Thanks, yet again, to the wonderful folks at Zomato I was able to visit and check out the Sydney Festival Feasts opportunity at Food Society in Darlinghurst. The Sydney Festival started on the Saturday and there is a foodie section for the festival called Festival Feasts and Food Society is doing a Festival Feasts special menu offer. It is a $30- set menu offer. I am of mixed thoughts of Food Society, a place I was desperate to attend, with so much positive reviews. However, while it was great on one level it was not so great on others.
FOOD SOCIETY VENUE:
To start I am confused by the name. Food Society to me is not a restaurant name, it is a group of foodies. I imagine it more like the Freemasons but for foodies. A society I would be a founding member of haha.
The venue itself is a wonderland, an eclectic, old-school, nostalgic, place of joy. It is like visiting your grandma, if she lived in Cuba in the 50s. I felt like I needed to end with a pipe or a cigar out on the front porch.
You are greeted at the entry by a writing table and a set up table to represent a reception from the 50s. Old school phones, flowers, magazines, an old port barrel and incense. Everywhere you look throughout the venue you find more intriguing places to wander, wonder and gawk. Our own large table in the back corner was a large square with the wall behind us covered in old magazine covers. If you visited this venue ten times and sat in ten different places you would still find more things to blow your mind. I even took pics of a complete spoon collection hanging on one wall and just look above, there is a piano hanging over the entryway! Loved it.
FYI: The parking may be average, I got there at six on the dot and found a perfect spot but you may need to walk a block or two if driving.
FOOD SOCIETY FESTIVAL FEASTS OFFER:
I was attending to mainly review the $30- Festival Feasts offer.
The offer is:
A trio of canapés served with matching vodka sippers
A choice of three mains.
That is all.
FOOD SOCIETY DRINKS:
As we were there as invited guests we also were offered drinks in addition, and also offered (but never received) a dessert. The cocktails at Food Society are sublime. The bar is well stocked and serves up a lot of European liquids. Their vodkas are plentiful with over 80 on offer. And for the first time ever I never looked for a wine menu. I did however partake in the above Kandinsky Cocktail: elderflower gin, lychee liquer, early grey tea, lemon and fresh thyme $17-. It was out of this world and one of the best cocktails I have had in recent times, having that lychee at the end was a moment I will savour for a long time. The wait for drinks was not ideal but it was forgotten when Kandinsky touched my lips. My dining guests also loved their cocktails.
FOOD SOCIETY FESTIVAL FEASTS FOOD CANAPES:
The food at Food Society was superb. The trio canapés consisted of:
Crostini of herbed creme fraiche, prosciutto and spiced tomato compote
Labna tartlet with spinach powder and herb oil
Cauliflower fritter with reduced red wine vinegar, pickled onion and watercress
Each was paired with a vodka, one was a Zubrowka bison grass vodka, the other a cherry vodka and the third has been forgotten. They were all nice but with a trio plate like this I asked our waitperson, Pat, what is the best way to eat it? Do we shoot one and eat one? Do we sip and eat? Which order? Which order would it be the best way to get the experience? Pat suggested we could eat it whatever way we wanted. I am a foodie in a place called Food Society, I need a passionate story, this slightly disheartened me but I forgave Pat because he was so gorgeous.
FOOD SOCIETY FESTIVAL FEASTS FOOD MAINS:
You select one of the following.
- Fresh spätzle with sauteed local prawns, dill and warm egg yolk dressing
- Olive and lemon crumbed free range chicken schnitzel, paprika sauce, smoked cheddar with pickled kohlrabi and reb cabbage slaw
- House-made ricotta gnocchi with marjoram cream
The mains were as delicious as the canapés. The schnitzel was my fave followed by the spätzle and finished with the gnocchi. One of the best schnitzels I have tasted in a long time that would close down pubs. The first spätzle I have ever tasted and the gnocchi was too overpowering with garlic for me. One of my dining guest loved it however.
While the food and venue was marvellous the service and portions were on the disaster side of things. Firstly there was five of us at the table, we were given three mains to share. We all bought more food when we left this venue, I appreciate and am grateful we were invited but not feeding guests enough food is less than impressive.
The venue was so grossly understaffed that the following paragraph on the venue’s website made me a bit pissed…
Food Society’s bar and restaurant in Darlinghurst – a celebration of food mixed with ‘old school’ hospitality and unparalleled service.
No offence but it was one of the most impersonal services I have experienced and the rest of the patrons were in a similar boat. One lady actually thought I was a waitperson and looked at me longingly on my way past her table returning from the loo. One of my dining crew thought our waiter must have finished for the night as we hadn’t seen him in so long. We waited over twenty minutes for drinks after ordering, thirty minutes for entrees after drinks and I had to guess the main wait but I am going with closer to forty minutes on them. It could actually be longer considering we were there for two and half hours for two courses.
When the venue offered us desserts we were all ecstatic. We were all still hungry and that dessert might fill the void. At close to 9pm we asked Pat when the dessert was arriving and were apologised to because the dessert had been forgotten to be “put through.” I literally had a WHAT THE FUCK moment. We cancelled the dessert and had to leave as most of the table was attending a Sydney Festival Show.
The food, venue and drinks at Food Society are impeccable. I feel the Festival Feasts menu isn’t bad for $30-, however considering five us shared three mains I hope the general public get one each. The venue needs to look at staffing levels because they were inadequate to match the demand of the patrons. I will return to Food Society on a quiet night when there are less patrons and I will bring the parental units because the sound of all those vodkas is too good to pass up. While my experience was unsatisfactory on the whole, any venue that has Jenga on the bar has to be doing something right and I hope I caught them on a bad night.
SCORE BREAKDOWN: 2/3 food, 0/2 service, 1/1 drinks, 1/1 venue & ambience, 1/1 cost, 1/1 toilets and 0/1 bonus therefor a total score of 6/10 – 3/5.
Food Society Deets:
PH: (02) 8318 0470
VEGETARIAN OPTIONS: Yes
GLUTEN FREE OPTIONS: Yes
KID FRIENDLY: No
Wednesday to Saturday: 6.00pm until late
Vodka High Tea
Saturday: 12.30pm to 4.30pm
bookings essential for Vodka High Tea!
*** JK (and any guests of Spooning Australia) were invited guests of the establishment. However, as always, if it was shite I would happily tell you as such.