Eating with the AU: Gazebo – Dining with Head Chef Jason Dean – Elizabeth Bay (Sydney)

Gazebo has been recently transformed, re-opening its doors late last year to a freshly decked interior celebrative of its rich past. An appreciation for the seamless duality of the venue’s formal indoor and casual outdoor settings is only trumped by Head Chef Jason Dean’s (Pier, Gastro Park) lovingly prepared menu, accented with the special touches that make Gazebo’s food a widely talked affair.

The Keystone Group who manage this and other stately venues (Kingsleys, The Winery, The Rook) have given Gazebo’s 60’s heritage the nod through a classic Negroni cocktail, the twist an exclusively produced Spiced Gin borne out of an enterprising partnership with Four Pillars Gin Distillery. According to Keystone Head Bartender Jason Williams, the only real way to bring out a complex bouquet of cinnamon, juniper, coriander, star anise and grains of paradise is to double the gin’s alcoholic content. It’s only logical and there are no complaints here, topped with fresh orange segments and a good whack of ice, Gazebo’s Negroni is a heady yet refreshing affair, not unlike the era it originated from dry, cool, spicy, and a bit tart.

The re-launched menu is a sophisticated offering built on good honest flavours which are soon proven in the first crunchy bite of the Beetroot Crisps with Chantilly Goats’s Curd and Balsamic reduction ($6.50). Perplexingly different in appearance to its description, the airy pork crackling like crisps melt in the mouth, assisted by their creamy sweet sidekicks. A passion for fresh raw produce can be found in a mouthful of Seared Beef Tartare ($18), encased in a translucent Radish shell, topped with a robust Shitake emulsion that truly enhances the marmitey juicy goodness of quality. The same could be said for the delicate delectable slices of Cucumber Cured Kingfish ($19) slightly smokey from their lush oyster dressing, contrasted by little pops of lime and apple.

The restaurant’s wood fired oven has been put to great use, focussing on more than just beautiful pizzas; lamb, eggplant and a Thai inspired Tiger Prawns ($21) emerge from its hearth. Mains come in the form of contemporary dishes and share plates, though one could be forgiven for never wanting to share perfectly pink Duck Breast ($28) accentuated by textures of firm beetroot, smokey almonds and salty honeycomb. This and a soft slowed cooked Glazed Pork ($27) simmered for 15 hours at 73 degrees, served alongside a velvety carrot puree and sweet and sour turnips are true menu highlights.

Two sweet finishes from the dessert section of the menu once again showcase Dean’s creativity and palate for combining complementary flavours. Simply put as Pineapple ($14), the whole fruit is blackened to allow for smokey flavour to penetrate the flesh. Combined with fluffy coconut cream, tarragon and balsamic blueberries, the dish is a deliciously light way to end a meal. For those who like it rich, heavy and intense Chocolate ($15) provides a polar opposite, a beautifully deconstructed melange of cookie dough parfait, yoghurt caramel, fresh raspberries, chocolate mousse, crunchy biscuits and slivers of tempered chocolate. True heavenly experiences provided by this dessert can only come from a carefully balanced spoonful of all components at once.

Dean’s passion is evident in not only his menu but the opulent yet relaxed surroundings it’s savoured in. Whether it’s getting comfy on plush lounges inside as the setting sun reflects back on the mirrored walls or chilling in the funky courtyard bar sipping on a signature Chilcano de Pisco ($13) cocktail, Gazebo’s re-established itself as one of the best places to be.

Address: 2 Elizabeth Bay Road, Elizabeth Bay NSW 2011
Contact: (02) 8070 2424
Website: http://thegazebo.com.au
Opening Hours: Monday-Friday 4pm-12am, Weekends 12pm-12am

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