Located in touristy The Rocks next to Circular Quay, Pony Dining is a buzzy, rustic-chic venue with an open kitchen, for Modern Australian cuisine and sharing plates.
Pony Dining is a venue I have visited twice now, once years ago dining alone and most recently with colleagues from out of town. Both times I have been impressed beyond belief at how divine the food is. Perhaps it’s the woodfired element of their Argentinian Wood Fired Grill where most of the food is cooked, or maybe it’s due to the location, being on one of the oldest cobblestoned laneways in Australia. Whatever it is I have a lot of love for this wonderful restaurant.
Starters to share
Pickled in-house so it was not too salty and still have some crunch, the olives were great hor d’ouvres to drink to.
oyster, eschallot vinaigrette
What is a night out in Sydney without the pacific rock oysters? Each little mollusc was packed with umami, clear and clean brine from the waters around the costs of Central Coast in NSW. So good, we ordered another dozen.
italian bread, wood fired hummus, roasted chilli oil
Learnt to enjoy hummus after I started working for an Israeli company. The hummus by Pony has a smokey taste because of cooking the chickpeas over open wood fire. The ciabatta was also toasted over their Argentinian grill and chilli gave it that kick.
burrata, green peppers, asparagus, toasted grains, herb dressing
This is one of the best burrata I have tasted – creamy and smooth, almost like a custard.
seared kangaroo, beetroot tartare, grains, horseradish
For those that couldn’t stand their meat served blue, look away now. The kangaroo meat was just lightly seared and the served like a tartare. Spiced using fresh aromatics and horseradish, it was a very good starter.
octopus, quick cured kohlrabi, enoki, mustard oil
Grilled octopus tentacles served with juliennes of enoki and kohlrabi (German turnip) and deep fried basil leaves, dressed using mustard oil. Hit and miss, I am not a fan of octopus meat.
organic risotto, pumpkin, charred corn, sage, pecorino
spatchcock, cannellini beans, native greens, nduja, lemon
I ordered the spatchcock, perfectly roasted and spiced. I saw my neighbour table ordered it the last time I was here and made a note that I will try it one day.
The spatchcock was grilled to a nice crisp and got all the smokiness of the wood fire grill. This is a texture and taste you would never get from oven roasted chicken.
lamb rump, grilled eggplant, onion soubise, cumin yoghurt, mint oil
o’connor dry aged sirloin on the bone 800g, szechuan sauce, enoki mushrooms
Besides the mains, we all shared a sirloin on the bone at the recommendation of the chef. Perfect medium rare with a drizzling of Szechuan chilli oil to impart the heat to the slab of meat.
For three generations the O’Connor family has been sourcing the finest quality beef from South Gippsland, grazing on what is undeniably Australia’s most prized environment for producing premium beef. Entirely free range cattle, they are raised on a natural diet of Gippsland’s pure pastures, without any artificial growth hormones, and tested free of antibiotics and chemicals.
They are the best Angus and Hereford cattle breeds, flourishing in the crisp fresh air, pristine water and nutrient rich pastures. After selecting only the very best of these steers, they are then hand graded for colour and marbling to ensure they are providing the utmost in tenderness, texture and taste. This grading ensures a premium category the majority of which is sold to the highest bidder in Japan, however we have managed to ensure Melbournian’s still have access to the worlds best beef which is grown in our own backyard. Each of these premium cuts are finally dry aged on the bone for a minimum of 4 weeks.
seasonal leaves, charred grapes, leek vinaigrette, salted ricotta
roasted hasselback potatoes, parmesan, parsley, mint
dark chocolate mousse cake, new season cherries, cherry sorbet
Very rich chocolate paired with a sour sorbet made from fresh cherries. The pickled cherries were the highlight.
roasted pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin caramel, toasted pumpkin seeds, gingernut biscuit
If you like pumpkin, this would be a very nice cheesecake.
selection of cheese, quince paste and lavosh
Two cheeses were selected – berrys creek train blu from Victoria, Australia and cabot cheddar from USA – a pairing from the home countries of the hosts and guests of the dinner.
Pony Dining is located in Sydney’s oldest laneway within the historic and bustling dining precinct of The Rocks. Situated on the corner of Argyle Street and Kendall Lane, Pony Dining was originally a former bond warehouse. Restaurant designer, Michael McCann, transformed the historic building into the stunning dining space it is today. The restaurant features a large open kitchen with a pony hide clad counter, 10 meter long dining table on the outdoor deck, an intimate lounge for pre-dinner drinks, heritage brick walls, and commissioned woven art hangings – making this space a truly unique dining destination.
As always, the food, service and ambiance was excellent. Of course I will return again.
Pony Dining The Rocks
Cnr Argyle Street and Kendall Lane
The Rocks NSW 2000 Australia
Tel : 02 9252 7797
Date Visited : Dec 2019