Boy and I made our way up to the entrance, and soon after the door was thrown open for us by a staff member we met both the Stews (Tony and Nada Stewart), and came face to face with Mervin* the cockatoo, sitting on the bar. At 6:30pm on a cold Thursday night, the bar seating and inside tables were almost full, and while there was plenty of seating outside, I was glad to have booked the day before.
[*I have no idea what the cockatoo's name is, but I've always wanted to call something Mervin]
The wine flights ($18) are a chance to try three wines of a particular variety, and they are placed on a card describing each wine and the location and year of origin. We both enjoyed our 'flight', and appreciated the opportunity to taste wines that we would never otherwise try, particularly as one of our two favourites, the Lavender Ridge Shiraz, is exclusive to 2 Stews.
The tempura prawns with wasabi mayo ($3 each), were a great start to our meal, despite the fact that the batter was far thicker than expected for a tempura batter. The mayo was a lovely accompaniment, and I appreciated the mild amount of wasabi in it.
The slow-cooked beef with Middle Eastern spices (top photo), and Moroccan lamb meatballs were not at the same level of fabulousness as the arancini. The beef had all the right components of a Middle Eastern dish, but didn't quite mesh as well as dishes we've had at Middle Eastern restaurants. However, I enjoyed the pop of freshness of the cucumber and pomegranate against the heavily-spiced beef, and once I incorporated the flatbread with my mouthful of the other components, I appreciated the dish much more.
For us, the desserts were a little disappointing. While the ice cream on each plate was delicious, the chocolate fondant missed the all-important ooze, and had a bitter flavour that wasn't to our taste. The apple tarte tatin was more enjoyable and tasty, but didn't reach the heights of the devastatingly good tarte tatin I had recently.
Overall, I like 2 Stews and a Cockatoo. The ambience is vibrant with just the right amount of eccentricity to appeal to a broad customer base. The food has its highs and lows, and I wouldn't mind trying other dishes to see what else is a 'high', but at the very least, its a great place to increase your wine knowledge while having a light meal.
2 Stews and a Cockatoo
Gordon GPO Building
741 Pacific Hwy
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