Sydney Restaurants: Mod-Oz Magic at Tomislav

  • Tomislav’s rib eye with bone marrow.

    Tomislav’s rib eye with bone marrow.

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Above: The restaurant’s dining room.

A new harbor-side restaurant in Sydney showcases nouvelle-Australian cuisine at its finest.

By Petrina Price

Having cut his teeth in creative Sydney kitchens helmed by the likes of Matt Moran (Aria) and Guillaume Brahimi (Bennelong), not to mention Heston Blumenthal’s three-Michelin-starred Fat Duck in London, it’s perhaps no surprise that chef Tomislav Martinovic likes to play with his food. At Tomislav (2/13 Kirketon Rd., Darlinghurst; 61-2/9356-4535;, the 35-year-old Sydneysider pays homage to his mentors with an inspired menu that not only incorporates fresh local produce, but also molecular-cooking techniques that will have Blumenthal—a leading proponent of chemistry-based cooking—blushing with pride.

Starters like rice crackers and a side of fries don’t sound complex, but Martinovic is all about surprise. The former dish sees tissue-thin sheets of rice paper flash fried before being piled on a slab of slate next to an atomizer of vinegar. It’s simple, and utterly addictive. So too are the crinkle-cut wedges of potato, which, in true Fat Duck form, are boiled before being double fried so that they’re super-crunchy on the outside while remaining fluffy and piping-hot within.

Dishes at Tomislav change on a regular basis, and that’s just as well given that  there are only five entrées and the same number of mains available on any given day. The evening I visit, proceedings begin with a poached hen’s egg enveloped in potato cream—a throwback to the home cooking of Martinovic’s childhood. Roast kangaroo and Burrawong duck make appearances among the mains, but I opt for the rib-eye steak accompanied by a smear of grilled mango and roasted marrow.

My only complaint is the compact size of the dining room, where tables seem arranged too close to one another. So if you don’t want to overhear what the couple next to you are whispering, grab a seat on the restaurant’s sprawling balcony, which overlooks Sydney Harbour and its iconic bridge.

Originally appeared in the August/September 2010 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Mod-Oz Magic”)

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