Moments and Monet – Lunch at The Cottage, Balmain

IMG_2352Life is measured in moments, don’t you think?

Some are painstakingly slow, like clock ticking on a doctor’s waiting room wall.

Some whizz by too quickly, like a child’s first year, gone in a blink.

But all piece together to make up this mosaic of a life, and if we are lucky, we get to savour a few.

Take my last weekend in Sydney.

Girlfriends brought together by difficult circumstances, it had been a weekend so long in coming.

But we packed a hell of a lot of moments into those two days, and I’m pretty sure it included a solution to world peace.

From strolling through Balmain to glasses of red by the fire, massages at Endota, and hilarious conversation, we did a lot and planned little.


So we found ourselves at The Cottage in Balmain for lunch.  I don’t think we could have chosen better.

Self described ‘urban oasis’, The Cottage is a scrunchy ‘welcome mat’ amongst inner city cool.

Meandering stone pathway leads through a street fronted courtyard, monet-esque creeping rose winding across the walls on either side.

The mismatched interiors and interesting things on the walls spill through the rooms down hallways and up stairs like the home of your well travelled aunty.

Lots to look at.  But not cluttered – it was put together well, enough to invite you in.

Our little band of four settled into the small internal courtyard at one of the bench seats.


We chose the degustation at $55 per head (to much excitement from the chef, by accounts).  We opted to swap out the venison for the lamb shoulder.

The food was ample. Very generous serves, with six large share dishes, plus cheese.

The influences are seasonal, a Moroccan peaks – pomegranate, baba ganoush, humus, harissa all make an appearance.

But I think fresh, feminine and seasonal is probably about right.


The Gin Cured Salmon Salad was a standout, sweet flavoured and gently textured salmon mixed through winter greens, and that crunchy black rice was just brilliant. I could have eaten this all day.


The confit duck salad looked and tasted great – the duck was crunchy and chewy and all things very good, with oozy quail eggs teasing on top.  I was just sorry I was too full to eat more.  I tried.


The Wintery Kale Salad with rocket pear and fennel was great, and I enjoyed the seared scallops with corn puree although I used it a little sparing so I could really enjoy that lovely scallopy delicacy.


I couldn’t resist the shared cocktail bowl – a gin based ‘Two Oh Four One’ with apple and mint that was refreshing and fun .. even if the bowl ended up proving a little deep.

We ambled through our shared lunch, laughing louder than we should, retelling times past and celebrating our togetherness.

And you know, for that moment, and a weekend of moments, we denied the miles that otherwise keep us apart.


The Cottage Bar & Kitchen

342 Darling Street Balmain NSW



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