Silly Season is Go – Freelancer’s Lunch at The Burlington, Crows Nest

Melissa Leong and Jane Corbett Jones

Long lunching with Huka Retreats' Jane Corbett Jones, left, and Fooderati's Melissa Leong

There are times as a food writer that you feel that you spend all of your time scoping out the latest and greatest eateries, and sometimes you forget to check out other fantastic eateries that you miss along the way. That’s definitely the case with Lela Radojkovic’s The Burlington Bar & Dining. I never got there during the “news” window when she and then-hubby (now ex), Balzac chef Matt Kemp, first set up this fine Crows Nest bistro and then, admittedly, it got buried amid the new-and-notable circuit. I love consistency as much as anyone, but writing food news for MasterChef and other food mags often means I need to be timely. But yesterday I was in luck – a freelancer’s lunch of food writers and editors gave me a perfect reason to finally get there.

The gig was organised by Carli Ratcliff, who has not only recently scored the gong as the best new food writer at the 2010 Australian Food Media Awards, she’s also one of the most likeable people in the biz. And if you’ve been reading the Sydney Morning Herald’s ‘Good Living’ section of late, you’ll notice her byline plastered across countless pages. She’ll probably hate me saying that, but it’s true. She is a machine.

Lela greeted me at the door with a glass of bubbly and then I joined our happy troupe of food pros to enjoy a lovely, long three-course lunch. OK, so I possibly enjoyed myself too much to get very stuck into details, but suffice to say, the food was beautifully rustic, comforting and well-priced, yet with enough flair to keep things interesting. Highlights included a lovely, rich and earthy housemade ‘morcilla’ (much sexier sounding than blood sausage, that is) with scallops, watercress and peperonata, that stew-like mix typically comprised of capsicum, tomato, onion, garlic and olive oil. I say typical, because, like I said, I was too busy gasbagging and gave my critical food radar a leave pass for the afternoon. I also devoured my two-ways lamb, with its fall-apart neck and shoulder cuts, although I did have menu envy after I ditched my slightly under-set crème caramel – I shifted to someone else’s chocolate panna cotta, with its fabulous pairing of sweet milk chocolate ‘foam’ on top with hidden pieces of hazelnut ice-cream and a moodier foundation of dark chocolate panna cotta. If you fancy a peek at the food fest, here are some highlights:

Burlington paella

The Burlington's deconstructed 'paella'

Burlington morcilla

Earthy, crumbly morcilla with scallops and peperonata

Burlington salmon

Pan-friend New Zealand king salmon. Check out the midnight-black squick in gnocchi!

Burlington pavlova

A super-smooth pav with a spritzy 'strawberry soda' foam. What's not to love?

Salad of caramelised endive, Woodside goats’ curd, spring onions and hazelnuts
Pork terrine, Pedro Ximénez & fennel puree, crispy pork belly salad
Homemade ‘morcilla’ with scallops and peperonata
Seafood ‘paella’, Crystal Bay prawns, squid, mussel and sofrito
Handmade pappardelle, char-gilled vegetables, buffalo mozzarella and basil pesto
Pan-fried NZ king salmon with squid ink gnocchi, cuttlefish &amp peas, aioli
Slow-roasted Castricum lamb neck & braised shoulder, heirloom baby carrots, turnips
Black Angus sirloin with a pie, parsley potato purée, onion jam &amp red win jus
Chocolate panna cotta with hazelnut ice cream, milk chocolate foam
Pavlova with strawberries and cream
Crème caramel with Pedro Ximénez, raisins, sabayon and praline

Crows Nest has been lucky to have inherited such a class act like The Burlington. It’s good to see the area steadlily elevating itself thanks to the rise of neighbours like MuMu Gril and perennial dim sum star, Sea Treaure – even if it did take me a bit longer than usual to notice.

At the intimate gathering was a great roundup of some of my favourite food people, including Mel Leong (Fooderati, TOYS organiser and FBI Radio food chick), Merelyn Frank (SMH Good Shopping Guide), Jane Adams (who taught me the reviewing ropes when she ran the Restaurant & Catering NSW awards), longtime friend and freelancer Deb Elkind, SBS Food’s Shelley Hepworth and SBS new media gal Aisha Hillary, 2SCR food presenter Lucy Barbour, Good Living contributor Olivia Riordan, and Huka Retreats’ Jane Corbett Jones.

Burlington Bar & Dining, 6 Burlington St, Crows Nest, NSW,

Burlington Bar and Dining on Urbanspoon


8 responses to this post.

  1. You’re very welcome Michael. It’s inside Eating World food court (Chinatown area) and is called Singapore Shiok – I see it as more of a hawker stall type eatery (I’d also like to point out that there’s a one-man ramen stall there called Gumshara – where everything is meticulously handmade and from scratch).

    The char kway teow is made on the spot, naturally, and has bits of crispy fried pork lard (beyond special) interspersed throughout slices of lap cheong (Chinese sausage), fish cake, squid, water spinach and others. It’s gorgeous.
    Although I hear their top dish is the har mee (prawn-based noodle soup); certainly coming back for that some time soon. Gained a fair bit of weight, haven’t started to work it off yet, so might as well take advantage of my physical failings and go all out just about now ha!


    • Cool. I love Eating World, but haven’t been over there much lately. I’ll have to do a tag-team visit to Singapore Shiok and Gumsharra. I need to slim down for triathlon season, too, so I might have to wait until I go on a long bike ride. Thanks again for the tip.


  2. Ahh the joys of discovering lesser known or lesser appreciated eateries; it feels as though a raving band of hype-blowers are rapidly crowding around that piece of rock dusted in gold while there you are grinning ear to ear clutching onto that dirt-dusted lump of gold, doesn’t it?
    Myself? I recently came upon one of the most perfect char kway teows in Sydney…relatively new place hidden in a little shady food court (you wouldn’t think so, aye?).


  3. Hi. Lucky to be treated with all that food! What’s behind the Napkin?


  4. Love that you were the only bloke there! You must have loved it! 😉


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