In Short: Cod’s Gift is a seafood restaurant and bar located in Dural, that showcases amazingly fresh sustainably-sourced seafood paired with good wine and cocktails. They also have a take-away counter, if you are after a quick and tasty fish-and-chips fix.
There has never been a better time to be out in north western Sydney. For those of us who live in the region, we already have a good selection of restaurants and cafes that have sprung up over the past few years. To add to the list now, we have Cod’s Gift, a restaurant and bar in Dural. Sustainable seafood, cocktails, and they’re all set for fish and chips to take-away soon too!
Opened by the folks behind the wildly successful Wolfe & Co café, which thrives on Old Northern Road just a few doors away, the new restaurant and bar is very elegantly decorated with high ceilings and classic muted colour palettes. With the casual green and white cane bar stools and blue and white chair outdoor furniture, the whole restaurant feels very classic Hampton style. To add to the charm, the inside of the restaurant features dark wood-panelled floors, marble dining tables, and lush dark blue velvet sofas.
Wolfe & Co is already renowned for its good food, but after a couple of hours at Cod’s Gift, you will agree with us that the level of refinement has been lifted a couple of notches. Cod’s Gift proposition is to showcase sustainably caught seafood, prepared with expert hands, and presented beautifully. Just in case your preferred protein is not usually from the sea, they have also included a steak, and a chicken, item on the menu.
For our first starter, we decided to go with the Savoury Donuts with a Crab Salad filling seasoned with fennel salt. In between a light, and perfectly sweetened, donut sandwich there is a filling of fine flakes of crab meat, perfectly seasoned, and mixed with green onions. This is a dish that is both sweet and savoury, and it’s the perfect way to start our experience at Cod’s gift.
Following our dainty starter, we sampled an entrée-sized offering of Sashimi, which featured fresh pieces of scallop and salmon, sitting on a bed of fine pink ginger puree to contrast against the heady flavours of the wasabi. The kombu cracker provides a good crunchy texture to the dish, while the edible yellow and orange nasturtium flowers provide a lovely colour contrast. The sweetness of the scallops, and the smooth rich flavours of the salmon was so melt-in-your-mouth perfect, that they really did not need much accompaniment. I believe the chef realised that as well, and just let the freshness of the seafood speak for itself.
For mains, fellow Coco and Viner Sacha went with the New Zealand John Dory with heirloom carrots, cumin, smoked peas, and liquorice sauce. The smashed peas had a unique smoked flavour that was not overpowering. I appreciated that it wasn’t a totally smooth puree, but rather nice texture of the peas still visible. The heirloom carrots were cooked but still slightly firm, giving it a nice bite as I ate it. But it was the John Dory that was the hero of the dish. The portion size was just right, and it was cooked to perfection, flaking apart as the fork went through the flesh. What brought the whole dish together was black liquorice sauce that had a sweet and savoury taste. While it’s not instantly obvious, you do get those aniseed flavours of the liquorice coming through, and it worked so well with the John Dory.
For my main, I went with the Bisque with Crab Dumpling, Urchin Roe. The secret ingredient is the use of pastis, a type of French Aperif with a unique anise-flavour, which enhanced the seafood flavour in the bisque. The end result is a seafood bisque that is of a deep, milky, orange colour. Bobbing with the dumplings and chunks of seafood, it is rich in flavour and texture. You can see the lush white pieces of sweet crab meat mixed into the soup, which was inviting and satisfying. The dumplings were also soft and pillowy, made into gnocchi size, which allowed for them to be scooped up and enjoyed with every spoonful of the crab bisque. You can have it as an entrée or a main, but my tip, order main size. I was whispering to my lunch date that if I could, I would be lifting the bowl up and licking it to ensure that I get every last drop of the bisque!
Cod’s Gift is not just about adults. Little Coco and Viner Sammi dined with us on this occasion, and she was not the only kid in the restaurant. The staff were nice and welcoming to her as well, and I have to say that this is a very kid-friendly restaurant, right down to the super comfy chairs which Sammi completely made herself at home in the minute she stepped into the restaurant. Sammi also had her own kids menu where she could choose from a simple no-fuss selection of favourite items, just the way most kids like it. She went with the fish and chips, and was not disappointed. The battered fish was made with the firm fleshed flat head. It was golden brown, crunchy, crispy and well-seasoned. Whatever she could not finish, Sacha and I had no issues helping her. In fact, I got the dirty look from Sammi several times when my fork unconsciously reached over to “try” her food!
By this time, the two adults at the table were satisfied after outstanding starters and mains. But no meal for us would be complete without some kind of dessert. We decided unanimously on the Chocolate, comprising of milk chocolate mousse, dark chocolate sorbet and mandarin. Perhaps another appropriate name for it could be ‘Death by Chocolate’! The milk chocolate mousse was rich, airy, and creamy while the dark chocolate sorbet was a mouthful of intense, cooling chocolate delight. To give the dish a fun crunchy factor, there were freeze dried strawberries and mini chocolate balls. The chocolate-coated mandarin stick placed on top of the dark chocolate sorbet, gave a hit of citrus to cut through the richness of the chocolate. Finally, the white sweet pea flower and deep pink geranium flower garnished lifted the visual appeal of the dish.
Throughout my dining experience here, I noticed that the focus behind Cod’s Gift food is that they start with the freshest ingredients, style it up a little, but still allow the main ingredient to shine with its natural flavour and taste. There was also a lot of emphasis on the customer service to make sure that you are well looked after, and that is what makes Cod’s Gift a stand out for me as a place to dine with your family and friends.