Review: Bistro 80 (Pyrmont)

Last Friday we had another food blogger catch-up, this time in a fancier setting: Star City Casino’s Bistro 80. It was a night of new experiences for me: first time in the casino and first time I caught the light rail on my way back home. Exciting.

The casino is massive. I had to ask for directions to get to the bistro, with a quick detour to leave my umbrella in the cloakroom (mandatory for security reasons, and they charge $2 to non-members). There’s no dress code at the bistro but the decor is on the stiff/fancy side.

A few mocktails started off the evening. I wanted wine but hadn’t decided on my main yet, so I just held the order.

Mocktails

With steep prices some of us had considered having salads as mains. The only issue was that we had no idea of portion sizes. The consensus was to get the salads and other sides to share and a main each.

When the Confit duck & green bean salad with poached pears and hazelnuts arrived, we were glad we didn’t order it as a main. It was great, but tiny. We loved the plate, BTW.

Confit duck & green bean salad

Confit duck & green bean salad ($18.00)

The seared yellow fin tuna nicoise with kipfler potatoes and quail egg was way more substantial and equally good. Apart from the perfectly seared tuna slices it had a few anchovies, a great addition to the classic salad.

Seared yellow fin tuna nicoise

Seared yellow fin tuna nicoise ($21.00)

The grilled calamari with shaved fennel salad, basil & lemon olive oil dressing was my favourite shared dish. The calamari was extremely tender and the fennel (one of my favourite vegetables) was a great complement.

Grilled calamari

Grilled calamari ($18.00)

With all the shared dishes on the table we realised we needed some starch and leafy greens. We ordered a mesclun salad with Chardonnay dressing and chips (which we learned from the bill that were fried in duck fat).

Chips, mesclun salad

Chips, mesclun salad ($8.00 each)

For main I had the wild river barramundi served with capsicum, olives, mussels, clams vinaigrette, and a glass of chardonnay. The fish was perfectly cooked, with crispy skin and nice flavour. The mussels and clams were tiny but a nice addition to the dish. The chardonnay was generously served in a red wine glass (justifying the $11 price tag) and matched the seafood beautifully.

Wild river barramundi

Wild river barramundi ($36.00)

After seeing a lady’s wagyu beef burger in a nearby table, Rachel decided to order one. It came with Swiss cheese and crispy bacon, which was the best part of the burger according to Rachel, followed by the beetroot relish.

Wagyu beef burger

Wagyu beef burger ($22.00)

The slow cooked pork belly with red apple puree, walnuts and Normandy cider jus looked like a dessert and was extremely rich, according to Julie. I bet it was because it took Monica a long time to finish hers.

Slow cooked pork belly

Slow cooked pork belly ($32.00)

Mel liked her Crystal Bay prawns spaghetti with garlic, basil, chilli and tomato, Laura her risotto of QLD spanner crab with sweet corn and baby herbs, and Mary her penne pasta with chorizo, mushroom, tomato and basil.

Crystal Bay prawns spaghetti

Crystal Bay prawns spaghetti ($27.00)

Risotto of QLD spanner crab

Risotto of QLD spanner crab ($27.00)

Penne pasta

Penne pasta ($27.00)

And what’s a foodie outing without desserts? I was determined to resist the temptation but once there I just couldn’t. I did skip the chips and free bread to reduce the damage a tiny bit. There was a brand new dessert menu, so five of us decided to order all of them to share. Because we figured out five desserts would may not be enough, we repeated one of them. I know…

The banana bread & butter pudding served with rum and raising ice cream and toffee sauce was the best of all. Luckily, that was the duplicated dessert.

Banana bread & butter pudding

Banana bread & butter pudding ($10.00)

According to our waiter, the vanilla crème brulee, served with raspberry compote and coconut & lime sable was the best dessert in the new menu. We liked the pudding better, even when the brulee was a good one. The coconut & lime sable had mixed responses, I disliked its “days old” chewy texture, but some liked it.

Vanilla crème brulee

Vanilla crème brulee ($10.00)

Hot chocolate fondant is perhaps the most overdone dessert ever (equivalent in music to Sweet Child O’Mine and Smells Like Teen Spirit). Not that it matters to me, and this one, served with malt ice cream, was a decent one. While most people found it excessively rich, it was well within my limits.

Hot chocolate fondant

Hot chocolate fondant ($10.00)

To me the second best dessert of the night was the lemon tart served with chocolate sorbet. The tart had a wonderful texture (not too fluid, not too dry) and flavour, and the chocolate sorbet was a great match.

Lemon tart

Lemon tart ($10.00)

We could see why the Eaton mess was a dessert thought for the kids, as our waiter told us. It was a very sweet combination of meringue, chantilly cream and strawberry compote served in a Sundae-type glass. Gave me flashbacks of my (overweight) childhood.

Eaton mess

Eaton mess ($10.00)

It wasn’t a cheap dinner but a very enjoyable one. Thanks Laura for organising!

Bistro 80
Star City, 80 Pyrmont Street
Pyrmont NSW 2009
1800 700 700
www.starcity.com.au/Dining__Top_Level-Bistro_80.htm

5 thoughts on “Review: Bistro 80 (Pyrmont)

  1. I went to Star City for Phantom of the Opera a couple of years ago, and the food was SO expensive! Still, it looks like you ate in a nicer place then we did – that banana bread and butter pudding looks so delicious (and I’m craving banana like mad!).

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