Does Stone’s Throw’s cuisine match the bright simplistic beauty of its dining space?
Bright white walls, tables and shelves filled with green foliage form the main dining space of Norwood’s Stones Throw, which is hidden in the back of this popular bar and restaurant. There have been some subtle design changes since the venue’s former life as Grace the Establishment but the rear dining space is essentially the same, wrapped in white pickets that provide an outdoor village feel complemented by the bright and lush rear courtyard.
A selection of starters introduces us to the diverse tastes on offer. Sprigs of fresh fennel sit atop a trio of lightlybaked half scallops that have a sweet but delicious jam flavour thanks to caramelised apple and crunch from crispy fried shallots. The creamiest chicken parfait is served on a generous cube of baked, fluffy focaccia. For a dish that can often resemble meaty paste on toast, Stone’s Throw goes the extra mile, topping each with a segment of fresh fig and scattered rosemary leaves, which add beauty, texture and flavour.
Nicely seasoned with a slight hit of acidity, zucchini flowers are the highlight of the starters. Each bursting floret offers a generous Mozzarella filling, a delicate tempura exterior fried golden, and a savoury topping of pepita and spice. Folds of barelycooked zucchini slide between the flowers and into a baba ganoush base that completes this Middle Easterninspired success.
From the charcuterie and cured station, prosciutto is finely sliced and sprinkled with wonderful olive oil and a generous pinch of roughly ground pepper. Simplicity is key – the smoky flavour of the carefully cured pork sings with little need of accompaniment.
You are able to share the master stock braised beef short rib between three diners. The ingenious use of miso provides a layer of flavour in addition to the master stock base, with a hint of spice courtesy of a thick chilli oil and sweetness from pickled cherries that are at first mistaken for olives swimming in the broth. Roasted and sliced heirloom beetroot, broad beans, torn beet leaves and fresh parsley are piled to hide the succulent and flavoursome rib below.
Our final main course lands in a giant glazed bowl and we realise immediately that over ordering will get in the way of planned dessert. Oversized pillows of pan-fried ricotta gnocchi, which are just a little too doughy, are served jumbled in a mix of green tendrils and large wedges of roasted shallots. A sharp gorgonzola piccante offers most of the seasoning for surrounding elements, which might have otherwise left the gnocchi pillows a little bland. Unfortunately, large shallot segments overpower the rest of the dish that is saved only by a few baby figs that offer an intermittent bite of reprieve. Promised pickled walnuts are few, and these are propped up with a scattering of quite tough and woody raw walnuts that also let the dish down.
Stone’s Throw almost has it right. Service is perhaps a little inconsistent, but nothing unforgivable. The venue is beautiful and the food is simple, satisfying, and, for the most part, fantastic. Until right at the very end when regrettably, it’s just not.
127 The Parade, Norwood
Photography by Sia Duff