Le Salle Dining by Bar Chaplin: Sydney’s secret culinary haven

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Nestled discreetly amidst the vibrant labyrinth of Surry Hills, Sydney, lies an intimate gastronomic jewel.

We are back in Australia now, and Le Salle Dining by Bar Chaplin, which only opened several weeks ago, is a restaurant we have long been waiting for.

This diminutive yet exquisite establishment reveals itself as a clandestine epicurean paradise. Its modest façade belies the mastery within – a culinary sanctum where gastronomic brilliance intertwines with an ambiance of enchantment: crimson drapery cascades gracefully, candles glow, and pretty floral arrangements adorn each table, all harmonised by dulcet melodies.

Door of Le Salle by Bar Chaplin in Surry Hills.
Le Salle by Bar Chaplin in Surry Hills.

Le Salle’s degustation is contemplative, uniting premium components in innovative amalgamations, without a colossal number of courses. Indeed, Chef Patrick Dang keeps the degustation at four courses for $88 or five for $98. You have the option to add more dishes if you please. Dang also keeps seating to a minimum; its customary to serve no more than 10 people. That’s because it’s just Dang in the kitchen and his partner, Ederlyn Oloresisimo, managing the floor, where she embraces guests with heartfelt warmth and personal attention.

Letter and menu on a wooden dining table at Le Salle by Bar Chaplin.
A warm welcome from the team at Le Salle by Bar Chaplin with a wax sealed note.

Meanwhile, the wine selection plays a pivotal role, artfully guiding the culinary narrative rather than merely accompanying it – a testament to Dang’s discerning approach. To start our particular evening, we enjoy some sparkle: a glass of NV Clement Klur Cremant D’Alsace from France.

Le Salle means “the room” in French, and Ederlyn tells us the establishment’s full name, Le Salle Dining by Bar Chaplin, works to reflect the fact they run both a restaurant and a wine bar. The name ‘Chaplin’ is inspired by Charlie Chaplin, since Dang values the silent communication of food.

A degustation of elegant sufficiency

We choose Le Salle’s four-course degustation, but we can upgrade it to five courses at any time, which essentially means adding the cheese selection.

Starters

We opt for four courses but choose a couple of the extra dishes: the opulent ‘oyster and pearls’ (lightly poached oyster scattered with prized ossetra caviar, and tinged with apple jus and peppery horseradish) and the Wagyu beef.

Oyster and caviar with a green sauce on a grey plate.
Luxurious.

Ederlyn explains they use fresh, seasonal produce, which prompts constant menu changes. But Chef Dang’s mood can also influence his creations – that is, what he feels like working with on any given day, she adds.

Our first course is tiger flathead, prepared escabeche-style. It comes in a sauce of watermelon and tomato, as well as jalapeno and avocado. The watermelon sauce surprises Mrs TCF. It’s not the first thing you think to pair with fish but it works so well, complementing the tomato’s sweetness. Together, the ingredients epitomise summer.

Fish and salad vegetables in a red watermelon sauce at Le Salle Dining by Bar Chaplin.
Balmy tastes.

After this, come the aforementioned ‘oyster and pearls’ – we definitely recommend this refreshing concoction – before the main of free range lamb in an eggplant relish with artichoke a la Grecque.

Mains

The lamb is succulent and almost gamey, and the relish gives this dish the Mediterranean tone.

The supplementary Wagyu is an excellent choice. It melts in our mouth and is seared to a perfect crust, accompanied by a sauce of its own juices. Crispy potato dauphinoise and bright green, crunchy broccolini provide balance.

Lamb in a brown jus on a grey plate at Le Salle by Bar Chaplin in Sydney.
Each dish is thought through carefully, including the lamb.

Dessert

Finally, comes dessert: a swirl of chocolate mousse, with salted caramel ice cream, coconut and passionfruit. Mr TCF likes the chocolate mousse but less so the salted caramel, which he felt didn’t quite complement the coconut. Meanwhile, Mrs TCF didn’t enjoy the mousse’s mouthfeel so much. It was a little too gelatiney for her liking, but she appreciated that it wasn’t too rich.

We don’t end up choosing the cheese course given we’re full now, although we are tempted. We’d like to try it next time though.

Chocolate mousse swirl with flowers and salted caramel ice cream in a bowl on a table at Le Salle by Bar Chaplin.
Pretty as a picture.

A standout dining experience

The quality of this evening’s creations has been outstanding. From the ingredients and Dang’s imagination to the know-how and impeccable service, we can’t wait to visit again. Dang and Ederlyn time each course as if they are mind readers.

They describe their restaurant as a semi-private dining room and we agree. And for those who enjoy dining without competing with loud music and diners, Le Salle has got you.

We appreciate Dang’s degustation size and the option to expand for a couple of reasons. As Ederlyn explains, the cost of living is difficult at the moment, and this offering makes fine dining achievable. Additionally, degustations can be overindulgent or excessive, serving far more than we are capable of comfortably eating. However, Dang enables us to avoid this unnecessary consumption, emphasising the beauty of having just enough.

If you value expertly constructed dishes and lovely waitering surrounded by charm, Le Salle Dining by Bar Chaplin has got it all.


Le Salle Dining by Bar Chaplin
1/18 Hutchinson Street, Surry Hills

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