Bird Cow Fish. The very name suggests an uncomplicated approach to the execution of protein as does its stated unwavering commitment to sustainability with only the food miles to its Surry Hills digs at slight odds with such a deceptively simple yet successful formula. However, having recently travelled over 330kms in a failed pilgrimage toembrace the merits of less travelled produce with local traceability, the irony that far better delivery existed in such close proximity to the CBD, is evidence of Chef Alex Herbert’s measured and respectful execution of the BCF philosophy.
The welcome, nearly as comforting as the food, is underpinned by a quiet confidence as you enter the slick white L shape room intelligently softened by the use of darker contrasts on the trims. The Espresso bar adjacent to the entrance offers an interesting compressed menu and drinks list, without being overly intrusive to those diners wanting a more comprehensive experience. The sophisticated crowd that inhabit the room on this Tuesday lunch are as unhurried as the kitchen, which clearly prefers to lovingly hone the nuance and flavours from the ingredients rather than just knocking out the covers by the numbers.
Whilst not showcasing BCF, the Sonoma sourdough with Coratina EVO ($2.50 pp) and a selection of Pino Tomini Foresti’s quality cured meats ($18.50) offer a nice pre-cursor, although the Shaw River buffalo mozzarella did not quite provide the intended point of contrast to balance out the intensity of the platter. The grissini was nicely seasoned though and the portioning for two was just about right. The heavenly gnocchi ($19.50) with prawn meat that follows, sautéed in burnt butter, verjuice and capers is absolutely sublime with perfectly crispy sage garnishing a dish that was clearly cooked with both care and passion. The wide hand cut Fettuccine ($18.50) with braised fennel, Jerusalem artichokes, ‘Bottarga di Muggine’ and shaved Sovrano buffalo grana is a delicate but cohesive collage of textures and flavour.
The much famed BCF Barossa Valley chicken ($35.50) is an example of a humble ingredient nurtured and elevated by porcini infused rice, sautéed King Brown mushrooms and salsify to produce a sophisticated produce driven dish that pays homage to the influence that Maggie Beer had on the Chef during her brief stint at Pheasant Farm Restaurant. The side of duck fat & thyme roasted potatoes ($7.50) is a cardiologists nightmare, but who really cares when it divinely supplements food hitting such peaks. Speaking of which, the roast Mirrool Creek lamb loin ($36.50) like everything else is cooked to an absolute treat with the eggplant, tapenade and pesto roulade and lamb jus providing a nice counterpoint to the earthiness of the meat. This is wholesome fare that makes one ponder why others overcomplicate dishes for a lesser outcome.
Steamed cumquat pudding ($15.50) with a sea of sherry anglaise is unapologetically simple, but it’s the texture that’s the real deal breaker. Alternatively, the Strawberry sorbet, vanilla ice cream and chocolate parfait slice ($15.50) with walnut biscuits is flawless but perhaps would be better placed on the summer menu. The BCF blend of Single Origin Roasters ($3.50) is definitely at the better end of what is usually offered and is a good argument to just swing by for with a bar snack when under more pressing time constraints. A surprisingly comprehensive tea list is also offered for those preferring a more meditative outcome. Some reasonably priced back vintage options are also offered in a thoughtful wine list that is clearly structured to best compliment the style of the cuisine.
BCF is a unique bistro that has the courage to back up its culinary convictions, using humanely reared sustainable produce, showcasing the technique of an accomplished Chef without any overt intervention on her part in producing dishes that have both integrity and purpose. This philosophy spills over into the service which is intelligent, well informed and genuinely proud of the soulful food that is produced where traditional roasting and pan frying produces dishes of immense comfort that we still just love to eat. To quote directly from their menu footer: good, simple, and delicious. I say Amen to that!
500 Crown Street, Surry Hills
Mon-Sun 12pm to 2.30pm, Mon-Sun 6pm-10pm
Licensed / BYO ($15 corkage per bottle)