Bloodwood is industrial, yet intimate, with interesting recycled glass, wood and metal suspended from the ceiling and comfortable cushions and soft lighting closer to the floor. With plates designed for sharing, a substantial portion of the menu is vegetarian. We began with rum cocktails (their list is exciting and extensive) and wonderfully tangy luxe light rye sour dough bread ($3). Following the insistence of friends who had dined there previously (and a work colleague who happened to be there that night), we ordered the polenta chips with gorgonzola sauce ($9). They were everything a good chip should be - chunky, salty, crispy on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside. As a fan of fromage but not so much the blue variety, I was initially hesitant about dipping into the gorgonzola sauce. I was quickly converted, enjoying its creamy piquancy against the chips.
Next, my partner tucked into some swordfish carpaccio ($18) while I enjoyed the lion's share of the socca - chickpea pancake, spiced pumpkin, quinoa, persian fetta, fresh herbs ($18). Its unassuming presentation as a nicely constructed pumpkin pizza belied its complexity. It was assertive in musky, spiced flavour and interesting in texture, thanks to the besan in the crust and the feathery, fresh dill. Our last savoury dish was the baked mushrooms served in paper with red wine, garlic, cream and farro ($18), a rich combination of exotic mushrooms, creamy, garlic wine sauce and a sprinkle of chewy grains. They were simply outstanding, but we sorely needed something to soak up the glorious sauce (the sour dough would have done nicely, but I made do with the spoon).
To complete our celebration, we needed dessert. Once again, a recommendation from a work colleague (my parter's this time - is there anyone who hasn't been here and loved something?) dictated ordering the Bloodwood trifle ($14), comprised of poor man's orange, pound cake, port wine jelly, champagne anglaise, yoghurt mascarpone. Our first choice, however, was immediately obvious to both of us - chocolate, caramel peanut torte with banana mousse ($14). Foolishly, we tasted the torte first and then greed got the better of us and we inhaled it in its entirety. It was rich, sweet, bitter and luscious with dark chocolate, savoury, crunchy and salty with peanuts, smoky and fragrant with caramel and banana...the poor trifle didn't stand a chance. It was nice, and probably would have garnered more appreciation had we eaten it before its decadent companion, but as things played out, it was no match.
Overall, we were very happy with our dining experience. Apart from the high standards reached by the food, the service was exemplary - polite, attentive (our water glasses never fell below a quarter full) yet unobtrusive.
Bloodwood is located at 416 king st. newtown 2042 - (+61 2) 9557 7699. It is open 5pm onwards on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Mondays and from midday onwards onwards on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays (closing at 10pm on Sundays). It is closed Tuesdays.