’ because of the high-altitude slopes and the work involved to produce wine from these conditions.
Our 'No fussy pants menu' brought 'Dad's smoked trout pate' and 'Seadas' to the table. Such a special dish because that Dad was my Dad too! He was an avid trout fisherman so we grew up eating smoked trout pate. He would be so touched and proud to have one of his dishes on a Sydney restaurant menu.
Seadas is a famous Sardinian dessert made with Pecorino covered in pastry then fried and drizzled in honey. Sam has cleverly served it as an entree with smoked scamorza cheese and made it a little more savoury for an Aussie palate.
Next we had the heirloom tomato and goats curd salad and the cured kingfish and horseradish. Fabio gave us the 2014 Castello di Tassarolo 'spinola' Gavi from Piemonte.
and 2015 Roncus Collio bianco, a blend of friulano, pinot bianco and sauvignon blanc from Friuli.
We were also sent a delicious fried leather jacket with aioli and puttanesca sauce,
a veal tongue sandwich...
and Octopus and okra. Yum. with homemade fregola, a Sardinian pasta. The octopus was beautifully tender and we had a great match with the Fattoria di Piazzano Rose. It is a dry rose made with a blend of sangiovese and syrah from Empoli, 20km north west out of Florence.
Lucky for us Fabio opened a bottle of 2015 Selvadolce Crescendo to go with the snapper with clams. This was a heavenly match. Selvadolce is a beautiful winery on the Ligurian coast. The vineyard overlooks the ocean and is a stones throw away from Monaco. Inspirational winemaker Aris Blancardi farms his land dedicated to biodynamic methods. The Crescendo is 100% Pigato which is Liguria's clone of Vermentino. This wine has been fermented in Slovenian oak and then aged for 6 months on lees giving it layer upon layer. For me it is wine like this that makes me excited to be in the business. I love introducing people to this wine and to see their instant appreciation of it and Aris's other wines.
Just as I was wanting to savour more of the Selvadolce Fabio pulled out a 2013 Alberto Voerzio Nebbiolo to go with our cheese. Young wine maker Alberto is a passionate winemaker who farms his land naturally. He is the young cousin of the prestigious local winemaker Roberto Voerzio but is standing out in his own right as a rising star amongst Barolo producers. The Nebbiolo was a lovely way to finish an incredible, long Friday lunch with its earthy, ripe fruit characters and lusciously round tannins.
You can find One Ford Street, Balmain, open for lunch from Friday - Sunday and Dinner Wednesday - Sunday. This incredible feast was a bargain at $65 per person.
Special thanks to my talented lunch companion, Ann Ouchterlony, who casually took all these gorgeous photos on her iPhone. Aren’t they great?