Five years after it first opened – and despite stiff competition from happening new neighbours like Chin Chin and Poly – Nomad continues to draw the crowds. Its vast high-ceilinged dining room is always chock-full of uproarious, dressed-to-the-nines diners on weekends and securing the best seats – the ones that look over the open kitchen – may prove to be a challenge even on weeknights.
The credit for this solid fan base squarely goes to the food. While the menu has constantly evolved (and chefs have changed, too, with Jacqui Challinor now in charge of the kitchen), the restaurant’s DNA hasn’t.
Expect beautifully cooked and shareable dishes from the grill and wood oven – smoked Wagyu beef cheek gets a lovely lift from agrodolce, while wood-roasted kingfish comes with lashings of shellfish butter. But it is the signature whole rainbow trout (above) that really does it for us. Stuffed with sweet and sour eggplant and wrapped in vine leaves, it’s baked for a mere 10 minutes to yield a supremely soft and velvety main course.
There are some excellent desserts to choose from, too (the Turkish-coffee tiramisu is the pick of the bunch) and the extensive Australian wine list will send you into a spin even before you have the first sip. So take our lead and order the Bigger Feast set menu (with the rainbow trout, of course), complemented with a nice rosé. The 2017 Spinifex from Barossa Valley, perhaps?
Atmosphere: Lively, fun, uproarious
Best for: Casual catch-ups
Standout dish: Whole rainbow trout
Open: Wednesday to Saturday for lunch and Monday to Saturday for dinner
Address: 16 Foster Street, Surry Hills
Phone number: (02) 9280 3395