Open since October 2010, this modern bistro overlooking Central Station has proved a welcome addition to the vibrant Surry Hills food scene. Chef Warren Turnbull (from Assiette) has taken the fuss (and forbidding prices) out of fine dining, but hasn’t compromised on quality or flavour.
The menu, which is designed to share, gives little away with its modest descriptions. So you’ll be pleasantly surprised when contemporary dishes arrive beautifully presented, like the veal tongue, artfully arranged on a pool of zingy salsa verde and decorated with pickled baby turnips and sautéed almonds. The menu changes regularly, but other dishes might include kingfish with wasabi panna cotta, quinoa and ponzu, or crispy quail eggs with anchovies and tarragon mayonnaise. Desserts are also a treat: perhaps mandarin brulee with cardamom and poached mandarin, or lemon cheesecake with blueberries and lemon curd ice cream.
The smart, contemporary approach to food carries through to the decor, which features bare tables, blackboards, splashes of bright colour and big windows along one wall. Rustic wooden boards and cute glass jars are used to serve several dishes, and provide a nice contrast to the technically adept, modern food. With friendly staff and an interesting wine list, paired with a solid cocktail menu, District Dining is well and truly worth your dollars.