Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Sardine Tin Southbank

When I was driving to work the other day, I saw a corporate attired clad lady on a mission, simply stop dead in her tracks, to read a plaque on a public chair. I'm guessing that this chair was dedicated to someone with love from someone, but I can't be sure, because I myself, have never taken the time to read the plaque. What was written is hardly the point.

At one point, I lived less than 3 minutes away and walked past the chair dozens of times and had never realised there was a plaque on the chair, let alone bothered to stop to read the damn thing. This incident reminded me that you can look at things a million times, without ever actually seeing what is there. It made me realise that I sometimes live my life in a trance state, going from one thing to the next, without ever really stopping to look and see. I shrug things off on first impressions because I haven't ever really stopped to scratch the surface.

My relationship with Southbank is a little like this. I often shrug off Southbank based restaurant suggestions because the thought of tons of tourist, teenagers with too much attitude and bikini clad screaming toddlers sends me into a 'I'm local - I don't do that' spin.

I'm really glad the lady took time to 'stop and smell the roses' because she caused me to think about seizing the moment. My visiting Mum wanted to go to SB last weekend so instead of loudly complaining about her venue choice, I embraced the opportunity and visited the Lifeline Bookfair, a cupcake shop, a tea shop, the lolly shop, a coffee shop and most importantly The Sardine Tin.

I've been putting off visiting Simon Livingston's newest (newish-opened in the 2nd half last year) foray into the restaurant world due to my little aversion to SB. I'm a big fan of Livingston's Piaf- a Modern French-Australian styled bistro in Grey Street and it's a shame I left it so long to visit little sister wine bar located just across the way.

The aptly named Sardine Tin, is a tiny little space that is used incredibly well. It is situated on the corner looking towards the parkland and serves tapas and wine to a chilled out crowd. The small but constantly changing menu is interesting and reasonably priced and the staff are more than happy to help you sample and choose a drop to match.

Very cutely, there is always a sardine dish on the menu and although I'm not a huge fan, Mum was tempted by the Sardinillas. Perhaps the accompanying info had something to do with it!

I can't resist Olive bread ($8) and ordered a serve to start. The bread was fresh and doughy and perfectly toasted. It would have benefitted from additional olives but the rosemary and garlic butter added pizazz.

Mum eventually ordered us a bottle of the Pinot Noir - and disappointingly, I can't remember what it was! It was, however, good.

For whimsical reasons (Nan used to make awesome oxtail stew) Mum and I ended up choosing the same dish; one of the specials, The oxtail croquette with celeriac puree and truffle salad - also $12. Note to mother: C'Mon! Mum- seriously? I need you to order something different so I can maximise the number of tasting opportunities. The perfectly crunchy croquette arrived on a sea of creamy celeriac puree, with salad perched precisely on top.

The croquette was as crispy as it looked, deliciously fried. The oxtail inside had a lovely consistency but the flavour lacked depth. The puree was a beautiful accompaniment, as was the 'truffle' salad. I would have preferred less dressing and feel that the puree outshone dressing. I loved the style of this dish. If the oxtail filling had more zing, it could have been a contender for 'the best croquette'.

C decided he needed something a little more substantial than us and went for the steak sandwich with dijonnaise for $12. The sandwich was smallish, simple and sensational. The bread had a lovely crusty outside, but was soft and fresh underneath. The thinly sliced steak was easy to bite through and the mushrooms were buttery. The spinach added colour and freshness and the beautiful house made dijonnaise was rich without being overwhelming and melted nicely over the steak and into the bread. The size of the sandwich meant it was easy to delicately bite into (not that C cared about that) and really was a testament to the notion of simple sometimes being best.

The service at Sardine Tin was friendly without being over bearing, and Mum LOVED the fact that they let her taste three or four wines before she made her choice. She's fairly picky!

I will head back to The Sardine Tin sometime very soon and recommend you try it too. I was impressed with everything- the service, the wine list and the food.

I'm so happy that I took the time out to scratch Southbank's surface. I had a lovely time despite the tourists, teenagers and toddlers! There are some really cool eateries popping up and and you know what?! My next visit might be sooner rather than later. I might even go back later this month to visit Max Brenner and Ben O 'Donoghue's much awaited Surf Club.

When to go there: When the weather is lovely on an Autumn or Winter afternoon-anytime you want a chilled setting for a glass of wine and some tasty treats.

Sardine Tin
Shop 3A Arbour on Grey
Southbank 4101
P. 07 3846 1146

Sardine Tin on Urbanspoon

10 fabulous comments:

Ally said...


Max Brenner is opening in Brisbane?????

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

The steak sandwich looks fantastic-it looks like there are 3 pieces of bread there too! :o Am I seeing things? :P

Gastronomy Gal said...

Sure is ally! Date time? - to the person who accused me of 'making it up' - I have now confirmed with max brenner on Twitter that they are in fact coming to south bank soon!

InTolerant Chef said...

Yumm...Looks good, I'll have to visit when I go north.Canberra is also one of those places you tend to dismiss, even if you live here! Sometimes you just need to look through a fresh pair of eyes.

beeso said...

Food is great there, but wish the chairs were just a touch more comfy

Eat, drink + be Kerry said...

Yep Ally - Max Brenner is opening in Southbank. Hot chocolate all round I think.

I too like Sardine Tin. Are they still serving with the tricky tins and 'newspaper'?

Barbara said...

Yeah, love the food,hate the chairs.

Iain said...

Oh come on, the chairs are cool! Although perhaps a little uncomfortable..
I agree this is one of the best places on Southbank. Small is beautiful, especially for wine bars.

mademoiselle délicieuse said...

Ahhh, I remember walking past Piaf when I was in Brisbane last year. Think it was after a meal elsewhere many choices!

Anonymous said...

When when when is max brenner opening at south bank?

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