For a special dinner out we headed out into the CBD intending to check out the Flour Factory. Unfortunately they had a function on and instead we walked to the Painted Bird, tucked inconspicuously behind the Wesley Church.
The Painted Bird was quiet, a welcome escape from the steady hum of traffic to the peace of the restaurant.
The staff were pleasant and relatively efficient in providing us with menus and drinks. The menu is hard to describe, a mix of starters, mains and desserts without a particularly cohesive style of cuisine.
They started the meal with appetizers, beef empanadas to whet the appetite. The pastry was light and crispy and the sauce was nicely spiced. The meat was tender and moist. We found the empanadas tasty, though they were a little unconventional for an appetizer.
For starters we selected the charcuterie board and bread to share. It’s a nice way to get a mix of things to try, the pate in particular was a standout, especially with the sweetness of the caramelized onion. We probably needed more bread or biscuits to go with it but we enjoyed the selections they had on offer.
For our first main we ordered the beef three way. This was basically the most expensive dish on the menu and for upwards of $35 we had big expectations. Of the the three the crackling and belly were the best, the other cut was dry and unappealing. The jus and potato we both lovely to go with the meat but we were really hoping for more with what we paid.
The second dish however was an absolute standout. A tender gnocchi served with an apple cider pork ragu and plenty of cheese. The gnocchi was soft and pillowy, pan fried and delicious on its own or with the ragu. The ragu was rich, melt in your mouth pork, all topped off by melted, stringy cheese. This was a generous dish with lots of flavour that really satisfied a comfort food craving.
We also ordered a crumbed broccolini dish on the side to share. The vegetable had good firmness and the crumb was a nice textural touch. The garlic flavour was strong, enough to satisfy without becoming overwhelming.
We were in the mood for some dessert and decided to share the maple Creme brulee. This was a very american dessert, with bacon ice cream and a peanut butter soufflé. The Creme brulee had that satisfying crack, was creamy and sweet with a nice maple flavour. The bacon ice cream was melting fast in the heat but we were pleasantly surprised by how much it actually tasted like bacon. The peanut butter element was a bit like a soufflé crossed with a light bread almost. It had a nice flavour but the texture needed to be a little lighter. All in all this was quite a tasty dessert.
We really weren’t sure what to make of the clash of cuisines at the Painted Bird though for the most part enjoyed our meal and it worked. It’s on the pricey side for what it is, but we’ll let you try it for yourselves.