My friends are the best in the world. Seriously. Steph and Karen gave me the choice to go anywhere in Sydney for my birthday lunch, and after much deliberation I picked a restaurant I’d been meaning to try for a while, Orto Trading Co in Surry Hills. Nestled in right next to El Capo and Izakaya Fujiama (both awesome) on Waterloo St, the three restaurants couldn’t be more different to each other, but I guess that’s why it works.
It was a gorgeous sunny day and the restaurant space was light, bright and airy with pretty flowers hanging in bottles over the bar for a cool design feature. Though it was so light and bright that as the afternoon went on we found our table in full sun even though we were inside and were almost sweltering. Crazy for winter!
I think on your birthday you’re allowed cocktails for breakfast right?? I had the Espresso Martini, which was one of the best I’ve tried (and I’ve had a fair few in my time!) with the perfect hit of caffeine and of course booze, made with Belvedere Vodka, Brinley Gold Vanilla Rum and Kahlua.
Karen got the pretty pink drink you see in the back there, a Berry Fizz with house made berry sorbet and Prosecco, and Steph decided on the Bloody Mary, made with basil-infused vodka, muddled heirloom tomatoes, tobasco, worcestershire sauce and lime. I’d never actually tried one before (not a huge fan of tomato juice) but surprisingly I quite liked it. The kick of tobasco will definitely wake you up! Plus, it had a stripy straw! This is definitely my kind of place.
As is our usual custom, we ordered way too much food, starting with this unexpectedly generous serving of crispy whitebait to snack on. I’m surprised at how much I enjoyed these, especially with the tarragon aioli. They would be perfect to snack on with a glass of wine too. Yum!
Look at this beauty! The Ploughman’s Lunch was served on a rustic wooden board with duck scotch egg (I didn’t try this, but Steph and Karen thought it was great), house made pickles, a hunk of cheddar, wagyu silverside and house-baked sourdough rolls. We enjoyed nibbling away at the various components of this colourful dish.
We had a tough time deciding between this dish and the Boston Baked Beans with Pork Belly, but the Bangers and Mash won out and boy am I glad we chose this because it was our favourite of the day. Actually it was the only dish we managed to finish! The pork, sage and prune sausages were house made, and I loved the use of colcannon mash instead of standard mash, that was strewn with red cabage and silverbeet. And that delicious onion jus brought all the flavours together. I’d definitely come back for this dish.
Okay, so I know waffles are technically a breakfast dish, but we saved this one for our “dessert” and I must say, they were still crispy and delicious when we finally got to eating them! The cinnamon butter was out-of-this-world good, plus I liked the nice crunch from the walnuts. Orto’s waffles are served with seasonal fruit, in this case poached pear. Sooo good.
I really enjoyed the food, drinks and lovely decor, although the service was a little aloof and occasionally slow. Orto Trading Co is a great brunch spot, and I love reading “house made” so many times on one menu, from the jams to the sausages to the bread rolls. Their garden of herb and flower pots outside is really nice too. And any place that serves breakfast cocktails is fine by me! I’ll definitely be back.
Orto Trading Co, 38 Waterloo St, Surry Hills Ph: 0431 212 453