Sunday, October 19, 2008

Aria, Sydney

They say that the food is generally inversely proportionate to the view. Guillaume at Bennelong put me off dining in Sydney's hatted harbour restaurants. But I'll admit it, I was wrong, and Aria has put me back on track.

This blog was always meant to be about celebrating the good. And there was only good to be found here.

OK, so maybe the bread wasn't perfect, but the butter was fabulous and really, that's what eating bread is all about. That, or cheese.

Luckily I was dining with two of my favourite greedy weasels in the world, so when I arrived (late, natch) the champagne was already being poured. They didn't bat an eyelid when I suggested we begin by sharing the oyster starter, and then move on to our own starters. So six beautiful local oysters arrived, with a vichyssoise mousse. I generally prefer my oysters on the half-shell, by the dozen and with nothing more than a flick of tabasco or a squeeze of lemon, but this composed dish was heavenly.

The amuse bouche did sort of pass me by, but starters more than made up. The duck consomme was the winner; amazing depth of flavour with a couple of slithery duck confit wontons to ring the textural changes. My scampi came a close second though, showcasing the amazing shellfish that we take for granted here. Seriously, move to Calgary and soon you'll be having the sort of carnal response these scampi and crab croquettes caused me.

Mains were equally good. My quail came with a couple of breaded, deep-fried legs, which basically were KFC for gourmets, and this should be applauded. . Giles went very quiet over his beef, but his silence said more than anything. I didn't get a taste, but this was mainly because I was being all territorial over my quail and working out how I might take the bucket of Robuchon style mash potato home and make it my life partner.

Jet lag kicked in at this point and I was sure I wouldn't stand the 20 minute waiting time for Damana's passionfruit souffle. Luckily the wispy lightness and lick of passionfruit syrup that had been smeared on the cooking pot perked me up enough to make it through petites fours and coffee.

Rumours that I threatened to vomit with tiredness if our cab didn't arrive soon aside, this was a wonderful evening with cooking of the very highest calibre. I'd rate it over any other fine dining experience I've had in Sydney, Tetsuyas included. It totally encapsulates Sydney fine dining, with amazing ingredients, informal but knowledgeable service and, of course, a view to die for.

Aria is at 1 Macquarie St, Sydney (02) 9252 2555

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Blogger Simon Food Favourites said...

i'll have to try out Aria again for Good Food Month Let's Do Lunch to see what it's like. S :-)

11:09 PM  
Anonymous Stuart Rolland said...

I am going on Tuesday night so I will let you know if I agree with your review.

10:49 PM  

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