Nomad, Sydney

As far as I'm concerned, sharing plates get an unreasonable amount of stick.

Criticised as modish and ridiculed as a product of laziness on the part of chefs, traditionalists often declare that sticking to one plate per head is the only way to eat.

I, on the other hand, feel a certain fondness towards this tapas-style dining. This fondness originates almost entirely from greed, as with small plates comes variety and often gluttony, with the knock-on effect of food FOMO becoming a distant memory.

In light of this penchant for sharing-style dining, Nomad shot straight to the top of my to-visit list when asking for Sydney restaurant recommendations during a recent trip.

Located in Surry Hills, Nomad first opened its doors in 2013 with the aim of celebrating the best of what Australian producers have to offer. Situated in a former warehouse, this restaurant-cum-wine bar successfully manages to greet its guests with a surprisingly warm atmosphere despite its industrial origins and open plan layout.

With its emphasis upon seasonal Australian produce, the menu is centred around meat and fish, and changes regularly. As a result it is perhaps not the ideal date spot for a vegetarian companion and certainly not for vegans as except for the sides, each of the veggie offerings contains dairy. Without meaning to criticise the popular dietary phenomena of late, it is refreshing to see a restaurant not succumb to foodie trends, instead choosing to showcase the best of what the meat and dairy industries have to offer. 

With its expertise in all things grape, the wine list is unsurprisingly extensive, veering upwards from 55 AUD a bottle. Luckily for us and our bank balances, they offer a wide range of vino by the carafe, starting at 30 AUD.

We were recommended to choose one item per section of the menu, although as I live in constant fear of being hungry, we opted for two small plates along with the rest.

Mushroom fritters provided a welcome waiting snack, although lacked in any token earthiness as batter took centre stage. Courgette flowers with pecorino, honey and truffle shared the same issue, with the latter component almost failing to make an appearance.

A picture-perfect plate of kingfish ceviche proved entirely more successful. Slices of kingfish intermingled with silky smooth avocado and fresh citrus, ripe for shovelling with the accompanying crisp crackers.

Then came the dish that entirely changed my outlook on lamb. Although initially drawn to the ribeye for reasons of habit, I put my preferences aside in favour of those of the birthday boy. As much as I hate to admit it, this was entirely the right decision. Perky pink confit lamb neck came placed atop a jumble of grains, barberries and a velvety dollop of whipped feta. A spicy tangle of crunchy cauliflower and cashews arrived as the support act, with a puddle of yoghurt to keep things cool.

Caramelised banana baklava with chocolate ganache and hazelnuts rounded off proceedings, much to my inner pig's delight. Although entirely lacking the honey-sodden stickiness of traditional baklava, prompting me to wonder whether it is actually worthy of that title, this was a really bloody good pud to top off a really bloody good meal. 

The stakes are high when it comes to choosing a venue for a celebration - especially when it comes to trying a restaurant for the first time. But did Nomad fit the bill? I think it's clear that it's a safe yes from me.