[Invitational Review] Housed just across the road from the Gladstone Park in Balmain is One6Eight Balmain, it’s a modern Australian fine diner and this is pretty stonkinly good and one that you’d be amiss to not check it out. One6Eight was pretty great dining from start to finish – the mains were pretty much on point and had some of the most finessed mains we’ve had in a while. Dessert was a fun melange of components that made it a rather good fun eat. We’ve previously been a bit back to their venue in the city before they relocated; the current iteration of one6eight is more intimate and we really rather enjoyed spending time in there. We should mention that One6Eight is husband and wife duo Amanda and Leigh McDivitt (her front of house, wine/cocktails, bread; him kitchen and eats) and they do great dinners.

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A black and red motif anchors the one6eight fitout with butterflies adorning the walls there.

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Hendricks Gin and Tonic done right. With a slice of cucumber.

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An amuse bouche of ceviche “kingfish” with horseradish icecream. A nice surprise, this was pretty good with a subtle kick and just right to delight your palate.

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Special mention has to be given to One6eight’s wine list. They have some amazing drinks. Moriki Shuzo ‘Suppin Rumiko’ saké with the leatherjacket and that delicious Marsanne with the beef. We had some incredible drinking Ridgeside icewine from Niagra Canada with dessert.
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A pretty entree, their Leatherjacket cheeks are clean and light while the caviar added that punch of brininess and also that luxe fishiness. Morsoles of vongole were battered and fried and provided textural contrast. All up, a very nice entree. Similarly, their specialty “glenfiddich” curd chicken dish (part of the glenfiddich challenge dish for 2015) which admittedly don’t look like much, covers up perfectly cooked and tender chicken. Very tender chicken that worked with the tangy velvety curd.

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The side dish that won us over. Their $10 truffled mash is reminiscent of that Rockpool potato dauphine as a side dish that trumps. Flavoursome, heavy with truffle flecks and scent. We kept diving back in for more. We see fiobanacci sequence in the spirals of the Romanesco cauliflower. Lightly steamed and lemony with pinenuts.

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(Top) Venison $38 and Wagyu $36. We can’t emphaise enough the excellence in both the mains here. They’re seriously fantastic eats and shows a deft hand with the meat cookery. Venison with Chocolate gnocchi, King Brown Mushrom, Pea powder. Served rare, the venison is tender and the chocolate gnocchi paired well – enhancing the flavours of the game. Curiously if you wondered what chocolate gnocchi tastes like? It had a meaty quality like a tasty burnt end. Pillowy soft. Wagyu grade 5 similiarly rare, tender and lush with a rich sauce that just work. Both excellent and dishes we recommend heartily and to slow down and savour. The technique on display on the venison dish; pea powder, that perfect tuille – this isn’t your regular neighbourhood restaurant.

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That ridgeside ice wine. Just stunning. Handpicked at night in the cold.
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Chef’s playground $32 – a shared plate of desserts. The theme for winter is “winters playground” with gingerbread icecream, banana marshmellow, snow like powder sugar, a punch of colour in the raspberry sorbet. There’s also ginger jelly on there, as well as burnt marshmellow schmear and a piping hot donut. Dessert had a fun “oh what’s this” quality as you work your way through the ingredients on the board.

We really rather liked one6eight. The food is elevated and punching well above whatever expectations you’d probably going to have going in. They’ve got a compelling degustation menu that’s well worth looking into (menu here). There’s of course ala carte options and highteas on the weekend. Highly Recommended.

233 Darling Street, Balmain


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