Perfect for: A dinner with a close friend on a hot summer's night - get a table outside!
Price range: $$$ Exxy
My rating: 7/10
Food: 8/10 Service: 5/10 Ambience: 8/10
Orto Trading Co. is a cafe slash restaurant slash bar nestled in the food-friendly part of Surry Hills. There are wooden tables outside in the courtyard for brunch, tables inside for dinner, and a bar if you're feeling a little thirsty.
I imagine most people try the brunch menu before they try the dinner menu at Orto, but I was starving when I walked past here one night and decided to give the dinner menu a go before I come back another day for brunch.
The first thing I notice about this place is that it's a little bit confused about what it wants to be. It has a pretty expensive dinner menu, signalling that it's a high-end sort of restaurant, yet it is blasting edgy indie music much more fitting of a cafe or a bar.
I order the fish tartare with coconut jelly to start. It is basically a ceviche but with an interesting mix of textures - the combination of the coconut jelly that melt in your mouth, the crunch of the fried onions, the tender fish tartare, the bits of finely chopped fresh red onion, and the bits of lime flesh that pop in your mouth. I thought this was beautifully prepared and presented.
For the main, I tried the stuffed roast chicken on a bed of pureed peas. The chicken was stuffed with prawn and ginger - I thought that this combination of flavours was very odd and didn't enjoy it all that much. Furthermore, the chicken was too well done and the pureed peas were cold when it was served, so I was a little bit disappointed with this choice.
The service was a little half-hearted - the waitstaff weren't attentive and I had to wait around for a while before I got a table, despite the fact that the restaurant was half empty. Despite that, the food did arrive pretty quickly once the waitstaff got around to taking my order. I do think that service is Orto Trading Co.'s biggest let-down.
I would love to come back for the pork three-ways sharing board, and hopefully the service will improve by that time.
Meal: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner
Cuisine: Modern Australian
Address: 38/52 Waterloo Street, Surry Hills
Near: The Belvoir St Theatre - why not watch a show while you're close?
Hours: Tue-Sat 8am-3pm 6-10pm, Sun 8am-3pm, Closed Mondays