Trustee Bar and Bistro had been on my radar for a while, and after reading Queen of Bad Timing’s blog post about her visit there, I finally decided it was time to cough up the money and pay a visit to this Brookfield Place institution. I made a booking for last Thursday night at about 6pm to try and avoid the crowds, and soon enough the night rolled around and we were ready for our tastebuds to be delighted. With a bit of time up our sleeves after work before dinner, we stopped by Bob’s bar for a drink beforehand. I had only been up to Bob’s bar once before on a Friday afternoon, and it was nice to enjoy the rooftop with the sunshine and a little bit more space around.
As 6pm rolled around and the sun dipped down, we wandered on down the stairs and over to the Trustee Bar. We walked in through the upstairs bar, which has a classy, gentleman’s club feel to it. I believe you can order food upstairs as well, but I am not sure if it the same menu as downstairs. Either way, it is a very lush place for after work drinks.
Downstairs was more formal, with some large comfortable looking booths, and smaller intimate tables. The decor is a mix of elegance and industrial, with exposed concrete walls, industrial light fittings, soft flickering candles, vintage furnishings and select artwork on the walls. Sheer curtains around the windows provided a bit of privacy from the outside world, and combined with the candles this made for some nice romantic lighting. As it got busier, I was very impressed with the acoustics of the space – with music at a very low volume, you could hear general chatter all around you but didn’t get that awkward feeling that you are listening in on someone else’s conversation.
The view across from me wasn’t too bad either.
As we were given the menu’s, my attention was immediately taken by the fun cocktail list. I was torn between a watermelon bramble, touted as ‘summerlicious deliciousness’ with watermelon, lemon, tanqueray, campari, mint and bitters; or a jazzy hands which consisted of tanqueray, blood orange aperol, lemon and bubbles. You can see my dilemma right? Unfortunately the waiter couldn’t tell me much about them, due to it being a new cocktail list, so I decided I would just have to have both of them over the course of the night, and started with the jazzy hands. It was delicious – a little bit fizzy and a little bit fun, that bittersweet aperol taste was definitely the star of the show. I should mention here that they have a pretty amazing wine list as well – 2 sides of an A3 piece of paper, with 100 wines under $100, and 100 wines over $100.
After I finished exclaiming over my cocktails, we eventually got around to ordering some food. Ollie had decided to start with a couple of natural oysters ($4.20 each), which just came fresh with lemon lime salsa. He rated them highly, but noted they didn’t reach the lofty heights of the ones at Lalla Rookh from a few weeks ago.
I splashed out on the pork belly parcel ($25) for my entree, which was a delight to the eyes and the taste buds. Starting with the salad – crunchy apple sticks, sweetened beetroot, shredded cabbage and shallots combined with a white balsamic dressing made for a sweet but sharp salad, with bursts of flavour coming from every direction. That crispy apple really popped in my mouth, and I had never had anything like the sweetened beetroot before but I know I want to again. This perfectly complemented the rich, moist pork parcels – crispy pastry encasing fatty, delicious and tender pork belly, which was placed on a bed of aoli and topped off with some earthy beetroot. Everything on this plate worked so well together, both texturally and flavour-wise – I never wanted it to end!
We got through our mains pretty quickly, and turned our minds in anticipation to the mains. Ollie had ordered the surf and turf ($49.50), a feast consisting of grassland sirloin, tiger prawns and carrot puree. He had requested it to be cooked rare, and it was cooked perfectly so, with the juices leaking out as he cut it open. We thought the prawns might have been bigger since they were advertised as tiger prawns, but despite that the ones that were there were fresh and tasty. The carrot puree was thick and really well seasoned, and the only improvement I might have made would have been a few vegetables on side. That might just be my personal preference though, and I don’t think it even crossed Ollie’s mind until I mentioned it – I suppose if you order a surf and turf you’re not normally too interested in which vegetables are on the plate!
I had gone through a lot of angst choosing a main, trying to decide between the lamb osso bucco with pearl barley risotto ($39) and the duck parpadelle with oyster mushroom broth, spinach and pecorino ($33.50). In the end, the lamb won out – it is probably my favourite meat, and I find that duck can be a bit rich for me sometimes. Once it arrived, I knew I had made all the right choices. I almost didn’t even have to touch the meat before it was falling off the bone – it was impossibly tender and I found myself having to consciously slow down and enjoy it at a more socially acceptable pace.
The pearl barley risotto was perfectly cooked, with just that right amount of crunch that you want in a risotto and no hints of the gluginess that can plague some risottos. The sauce was so full of flavour from the lamb juices, and the mushrooms scattered through it added another level of meatiness. And of course, scraping the rich bone marrow out and eating it up was pure bliss – what is there not to love about bone marrow?
After dinner, I was ready for a second cocktail and the dessert menu. It was time for the watermelon bramble, another enjoyable tipple – the freshness of the mint and the sweetness of the watermelon was the ideal combination for a refreshing after dinner cocktail.
We knew that we couldn’t go to the Trustee without trying the famous snickers bar ($15), so it was an obvious choice for dessert. The reviews weren’t wrong – it was absolutely heavenly! Chocolate mousse with a peanut base was wrapped in milk chocolate and accompanied by delicious salted caramel ice-cream sandwiched between two wafers. All this is placed on a smear of caramel sauce, and topped off with a lone strawberry and a stick of white chocolate. Are you feeling full yet? I sure was just looking at it.
It was worth soldiering on though – the mousse was soft, airy and decadent, and the ice-cream struck a good balance between salty and sweet. Although I thoroughly enjoyed it, the dish was very rich and I was glad we were sharing. Also, the next dessert was sharp, tart and the perfect contrast to all this chocolate.
This perfect contrast was the blood orange tart ($15). The pastry on the tart itself was absolutely mind blowing – buttery and crumbly, giving way to the delicious blood orange filling which was very tart but counteracted nicely with the soft, fluffy italian meringue. The tart was only upstaged by the granny smith sorbet, which is made in house and was surprisingly sweet but oh-so more-ish. It surprised me that this was my favourite dessert as I am a huge chocolate fiend, but there you have it ladies and gentlemen!
I don’t think there was a single thing at the Trustee Bar that disappointed me – from the professional service to the relaxed yet classy atmosphere, everything was pulled off so well. The food was mouth watering, and the drinks list didn’t leave me wanting either. If you are ready to splash a few dollars around, I would definitely recommend a visit sometime soon.