Ando: Beautifully located within Blaxland Riverside Park, this restaurant is a perfect place for brunch. I have read that this place gets extremely busy but I have never experienced it. Perhaps because I often visit on weekdays. But it is suggested that you book during the weekends! It isn’t difficult to find a car space (on weekdays) and the parking lot is conveniently located a few metres from the restaurant. If you’re waiting for seats or when you’re done with your meal, the park boasts a gigantic kids playground, there are spots for BBQs, you can visit the Newington Armory (weekends only), Armory Gallery (weekends only), ride the heritage train or even hire a bike to ride through this spectacular waterside park.
Ok, back to the restaurant. The al fresco dining area has an army camouflage netting as a roof and the walls are of mill finish aluminium which contributes to the military theme of the restaurant. We were greeted at the front door and were directed to our table. Although I have read many negative reviews about the service here, I don’t think it was that bad. I could tell some of the staff were new but those who served us were wiling to assist.
B, Belle and I all ordered Soy Lattes ($3.50) but I upgraded mine to a large (+$0.50). There was no charge for the soy milk which I was happy about. It was a bit too hot for my liking but overall it was ordinary. For their beans, they use Allpress Espresso.
Belle went with the Eggs Benne’ with Tasmanian salmon and spinach on a toasted sourdough ($17.50). They also had the option of double smoked ham and spinach on a toasted sourdough ($16). The hollandaise sauce was rich and buttery but lacked acidity.
B ordered the Armory Ploughman’s Lunch with Patchett’s pork pie (served at room temp), olive and basil sourdough, tomato chilli jam, pickled baby gherkins, caramelised onion, roasted vegetable frittata, selected brie and heidi gruyere cheese ($24). We felt that the dish had no clear direction as the assortment of individual components did not go well together. The pork pie was bland and chilli was not highly evident in the tomato chilli jam which was a bit of a shame.
I ordered the Macadamia crumbed cornfed chicken breast, lightly fried, filled with prosciutto, brie and fresh herbs, served on a polenta cake with asparagus and a smoky paprika sauce ($25.50). With the delicate polenta cake right underneath the chicken, it was definitely difficult to cut the chicken and I eventually had to move the chicken to one side of the plate. I started on the left side of the chicken and was led to believe that they forgot the filling. It was not until the last few bites on the right side of the chicken that I found the prosciutto, brie and fresh herbs filling, which is a bit of a let down.
The staff forgot to bring us table water and it wasn’t until we were almost finished with our meal that the water arrived. I was also surprised that for a restaurant of this size that they did not accept AMEX. We loved the location and the design is exquisite, but if you are into overpriced food and mediocre service then by all means try this restaurant out.
Blaxland Riverside Park, Jamieson Street, Newington, NSW 2127
(02) 9714 7513
Operating Hours: Monday to Thursday 8.30am – 4pm; Friday 8.30am – 5pm; Saturday & Sunday 7.30am – 5.30pm; Public Holidays 8.30am – 5pm