Ploos The Rocks Review 2022

Shop 7-7-27 Circular Quay W
rocksAnd the
New South Wales

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work hours Thursday lunch from noon; Dinner from Wednesday to Sunday from 5.45 pm
Features Views, Long Lunch, Accept Reservations, Licensed
the prices Medium (mains power $20 – $40)
phone 02 8231 4890

If The Rocks were a person, he would be a powerful little warrior who has continued to go through good times and bad.

It’s been a back-to-back success recently, with the New South Wales government undertaking a $15 million renovation of the area by Place Management, on top of which $32 million has been spent upgrading Campbell’s heritage-listed stores on Circular Quay.

Our little fighter began to strut around on the world stage, gold coins dangling in his waistcoat.

The view from the balcony gets a big mark. Photo: Edwina Pickles

So it’s true that another indefatigable chef, Chef Peter Konistes, must relocate to the region in the spirit of renewal. Conistis has been immersed in the Greek chapter of Sydney dining history since Cosmos opened in East Sydney in 1993.

From Cosmos, to Eleni’s, Omega, and now Alpha at Hellenic Club, he’s drawn from all over Greece to create his own style.

It narrows the focus with Ploos, installed both inside and outside of the majestic heritage-listed sandstone buildings on the edge of the harbor. Highlighting the southern Aegean, especially Crete and Cyprus, with a bit of Turkey, offers a new angle on modern Greek – and modern Sydney.

Katifi tart stuffed with whipped feta cheese, basturma and walnuts.

Katifi tart stuffed with whipped feta cheese, basturma and walnuts. Photo: Edwina Pickles

From the oversized rattan dining chairs on the covered dining terrace, you can see tall ships, an opera house, and a bridge. Tick, tick, tick, tick.

There’s a lot going on in the background here that a casual dinner might miss. Pastries, for example, are made in-house – even phyllo – and are a constant highlight. Baby bird’s nests of super-soft katifi pastry look like party packs of crunch and cream—a crunch of whipped feta cheese, basturmas (beef bacon) and pickled black walnuts ($20). This is promising.

Small, crunchy slivers of filo pastry lean on Cornish-shaped manti dumplings ($24), stuffed with a spanakopita filling of feta cheese, kasiri, and mizithra mixed with spinach, silver beets, and caramelized leeks in place of traditional Turkish meat. Dressed in burnt butter with puddles of yogurt, it’s as delicious as Cantonese dim sum and Polish pierogi. Definitely a keeper, I’ve teamed up especially with Skouras Moscofilero’s 2020 floral ($18 / $70) from the Peloponnese peninsula at the southern tip of the Greek mainland.

Lamb, beef and pork.

Lamb, beef and pork. Photo: Edwina Pickles

There’s grilled skull island prawns, chicken with scordalia, and lamb tomahawk chops, but duck is on order ($64 to share).

Salted and steamed, then lightly smoked and fried, the pieces stacked high — Conistis has been aiming for heaven since he reimagined the moussaka in a tower of scallops, eggplant and tramasalata at Cosmos — along with plump quince, an intriguing krait leaf called dettani, gorgeous duck and quince .

The duck itself appears dense, small and one dimensional, which makes the flat, wild golden pancake underneath, with dandelion and dandelion stuffing, better in the field.

Twice cooked duck with wild greens pie.

Twice cooked duck with wild greens pie. Photo: Edwina Pickles

Desserts push all the sweet, nutty, honey-drenched tartlets, from chickpea baklava topped with halva ice cream and sprinkled with crumbly pastelli and cumin, to the Cretan Walnut Tart ($16), another fancy pastry crust filled with a sweet, sticky blend of walnuts, pine nuts, pistachios, and almonds and figs. That’d be elegant enough, but he’s sitting on a puddle of lemon ouzo curd, carrying a sinister spoonful of dark licorice ice cream and a lid of glazed lemon. Why do less when you can do more?

Like neighboring Harbourfront Seafood, Luna Lu, and 6 Head, Ploos is known for its clusters. Bar service is hit and miss, and you need a strong bar to deal with malfunctions as staff drop things on unforgiving cobblestones.

But Konistes’ new focus on southern Aegean cuisine ends up expanding the playbook rather than restricting it.

Cretan Walnut Tart With Lemon Ouzo Curd, Licorice Ice Cream And Lemon Glazed.

Cretan Walnut Tart With Lemon Ouzo Curd, Licorice Ice Cream And Lemon Glazed. Photo: Edwina Pickles

As a chef he has always gone his own way, taking a left-field approach to tradition to forge his own refined style, and it’s great to see things like Ditani from Crete and Manti from Turkey in the mix. If Ploos means “cruise,” then Sydney should be on board.


vibration What does the opera house in Crete do?

go to plate Spancopita Manti, Dill Yogurt, Burnt Butter, $24

drinks Tailor-made cocktails (Purple Aegean), Ozos, and a New/Old World wine list with a look at Crete and Cyprus.

Terry Durac is a chief critic for a restaurant Sydney Morning Herald and chief reviewer for Good food guide.

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