Bankstown Sports Club, Bankstown

Highlights from my first ever “food crawl”

I was fortunate enough to be invited to Zomato’s very first Progressive Dinner. The concept is pretty novel, and is an interesting take on the classic “pub crawl”. Instead of downing down alcohol, one wolfs down tonnes of food. Zomato paired up with the marketing team at Bankstown Sports to create this special five course extravaganza.

I have decided to divide this dinner into five installations as each restaurant deserves a special section. Before we begin diving into the food review of each restaurant, I thought I would give you a rundown of the Bankstown Sports Club. It can only be described as a food mecca with brilliant ambiance and delectable food. There’s food from practically every nation — Spanish, Italian to Chinese. It’s a very unlikely spot to find a dining precinct as Sports Clubs are notoriously famous for their poker machines, large TVs and pool tables.

First Stop: Atrium Bar

Atrium Bar exudes elegance as soon as you enter the premises. It’s a floating bar located in the middle of the Club as it’s raised on a platform. The bar is decorated with incredibly comfy lounge chairs and is seated beneath a spectacular art lighting feature. The art feature feels like something taken out of a Vivid Lights Festival installation and one can simply stare mesmerised at this spectacle for hours.

“There’s a delightful selection of tapas and Helmut pays homage to food of all nationalities.”

The food is crafted by the renowned Executive Chef Helmut Gundendorfer. He’s also the head chef at Platform 1 (also located at Bankstown Sports — see third stop). There’s a delightful selection of tapas and Helmut pays homage to food from all corners of the world. We got Dumplings with extra spicy soy sauce, pan seared Greek cheese, Peking Duck sliders and Southern fried chicken wings.

Second Stop: Stuzzichino

The second stop was Stuzzichino. I absolutely loved the décor of this Italian restaurant. Even though it was nestled in the big Bankstown Sports precinct, the restaurant felt spacious as it was designed to replicate an open-space piazza. The creative geniuses behind the architecture of this joint had meticulous attention to detail. There were even fake items of clothing and pegs hanging off clothes lines and they were strung from fake windows!

The share platters that we enjoyed were served on a gigantic wooden board (reminiscent of Criniti’s pizza boards). The Zucchini Flowers were mammoth! They were much larger in portion than the zucchini flowers typically served at Italian restaurants. The tempura coating was extra crispy and the cheese filling was creamy with a slight hint of crunch from the walnuts.

My favourite dish was the Arancini Balls. The balls were made from creamy risotto coated with crispy breadcrumbs. I loved these particularly as they didn’t stop at risotto for the filling. They were also loaded generously with melt in your mouth beef ragu and melted mozarella. Stringy goodness — yummy!

Third Stop: Platform 1

After leaving Stuzzichino satisfied, we then headed off to Bankstown Sport Club’s fine dining spot — Platform 1. It’s a curious name, and it is only by understanding the history of Bankstown where one begins to appreciate the name’s historic quality. The city of Bankstown used to be a landmark train depot, according to one of the diners at Zomato’s progressive dinner.

All dishes exuded that feel of decadence, and were crafted by the one and only Executive Chef Helmut Gundendorfer. My favourite dish was most definitely the Seafood Platter. You would be astounded to know this platter is designed for two people! The seven diners at the event struggled to finish the platter — as it was bursting with mountains of fresh seafood, hot chips and fruit. Another standout dish was the Beef Wellington. It had a deliciously buttery and crispy pastry shell and the beef was incredibly tender. Other stand-out dishes included the Cape Grimm Rib-eye Cutlet and the Great Southern Gippsland 6 hour Lamb Shoulder.

“It had a deliciously buttery and crispy pastry shell and the beef was incredibly tender.”

Fourth Stop: Lucky Cheng’s

The second main course was at Lucky Cheng’s. I was immediately attracted by the open kitchen as soon as I entered the restaurant. The clear windows allowed patrons to witness the chefs crafting the hand-made noodles. It was a mesmerising sight and the chefs were clearly very skilled with their pulling techniques (you can check out our Instagram for footage). The noodles were light and cooked el dente. My favourite was the dry variety as opposed to the soup variety. Don’t be alarmed by the green colour of the noodles! They are actually mixed with spinach so as to give that Shrek-like shade. Other signature dishes from this restaurant included Shredded Peking duck Pancakes, Wonton Noodle Soup and Shredded Tofu Strips with Japanese Seaweed.

Fifth Stop: San Churro Chocolateria

The final stop was at the popular dessert spot — San Churro Chocolateria. I have been to this Spanish dessert joint before, as its franchises populate the Sydney region. Our group decided to grab the Chocolate Tapas Plates as it was complete with all the renowned dessert specialties. Each platter was loaded with chocolate dipped strawberries, mini funnel cake, mini churros, deep-fried chocolate truffles and other chocolate delights.

Our group also grabbed a variety of hot and cold San Churro drinks. The hot drinks are serious winter-warmers and the oversized marshmallows gave the beverages that sweet and sticky aftertaste. I thought that the drinks complemented the crunchy churros wonderfully. However, some may argue that the combination of hot chocolate and melted chocolate is too excessive (though I beg to differ).


Overall

As you’re reading through each installment of my progressive dinner, you’re probably wondering how the guests of this event had the capacity to fit all this food in our stomachs. To be honest, I still ask myself that question everyday… All you have to know is that I came out of this “food crawl” alive but did suffer from a serious food coma in the aftermath. Even though my stomach was bursting, I have absolutely no regrets. Each dish sampled was worth every bite! If you’re ever in the South West of Sydney, I would recommend you check out this dining precinct.

Verdict: Mind Blown
Service: 5/5
Gourmet Gumbo dined as a guest.

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