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Over the weekend I took the chance to have a long and leisurely Saturday lunch at The Cottage Bar & Kitchen in Balmain, something I’ve been meaning to do since moving here but not had the time to do so. This place has a lot of rustic charm and a leafy outdoor setting that was perfect for a sunny Saturday afternoon catch up with an old friend. We sat on the terrace overlooking the front garden dining area which gave us the chance to check out what the diners below us were ordering and take a few mental notes for our next visits. There are plenty of leafy trees out front which makes for a great barrier against the sun and a cool and pleasant dining experience. It was also great to have a direct view of the live band Bad Pony, who were playing an acoustic set of indie/rock covers and (I think) some original songs, which added a pleasant and relaxed mellowness to the occasion overall.

We decided to order three share plates which ended up being the perfect amount for 2 and left us suitably satisfied but not bursting at the seams. The first to reach the table was the field mushrooms stuffed with haloumi and prawns and an accompanying spicy dipping sauce, a delicious dish that was simple and understated and one I will definitely be ordering again. We also had the four cheese cauliflower with candied walnuts, also delicious and perfect for a winter Saturday. The cheese sauce was silky but suitably subtle and not too rich, with no chance of overshadowing the cauliflower which can often be the case. Our most hearty dish of the day was the lamb shoulder with baba ghanoush, lentil salad and pomegranate..definitely a winner. Tender and crispy, the lamb shoulder was cooked to perfection and the accompaniments made for an interesting but delicious combination of flavours and textures. The lentil salad is definitely something I’d like to try at home and would definitely recommend this dish as it was flavoursome and, simply put, good looking!! I’m a sucker for aesthetics, but this one tasted great as well. The service here was friendly and the staff were approachable and helpful. I found the Tim Adams Reisling to be the perfect accompaniment to the lunch and my companion’s Vinaceous Shiraz had amazing colour and was reportedly delicious.

All in all it was a great lunch and I loved the friendly vibe of The Cottage. I was reminded of some of the places I visited with my sister in New York and I’d definitely like to head back there and check out the scene at night..and the pizzas, which looked great!

I’m officially a fan and looking forward to my next visit,

Trini xo

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