At its core, Bootsdarling is a killer coffee barista stapled to a two-man shoebox kitchen operation. The sweet spot is food complex enough to differentiate, yet simple enough that each element has a purpose.
Chic interior design, chalkboard drinks menu.
Given the location is 50m from Taylor Square, ‘alternative is in’ and so soy flat white is my beverage.
Soy flat white – $3.50
Best $3.50 beverage I’ve ever had aside from a half price Boost Juice. Aromatic, smooth and creamy. I was too dehydrated from the SMH Half Marathon to notice the heart artwork.
No doubt the signature zucchini fritters has me intrigued. At over $20, I’m sharpening my (food) knife.
Zucchini, corn and ricotta fritters with trout and poached egg – $22
Cafe fritters are so predictable, so the question is why is this different?
First thought is that of a beached whale. Look at how the trout is lifelessly slumped across the fritter embankment. This proves both a pitiful and perversely arousing visual.
Initial mouth has me defeated. Delicately shaved zucchini delivers a soft, stringy texture you’d never get from a flour base. Add a creamy dimension from the ricotta and a pesto moat and this is deadly. I was so taken aback I almost forgot to pop the yolk on top … almost.
Excellent yolk seepage into the fritters shown below.
The trout was tackled separately and I rejoiced in rescuing the whale by dismantling the flaky flesh, piece by piece. The final reward was a crispy skin. Critical. Such a simple yet tasty dish with every element having a purpose.
Unusual choice for Lorie in a pasta special for brunch. Rules are made to be broken. Having been told this is lunch only, I explained to the nice waiter the missus is carb loading (for the 30m walk back to the car).
Mediterranean pasta with salsa verde, olives, capers and sun-dried tomatoes – $12
Flavour wise it’s a very solid effort and comparable to a good mid-range Italian kitchen (e.g. Fratelli). Can’t fault the quality produce, al dente pasta and sauce-pasta coverage. Mini mushrooms worked like a charm.
If you (i) crave pesto, and (ii) love value, then this is the dish for you. A surprise outperformance with ‘good food good price’ being the obvious pull.
A sincere performance from two guys so space constrained with a score to match:
– Food (♦♦♦♦) – simple, tasty yet innovative enough to avert the DIY-risk.
– Value (♦♦♦♦) – wide spread. Low teens cheap up to north of $20 not-cheap. Portions acceptable.
– Other (♦♦♦♦♦) – nailed the coffee but note the shoebox setting.
– Overall (♦♦♦♦♦) – just gets the magic 5. Start at 4, then 0.5 for coffee then round up.
My view is this sits perilously close to must-try status. Memorable enough but not life changing. If you live close, it’s a great option.
Will I be returning?
Yes, but very dish specific. Green Duk eggs and if they offer, baked eggs.