Since opening in November last year, Darling & Co has become Paddington’s go to restaurant for events, functions and a dining experience.
The restaurant offers a number of different spaces for any type of event, from the exclusive private function space ‘The Garden’, which caters for weddings and large parties, to the smaller, more intimate 'Swayze’s Backstage', situated downstairs. Each room and space is completely different, with the main restaurant and bar styled in retro décor.
Everything about Darling & Co is upmarket, including the price tag. But the food and the service make it worth your while - trust me!
We started with the Angus Beef Tartare with Vietnamese spices, hens egg, crispy shallot and rice puffs. The Vietnamese flavours really shine through this dish. The freshness of the herbs and spring onions tantalize your tongue and the beef is so tender that it simply melts in your mouth.
The rice puffs are crispy and thin, lightly deep fried to offer some crunch to the dish. Covered in black sesame sale, they are delicious. However, after a few mouthfuls of the beef tartare, the saltiness of the dish is too much and the soy sauce becomes overpowering.
The highlight of the starters was the Harvey Bay Scallops with celeriac, pickled apple and guanciale crumb. The scallops are cooked perfectly, light and gooey in the middle. The pickled apple cut through the creaminess of the sauce and the guanciale crumb adds an element of crunch. I could not fault this dish.
For mains we had the Spatchcock with Middle Eastern cauliflower, pomegranate and pistachio, and the Cape Grim Eye Fillet with sweet radicchio, kipflers and shallot cream.
The Spatchcock is also cook perfectly with a crispy skin and tender, moist meat. The Middle Eastern cauliflower with pomegranate and pistachio is made on a yoghurt base. The macadamia nuts really stand out, along with a strong flavour of rosemary. This leaves you with a strong herb aftertaste that goes well with the unmarinated, clean taste of the Spatchcock. The dish is also flavoured by a char grilled chili, which is a nice addition and works well with the Middle Eastern flavours.
The chefs at Darling & Co sure know how to cook meat. It is too often that you go to a restaurant, order a medium rare steak and are thoroughly disappointed when you receive an overcooked meal. So I was delighted when the waiter delivered the Cape Grim Eye Fillet to our table. This piece of steak was cooked to perfection. Lightly seared on the outside, but still pink, juicy and soft in the middle.
The shallot cream is delicious, and an interesting alternative to mashed potatoes. However, the “sweet” radicchio is anything but and is best to be avoided unless you can handle the bitterness.
The cocktails at Darling & Co are crisp, clean and refreshing. We tried the 10 Days in Tahiti with Ketel One Vodka, watermelon, coconut, lime and mint and the Lemon Myrtle Frozen Margarita with Don Julio Blanco, lemon myrtle, lime and agave. The lemon myrtle really shone through the margarita, which added complexity and made the cocktail a different tasting experience.
The desserts are as good as the meals. The Malted Milk Chocolate Mousse with bitter ganache, cashew brittle, liquorish root, cocoa and tarragon is very rich, but is balanced well by the ice cream and salted caramel underneath. The pistachio nuts and dehydrated chocolate bits add crunch.
The Blueberry Lemon & Vanilla Vacherin Mess with gelato bianco, pomelo and citrus sherbet was incredible. I would come back just for this dish. The lemon meringue is crunchy and light. The blueberry ice cream is covered in citrus sherbet, making it sweet and sour at the same time.
Overall, Darling & Co offers an incredible taste sensation. The service is fantastic and there are a variety of rooms, each with their own ambience to choose from.
Fantastic food if you don’t mind your meal being a bit on the pricey side.
Black Book Recommendation
Harvey Bay Scallops
157 Given Terrace, Paddington QLD 4064
Phone - (07) 3367 9800
Mon - Thu: 6:30am–12am
Fri - Sun: 6:30am–1am