Restaurant News

On the pass: Isabelle Caulfield, Poly

The head chef on her cult fried-potato dish, her modern take on room service and her lessons learnt about the kitchen fire.

By Lee Tran Lam
Isabelle Caulfield
Since opening Poly last year, have you had any kitchen disasters or has it all been smooth sailing?
Working out what sauce shouldn't be cooked on the fire has been a learning curve for the staff. We have a sweet-and-sour glaze that's mainly honey, which should never go on the fire. Once it starts to caramelise, it can boil over real quick.
Your fried potato with egg yolk has attracted quite a following.
People do love fried potato. The dish is basically a hash brown that has a salted egg sauce made from cured egg yolks, with chives and more shaved egg yolk on top.
Poly is attached to Paramount House Hotel. What are you making for room service?
Versions of what we have on the menu: a seafood plate with oysters, pickled mussels and octopus, and our steak sandwich. We also had to add a cheese toastie!
And how are dishes delivered?
We put all the food in the tiffins and take it to reception, then they run it up to the room. There's a cloth wrapped around the tiffins, so guests can use it as a tablecloth.
We hear you've created a dish that's an improvement on the cheeseburger.
It's a tartare with the classic condiments, but instead of gherkins we use dill pickles. When we put the flavours together, it reminded me of a cheeseburger. The fried cheese is a disc of parmesan cooked in a pan until it starts to smell like grilled cheese.
Tell us about an interesting producer you work with.
I love using Elena Burraduc's buffalo curd. I visited the Burraduc farm in Seal Rocks, NSW, earlier in the year. It was beautiful to see all the water buffalo, and I love how the cheeses are made metres away from where they are milked.
Poly, 74-76 Commonwealth St, Surry Hills, NSW, (02) 8860 0808, polysurryhills.com.au